Walk up Y Lliwedd from Nant Gwynant
Start and Finish:
Distance: 9.18 km
Ascent: 1183 m
Time: 4 hours plus
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Before You Walk up Snowdon, ask yourself – Are you equipped? Do you know what you’re doing? Are the conditions safe? If you answer no to any of these, stay safe, don’t go! Check the weather forecast and make sure you know about walking up Snowdon in the Snow. If you lack experience – hire a Snowdon Mountain Guide.
Cafe and Toilets
Few buses to start.
Scrambling and navigation
Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path, Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.
Walk up Y Lliwedd from Nant Gwynant
This is one of the least obvious routes to Lliwedd and possibly on to Snowdon.
Starting off on the Watkin path with the hordes, you’ll soon be leaving them behind, probably shaking their heads at you as you’re clearly going the wrong way. You need to follow the Watkin Path from Nant Gwynant, initially through the woodland and then on the wide easy track that curves around on iself and into the lower reaches of Cwm Llan. The waterfalls are what we’re aiming for, and you can reach them most easily from the gate and down the wall at SH622 516.
The path on the opposite side, winds its way steeply up through the forest, and provided welcome shade today. It’s not long before you leave the woods and are on open hillside, with the track being wide and good all the way. As is often the case, it’s an old mine track which is your first target of the day. This is one of the truly quiet sides of Snowdon. Along with Cwm Tregalan and the upper reaches of Cwm Clogwyn, this ranks as one of the more likely place to get to yourself. Looking down, you see Cwm Merch high above Llyn Gwynant that even if it isn’t remote, is seldom visited. There’s an adventure for the future there for sure.
On reaching the mine, the excellent track ends. You need to aim roughly NE for the skyline by following the small stream, roughly towards the bwlch at SH639 533. If in any doubt you’re best keeping right as the ground towards Gallt y Wenallt is much easier than towards Lliwedd. There are also open mine workings, making it an area to avoid in the mist.
Gallt y Wenallt is barely a bump on the ridge, so by definition is a Nuttall, but otherwise provides a decent viewpoint. There are excellent views both down, and more spectacularly towards the bulk of the Snowdon range itself. I’ll let the images speak for themselves, but certainly one of the best view across to Crib Goch and up to the summits.
The ridge has barely a path, but is gently undulating grass and nonetheless easy to follow. Today we were looking for a wild camping spot, but the wind was picking up and due to worsen significantly overnight. There were plenty this high up, but decided to err on the side of safety and ignore them.
Continuing across the ridge towards Lliwedd, it’s rather a shock when you hit the motorway of a path. You’ll have to accept that you’ve had your quiet time and you’ll have to share the route with others. Plenty of them.
The ridge to Lliwedd involves a bit of scrambling, but nothing overly technical or as exposed as it’s more illustrious neighbour of Crib Goch. Continue up and over the rocky crest, relishing the opportunity to scramble. This almost makes up for the crowds.
Descending to Bwlch Ciliau, the best bit of the day is behind you. This may sound odd considering that the summit of Yr Wyddfa is ahead and one would imagine is the true highlight of any day. But you need to tackle the unpleasant scree up the final section of the Watkin first.
On a pleasant and dry day, it’s tolerable. If it’s wet, it’s not. Steep scree, inexperienced crowds and mist do not mix. It doesn’t help that the path and the map don’t quite correspond either.
However, if you’ve the experience to have timed your walk in order to arrive at the summit late in the day, you’ll experience her at her best. Quiet and, above all things, lacking that infernal queue to the summit cairn. It is certainly a rollercoaster route, by nature of the rolling ascent and descent and more so by virtue of the variety that you’ll experience on the walk. What’s more, this is just the ascent and you have plenty of choice of descent.
The descent of convenience would have to be down the South Ridge to the start, possibly climbing Yr Aran as a final nail in the Alternative Horseshoe. If you relish more quiet then you have two choices. Either down the Rhyd Ddu path and down into Cwm Clogwyn or the Llanberis Path and leaving it as soon as possible for a very steep descent into Cwm Glas. It’s all good, and what you don’t do today will give you something to look forward to the next time.
IO Weather Widget
Recommended Walking Guides: A Pocket Guide to Snowdon: A Guide to the Routes of Ascent, The Ascent of Snowdon: The Six Classic Routes Up Snowdon, Snowdon – The Story of a Welsh Mountain: Biography of a Mountain
Walking Books – Snowdonia Ridges of Snowdonia: The Best Ridge Walking, Mountain Walks: The Finest Mountain Walks in Snowdonia, Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia , Day Walks in Snowdonia, Mountain Walking in Snowdonia
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