Featured post

Snowdonia Peaks

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Cwm Llan Horseshoe 2-7-2017

Well again, this was a bit of a last minute change as I was down to be in the Lakes for the weekend, that is until I got summoned to do family duties on the Friday & Saturday, leaving me a free Sunday. I thought I'd take advantage of the decent weather and get this one out of the way, as it was on the cards a few weeks back but last minute changes again saw it put back so this was to be a great opportunity to put it right. Some might argue that it's not the full outright horseshoe as I didn't ascend Yr Aran from more lower down than where I did ascend and the fact that I didn't summit Snowdon as I was only 10 minute from the summit, but hey, I can live with that :-) The weather was again great. Warm, sunny, a cool breeze blowing some low cloud in here and there but for the most part it was tee-shirt, sun hat & glasses with plenty of liquid intake, oh, and very quiet, with the most people seen, in the car park! Quite unreal as I was heading up the Watkin Path towards Snowdon on a warm and sunny day!!
I started off from the car park at about 9am and headed up the WATKIN PATH, one of the quieter and prettier ways up to Snowdon with a walk through woods, past waterfalls, old quarries and Gladstone Rock and its stone plaque commemorating the opening of the path to the summit. A very relaxed and picturesque start and just what I needed as I knew that this was going to be a good old walk with a fair bit of ascent, descent and re-ascent over about 10 miles, a good test for the old legs. When I got to the top of the waterfalls, the path splits in to two, the Watkin Path carrying on towards Snowdon while the left fork takes you on an old tramway and across to the col where it meets the South Ridge path up to Snowdon and also the path that ascends Yr Aran. I followed this path for a short distance to where the bridge across a small ravine is and took a more direct path following a feint path up to a boundary wall that goes all the way up to Yr Aran. A bit of a pull after the relative ease of the first part. (all photo's are off my phone & gopro as I forgot my sd card for the camera!!)
My route for the day

Cascading waterfalls
My route up to Yr Aran
Looking across to the ascent of the South Ridge towards a cloud topped Snowdon
Up to Yr Aran
Following the wall to Yr Aran
I hand railed the wall then turned off left to follow the path up to the summit where I enjoyed 15 minutes of solitude before two other walkers appeared. Some good views down towards to coast at Porthmadog and also across to my route up the south ridge and across to Y Lliwedd.
View across Cwm Llan towards my way along the south ridge and across Y Lliwedd
Summit view down to the Nantile Ridge left & Mynydd Mawr centre
Summit view down to Beddgelert and a distant Porthmadog
Summit of Yr Aran
I made my way off Yr Aran and headed down towards the junction of paths at Bwlch Cwm Llan where I headed up again following the South Ridge path to Snowdon. This is quite possibly the quietest of the routes up to Snowdon and although I wasn't going all the way, it was certainly proving to be the case as I only saw two other people going up while I passed about half a dozen making their way down. Although it's called South Ridge, it's not a ridge in the same league as say, Crib Goch, although care must be taken especially in poor weather, there is more of a path on it as it passes over Clogwyn Du & Bwlch Main and it is less rocky than the likes of Crib Goch. The only real ridge part is when it goes over Clogwyn Du with some great views to be had as well which is always a bonus
Following the South Ridge path with Sowdon ahead and Y Lliwedd off to the right
Looking down on the old quarry in Cwm Llan from Allt Maenderyn
Looking down in to Cwm Clogwyn from the South Ridge
South Ridge view up to Snowdon and off the Y Lliwedd
And the mist rolls in
As luck would have it, the mist started to roll in and out as I got to the top of the Watkin Path so I used this as an excuse to have a spot of lunch. It didn't last long, just added to the atmosphere as it rolled in and out, although it did seem to hang around the top of Snowdon for a while, while my way on to Y Lliwedd stayed clear for the most part. A 30 minute rest stop was most welcome here as I still had a fair bit of descent and re-ascent to go before the long descent off Gallt y Wenallt. As I've done the Snowdon Horseshoe a number of times, I knew what to expect of the top of the Watkin Path and it isn't my favourite bit on Snowdon, very loose scree and the path seems to get lost in the jumble of rocks and stones, although since the last time I was on this bit there seems to be a bit of work going on with making it more secure and a bit easier to follow with steps being built. Certainly a lot safer but I hope it's not going to be like this all the way as it will take something away from the mountain feel of it. I tend not to go all the way on the most obvious path as I like going off piste and going round the top of Bwlch y Saethau on the way to Y Lliwedd as it breaks up the trudge of the obvious path :-)
Making my way to Y Lliwedd via Bwlch y Saethau
One or two small pools amongst the rocky outcrops
Great view down on Glaslyn and across to Crib Goch & Garnedd Ugain
Looking down on Llyn Lydaw with a distant Moel Siabod
Looking back on my route from Yr Aran, South Ridge and the Watkin Path with a clear Snowdon
With the people I saw all making their way down the Watkin Path, it looked like I was the only person going up Y Lliwedd to enjoy a spot of scrambling :-) This can be made  as easy or a bit more adventurous as you like it to be, with a path of sorts going up well away from the edge, or if like me, especially on a day like today with clear views and little wind, you can stick close to the edge. There are quite a few lines going up so it's a case of picking your way and enjoying it and you'll soon find yourself on the summit, known as the West Peak @ 2,946 ft (898 m). A short descent and re-ascent and you get to the East Peak @ 2930 ft (893 m)
The scramble up Y Lliwedd West Peak
Nice place for a rest
View down to Llyn Lydaw
Summit view over to my route up Yr Aran and the start of the South Ridge with Cwm Llan below
Looking back at the West Peak and the Watkin Path from the East Peak
Looking back at the West Peak from the East Peak
 From here I stuck to the main path going down in stead of sticking close to the edge as I still had a fair way to go and the old legs were feeling it a bit. It's quite a rocky and scree strewn path but in this weather quite straight forward and it's not long before you reach Lliwedd Bach and then the path junction that takes you down to the Miners Path of Snowdon, the feint miners path that takes you down to the old copper mines below Lliwedd Bach and the path that I was following round to the last summit of the day Gallt y Wenallt before I made my way down to the old copper mines.
Looking back at Lliwedd Bach, Y Lliwedd & a cloud topped Snowdon
Looking across to Crib Goch & Garnedd Ugain with the main Pyg & Miners paths below
My way forward to Gallt y Wenallt

Looking back at the Snowdon Horseshoe
After another rest taking in the views I made my way down towards the old copper mine where I had a quick look round before heading off along the old tram way that took me back to the waterfalls of the Afon Cwm Llan and the main path back to the car park. This really is a great alternative to the the main Snowdon Horseshoe that takes in a different perspective and alternative views of the stunning area.
Gallt y Wenallt summit with the Snowdon Horseshoe as the backdrop
Summit view towards Moel Siabod
Following the wall to the copper mines below Lliwedd Bach
Copper mines below Lliwedd Bach
Looking down on the distant car park with Cnicht in the background on the left
Waterfalls over the Afon Cwm Llan
Looking back up to Y Lliwedd & Gallt y Wenallt from the road
A very satisfying nine hours in great weather in this great place away from the crowds. Brilliant
A short video of some views from the summits

No comments:

Post a Comment