The big advantage of this path is that you have a headstart as it begins at the top of the Llanberis pass. Like the Llanberis path (which goes up the other side of Snowdon) this route is well surfaced, but a stout pair of shoes is recommended. From the small car park at the top of the pass the path heads round the Cwm on the shores of Glaslyn lake. Don't be fooled though. The walk round the lake may be easy, but the climb to the summit is a punishing one. It's pretty much straight up, although the notorious scree slope has now been replaced by a good set of steps. The peak of Snowdon is always in view and you get stunning views of the lake and the huge cliffs of Snowdon.
The car park at Pen Y Pass at the top of the Llanberis pass is invariably full during the summer months. Don't park at the bottom of the pass and walk up the road (as you'll see hundreds of other people doing), as it's sole destroying (both sprirt and boots). Use the Snowdon Sherpa bus that goes through the pass frequently - it's cheap and easy.
Porthmadog is the ideal base to explore Snowdonia National Park. It was a great Port once upon a time and used to ship the local slate all round the world. As the slate trade died down and the mines and quarries closed and the shipping trade died down too. The Maritime Museum will tell you more.
The Ffestiniog Railway that used to transport the slate still runs from the town.
In order to make the town more accessible, in 1811 William Maddocks built the embankment (the Cob) across the estuary over which you can tavel by road to the Ffestiniog railway. The town was built by Maddocks hence the name, Porthmadog - Maddocks Port.
The village of Borth-y-Gest just nearby is also very pretty and worth a visit.
The Snowdonia Society rescued this cottage, undeservedly known as the Ugly House, from dereliction in the 1980's. and is now home to their offices.
A view of welsh kitchen life can be seen inside the cottage for the princely sum of £1.
A wooded walk is also available from here.
Though the true origins of Ty Hyll remain shrouded in mystery, legend tells us that it was a crude house built in the 15th century by two outlaw brothers. It was a ‘Ty Un Nos’ - or house built overnight. Under ancient law, he who built a house between sunset and sunrise, with walls, roof and smoking chimney, could claim the freehold.
"Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough"
This is the classic Snowdon walk, but is not for the faint-hearted, unfit or unprepared (for this one you will need the full walking kit). From the top of the Llanberis Pass in Pen Y Pass car park the route is simplicity itself. Up the first mountain in front of you (Crib Goch) then on round the top of the ridge that runs round the Cwm taking in the summits of Snowdon and its neighbours.
Easier said than done! The ascent of Crib Goch is straight up and unrelenting, but has the adavantage that you get great views almost immediately. Now the problems start because Crib Goch isn't a pointy mountain like Snowdon, but a thin ridge with massive cliffs either side.
After a change of underwear you visit the peak of Garnnedd Ugain - which has it's own ridge walk on the approach before heading up with the masses to the top of Snowdon itself. It's then off across another ridge (did I mention this is not a good walk if you're scared of heights?) and onto Y Lliwedd the final peak before descending down to join the Miners track
Built between 1283 and 1330 Caernarfon Castle was designed to look like the walls of Constantinople. It is considered important enough to be given World Heritage Site status by Unesco.
It stands by the River Seiont and the Menai Strait, There is a large carpark adjacent to the castle and shops very near. The older parts of the walled town are very pretty.
The Castle Explorer website gives admission details, on-site facilities and other useful info. But a few quick details: £4.50 adult entry, plenty of parking, you have to pay but it's not much and I can't remember how much it was. No dogs except guide dogs, nowhere to buy food onsite but there are shops and cafes very near to the castle.
Beddgelert is undoubtedly Snowdonia's most picturesque mountain village. Stone cottages, inns and hotels are surrounded by Snowdonia's finest scenery .
It is in the heart of wondeful hiking country with the beautiful Aberglaslyn Pass and the Nant Gwynant valley nearby as well as the paths up Snowdon. It has been a village winner of "Britain in Bloom" competition - deservedly so. Much more info on the village on my Beddgelert page
For me this is a personal favourtite way up Snowdon, approached from the Beddgelert side. It's fairly easy going to start with and you'll pass a number of waterfalls and Gladstone's rock where the famous Victorian Prime Minister gave a speech to officially open the path. Ahead of you Snowdon looms and the walking get's tougher, but it's worth it for the spectacular views (and the fact that even in the height of summer there won't be that many people walking up this route with you). Take extra care as you approach the summit as the ridge between Snowdon and it's neighbour Y Lliwedd has very large cliffs either side and isn't that wide.
The path is named after Sir Edward Watkin who had his summer house at the village where the path starts (Nant Gwynant). A 19th Century railway pioneer he was behind a Victorian attempt to construct the channel tunnel, but on his hols he created this path.
This route, like the Miners, starts from the top of the Llanbers Pass. This time use the path that starts at the back of the cafe. The route gives you gret veiws out towards Caernarfon down the Llanberis path. Do not be tempted to head up the mountain in front of you as that's Crib Goch and a seriously challenging ascent (see my tip on the Snowdon Horseshoe). Stay on the lower path through the pass and you'll join the Miners track at the top of its steps. The Pyg offers a quieter day out than the Miners as, for no reason that I can discern, it is much less popular.
Black Rock Sands
As the title says, this is one of the few beaches in Britain that you can drive onto.
It's quite spectacular and stretches for about 2 miles. Looking inland Snowdonia is the backdrop; looking up the coast you can see Criccieth and Criccieth castle (see my tip).
The cover of the Manic Street Preachers album This is my Truth Tell Me Yours was taken here on the beach. Also I'm told, although I've never seen it, parts of the film First Knight starring Sean Connery, Richard Gere and Julia Ormond were shot here.
It's a great place to visit for either a nice walk (with a dog if you've got one) or a picnic or a day out with the kids....and the benefit is you don't have to lug all your stuff down from the car as you can park it as near as you want.
Morfa Bychan village is quite flat and easy for walking round. There are plenty of holiday cottages and campsites available - a search on the Net will find them for you.
The gates are closed approaching high tide and there is a beach patrol so there's no danger of becoming stranded on the beach sat on top of your car with the water lapping around you! ...although I did like the postcard I picked up as shown....
From Porthmadog High St, turn up Bank Place at crossroads, by Woolworths I think, go up the hill and just after the bend the road splits - take the right fork signposted to Morfa Bychan (the left fork goes down to the pretty village of Borth-y-Gest which is worth a visit).
Go through Morfa Bychan, past the golf club and the first turning to the beach is called, appropriately, Beach Road, or follow the road through the village past Chip Shop and Spar supermarket on your left, past Greenacres Holiday Park (where we stayed) and take a left turn down toward the beach.
Hike Mt Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales, and enjoy a specatular view over the surrounding countryside. Snowdon rises to a height of 3 559 feet and is very popular with hikers and climbers. There are several differents routes for ascending Snowdon, our chosen one was the Watkins Path which starts near Beddgelert.
I love to hike, not so keen on heights so our adventure was quite interesting once we reached the final ascent, read the accompanying travelogue for more details on that!
If you want to ascend Snowdon and aren't capable of the hike you can always use the Snowdon Mountain Railway which you would board in Llanberis and is the only rack and pinion railway in Britain.
The pic is Sandy (VT'er Sandysmith) and myself at the start of the hike. To the left of Sandy's head you can see Mt Snowdon in the distance.
Eighty acres of garden in the beautiful Conwy valley(eight miles south of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay)
The garden at Bodnant is one of the finest in the world. It is situated above the River Conwy on ground sloping to the south-west and looks across the valley towards the Snowdonia range.
The garden is in two parts. The upper part around the house consists of the Terrace Gardens as well as informal lawns shaded by trees. The lower portion, known as 'The Dell', is formed by the valley of the River Hiraethlyn, a tributary of the Conwy, and contains the Pinetum and wild garden.
At 3,031 ft (924 metres), Elidi Fawr is the highest mountain in the Glyderau range, and the 14th highest mountain in Wales. The walk can be split into two stages. From Deiniolen to the Marchlyn Mawr resevoir and from here to the summit.
The first stage of the walk is quite shallow and the road zig-zags along the last stretch to the resevoir. Experienced climbers can cut a good hour of the overall time by not following the road and climbing up the steep slopes.
The second stage of the walk is much more difficult. The climb to the top of the mountain is a scramble over piles and piles of slate, and the decent can be even more daunting.
Climbers must have some good experience or scrambles before attempting to climb to the summit of Elidir Fawr, as falls from near the top will almost certainly result in death or very serious injury.
I would deffinately reccomend the mountain to climbers however, as the views of the North Wales coastline and Anglesey are breathtaking. At one point you can see all four coasts of Anglesey. The views of Llanberris and Snowdon which are offered to those who reach the summit are also breathtaking.
As Elidir is not as well climbed as other mountains such as Snowdon, there is no real distinct path to the summit which means climbers must use their own instincts as to what is the best way up. We found that by climbing up a little after the resevoir and then circling the summit untill you reach the other side (where there is a fence and views of Llanberris lake) gave us a shallower asscent. If you had walking poles you could probably carry on straight up from the resevoir. We opted for this route on our decent and allthough fine to go down, would have been much more difficult to go up.
Unlike Snowdon, which is usually bustling with people, Elidir is very quiet. You should always go up with someone else, and make sure you have some adequate signalling equipment such as a torch or whistle to attract attention.
The OS Explorer map for snowdon is a must for this (OL17)
The Sygun Copper Mines just outside Beddgelert - set in the midst of stunning scenery in Snowdonia. There's a shortish self-guided audio-visual tour of the old Victorian mines here and at the end you can "pan for gold"
Oh and if you remember the old film "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness ( the one about the missionary leading the children out of china) then you might be interested to know that some of the filming was done round here!
In the pic here you can see Laura (Hayward68) rushing in to get her hard hat for the tour of the mine. We had a great couple of days in Snowdonia together.
The smallest house in Great Britain 6 x 10 feet - was ironically once lived in by fishermen- usually very tall fishermen too!!
It only costs about 50p for a "tour" round the two roomed house. A taped commmentary is played giving you info as you enter...foreign languages are also available. Last time I was there a Russian couple were visiting and the Welsh lady insisted on putting on the Russian tape for them from her extensive collection of the commentary in different languages.
The Llanberis path starts, obviously, at Llanberis, and is considered one of the longer but easier ways to climb Snowdon. The path mirrors the Snowdon Mountain Railway (which also starts at Llanberis). There is a 'Half-Way House' along the path which serves drinks and snacks, but this is not open during the winter months. The last quater of the Llanberis path can be a little daunting, especially if there is Ice on the path, and although it is the easiest way to get to the summit, it is still sometimes impassable, forcing people to turn back only a couple of hundred meters from the summit.
The Llanberis path doesn't require any real mountain climbing experience or special equipment, just wear sensible clothes and take some common sense with you, and of course a bar of Kendal mint cake! For more information on what to take and what to be aware of when climbing Snowdon, see my tips on the Snowdonia Page.