Adventurer and navigation workshop leader, Jason Rawles takes us on 3 lesser-known but incredible routes in northern Snowdonia.
I’ve summited Snowdon hundreds of time. Literally, hundreds of times. However, the area has some other wonderful walks that can take you a little more off the beaten track and still get some amazing views. Weather permitting of course!
For all of these could you could base yourself in the beautiful village of Llanberis and then one of them is a short drive away. All of them include some details of where to get some coffee and cake and they are a brief description of what to expect. The route link on OS Maps is included too.
With all these walks please do consider aspects such as local weather conditions, daylight hours and ensuring you have the right kit for what you’re doing. You can find me on social media if you have any questions…
1. Moel Siabod via Daear Ddu Ridge
This walk is for the slightly more adventurous and will require some hand stabilisation as you walk up the ridge.
You can park at Caffi Siabod (postcode LL24 0EL) and is about 20mins drive from Llanberis. Pop in for breakfast or a scone and tea after your walk. The team and food are awesome and it’s free to park, but, that means you can spend what you’d spend on parking, on cake!CLICK HERE FOR THE ROUTE ON OS MAPS
Hop (literally, if you like!) over the bridge and turn left following the river along. It’s a lovely gentle start to the walk and it brings you to a road and turn right up there. Head right again and start walking steeply uphill towards some buildings. There should be a sign-post pointing you in the right direction around the houses.
Keep following the track and then it turns in to a path. You may see a ridge line to the right. This isn’t it. The Daear Ddu ridge is a little further on. You’ll walk through a disused quarry and this is where I tend to stop for a quick brew and bite to eat. Then carry on following the path which is well defined.
Just before the ridge you cross a flat plateau area that can be boggy. It’s more avoidable to the right but don’t forget to stay disciplined to where you want to get on to the ridge. I stop here also and put poles away, have a bite to eat, sip of water etc. and check boot laces.
Swing right here and head up the ridge. There isn’t a defined path for the whole route, but you can see where people have been. Always have a little look up and plot a path. Any tricky sections are avoidable so have a peek first. It’s a wonderful route that tops out just below the summit trig point and the shelter will be on your right.
Once you’ve absorbed the views and rested those weary thighs, follow the path back towards the forest and then to Caffi Siabod. If the visibility is poor you might want to take a bearing from the summit to get on the right path, just to be sure.
The whole walk could take 4 – 6hrs depending on fitness so please allow time and consider any seasonal variations like snow and ice.
2. Moel Eilio Horseshoe
My favourite walk from Llanberis and within the capabilities of families who have younger kids with them. If it becomes too much you can always reverse your tracks from the summit of Moel Eilio and head back the same way you came.
There’s plenty of parking around Llanberis by the lake and it can cost a couple of pounds so please do have some change.CLICK HERE FOR THE ROUTE ON OS MAPS
I always start this walk from Crib Goch Outdoor World on Llanberis High Street. Then head up Snowdon Street which is opposite and follow the route through the streets and on to the old road that runs around the mountains.
Pass through a couple of gates and take a left up towards the wide-open ridge line that leads to the summit. If visibility allows you’ll now see out towards Anglesey and see if you can make out Newborough Beach and Llanddwyn Island?
It’s a slow and steady plod up to the summit shelter which is a nice big plateau so if you have views be sure to wander around and soak them up. I use this time to get some grub in and perhaps a brew. It’s a lovely spot. Then compose myself and ensure I walk off in the right direction as there are a couple of paths.
If views allow you’ll be treated to some of the best views in Snowdonia if not the UK as you walk along this part of the route. It’s downhill a bit, then slightly uphill, then downhill, then uphill…my descriptive powers have gone in to overload!!! You’ll see that from your route on OS Maps.
The last steeper downhill will take you to what’s locally called Telegraph Valley but, on the map, it’s called Maesgwm. Turn left and follow this nice, wide open path back to Llanberis. Don’t forget to turn right in to the farm and passed the Youth Hostel. At the bottom of the road, on the High Street, turn right and go to Y Pantri for coffee and cake – the best in the area.
This walk could take 4 – 6hrs depending on fitness and as with any walk please do consider seasonal variations and daylight hours.
3. Waterfalls, Quarry, Castle, Lake and Forest walk
This is a lovely walk that takes in some many wonderful outdoor features around Llanberis. There is a standard known walk around Llyn Padarn, but we can do better than that as #GetOutside explorers!CLICK HERE FOR THE ROUTE ON OS MAPS
Again, starting from Llanberis High Street, head towards Snowdon Garage and then turn up the road by the side of it and there’s a small sign post saying waterfalls and Snowdon path. Head up the road until you see a cattle grid and cross over. Then up the road for about 25 metres and turn left, then right following the river.
The waterfalls are at the top! Mind. Blown!
Follow the route back to the cattle grid and turn right and then left down Victoria Terrace. At the end, opposite the Victoria Hotel, turn left and then right to follow the river. You’ll get to a little slate bridge that goes over the river. Head over and walk up the steps to Dolbadarn Castle. Have a read about the stories of what used to happen and do go inside and up the steps for some cracking views up the Llanberis Pass and back over Llyn Padarn.
Once again, retrace your steps back to the road and head right towards Parc Padarn car park. This also follows the Padarn Steam Railway. Follow it round and look right and you’ll see Vivian Dive centre which is in Vivian quarry. Pop in there and have a look as it’s like a completely different world. They also filmed some of King Arthur in here, the scene where they jumped off a cliff and in to water.
It’s at this point that you can pick up a trail that takes you around the lake. I recommend following the white trail. Keep following it all the way around and be sure to stop at some of the wonderful viewpoints. The path undulates but isn’t too step. Don’t forget to go exploring in the lagoons and you may see the world famous lonely tree…
This walk could take you 3hrs or so at a nice steady pace. Add in some more time if you’re stopping for pictures…which you absolutely should.
All of these walks will be made easier if you download the routes on OS Maps and have a level of navigation or map reading skills.
I run courses in North Wales and if you use promo code GETOUTSIDE15 before the 30th April 2018 to book you’ll receive 15% discount.