Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia
40 classic routes exploring Snowdonia
By Terry Marsh
Inspirational guidebook to 40 great mountain day walks and scrambles in Snowdonia. Inspirational routes for all abilities across the National Park with routes up Snowdon and Moel Eilio, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, Eifionydd, Siabod and the Moelwynion, Rhinogydd (the Harlech Dome), Migneint and the Arans and Cadair Idris and the Tarrens.
Seasonsall year round but check the weather forecast before you go, choose your walk accordingly and take appropriate gear
CentresConwy, Aber, Betws-y-Coed, Ffestiniog, Dolgellau, Capel Curig, Llanberis, Beddgelert, Bala, Machynlleth
Difficultyroutes graded from moderate to arduous; map and compass skills recommended for all routes; terrain often bouldery or marshy, complex and trackless
Must Seeclassic summits such as: Snowdon, Cadair Idris, Pen yr Ole Wen; horseshoes such as: Carneddau, Cwm Eigiau, Moel Eilio; ridge routes and scrambles such as: Tryfan, Nantlle Ridge and family days out including Conwyn Mountain and Aberglaslyn Gorge
This inspirational guidebook describes 40 superb routes among the valleys and heights of the Snowdonia National Park, inviting walkers to explore the less well-known regions of Snowdonia as much as those that are eternally popular. These walks have been chosen to encourage experienced walkers and mountaineers to try something new in this much-loved region, while at the same time offering clear descriptions of classic routes for those new to Snowdonia.
All the routes in Great Mountain Days in Snowdonia are day walks – graded from moderate to arduous to help you choose the right route – and all of them make for a great day out in Snowdonia, whether in the ice and snow covered winter or during long summer days, the walks in this guide can be enjoyed all year round.
- 40 graded walks throughout the Snowdonia National Park area
- routes illustrated with Harvey maps and pictorial route diagrams by artist and outdoor writer, Mark Richards
- some routes include mild scrambling or long days in rugged country
About this guide
Weather to walk?
Before you start
Recreation and the mountain environment
SNOWDON AND MOEL EILIO
1. Snowdon Horseshoe
2. The Rhyd Ddu Path and the Snowdon Ranger
3. The Watkin Path and Yr Aran
4. The Pyg Track and the Miners’ Track
5. Moel Eilio Horseshoe
6. The Glyders by the Bristly Ridge
7. Y Garn to Elidir Fawr and Carnedd y Filiast
9. Bwlch Tryfan, Y Foel Goch, Gally yr Ogof and Cefn y Capel
10. Conwy Mountain
11. Tal y Fan
12. Drum, Foel-fras, Garnedd Uchaf, Drosgl and the Aber falls
13. Llyn Anafon and the eastern Carneddau
14. Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llywelyn and Pen yr Helgi Du
15. Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe
16. Creigiau Gleision and Llyn Cowlyd
17. Llyn Geirionydd and Llyn Crafnant
18. The Carneddau: end-to-end
19. Mynydd Mawr
20. The Nantlle Ridge
21. Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn
SIABOD AND THE MOELWYNION
22. Aberglaslyn, Llyn Dinas and Cwm Bychan
23. Moel Siabod
24. Cnicht and Cwm Croesor
25. Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach
26. Moel Meirch and Ysgafell Wen
RHINOGYDD (THE HARLECH DOME)
27. Bwlch Tyddiad and Bwlch Drws Ardudwy
28. Rhinog Fawr
29. Rhinog Fach and Rhinog Fawr
30. Y Llethr and Diffwys
MIGNEINT AND THE ARANS
31. Carnedd y Filiast
32. Arenig Fawr and Moel Llyfnant
33. Rhobell Fawr
34. Aran Benllyn
35. Aran Fawddwy
CADAIR IDRIS AND THE TARREN HILLS
36. Cyfrwy, Pen y Gadair and Mynydd Pencoed
37. Pen y Gadair from Ty Nant
38. Mynydd Pencoed, Pen y Gadair and Mynydd Moel
39. Tyrrau Mawr and Craig y Llyn
40. The Tarren Hills
Appendix 1: Concise Walk Reference and Personal Log
Appendix 2: Bibliography and Further Reading
Appendix 3: Glossary of Welsh Words
To aid visualisation, routes are depicted both as line diagrams and as customised HARVEY maps. The former, drawn by Lakeland author and artist Mark Richards, give an aerial perspective of the walks, while the latter pinpoint the key detail covered in the route description. HARVEY maps owe their origins to orienteering, and their bold symbols and distinctive colours make them well suited to outdoor use. Note that key landmarks that feature on the maps and diagrams appear in bold in the text to help you plot the route.
Although the guide contains map extracts and diagrams, you are strongly advised always to take with you the relevant sheet map for the route, not only for safety reasons, but also to give a wider picture of the landscapes you are walking through.
At present, HARVEY publish three 1:25,000 Superwalker maps of Snowdonia; Snowdon and the Moelwynion, the Glyderau and the Carneddau, and Snowdonia South, covering the Rhinogs, as well as a 1:40,000 British Mountain Map Snowdonia.
Alternatively, the following 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey Explorer maps cover the areas described: OL17 Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa, OL18 Harlech, Porthmadog and Bala and OL23 Cadair Iris and Lyn Tegid.
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There is a correction to the map in Walk 17 on page 103.
The route description is correct but the marked route on the map after Llyn Bychan is wrong. You should take the first track on the right after Llyn Bychan (indicated correctly by the dashed red line on the detail map below) not straight on along the main forest track as indicated incorrectly on the map (see solid yellow line on detail map below). Please download the corrected pdf page here.
Changes to route description on pages 146 and 147, Moelwyn Mawr.
Having recently rewalked this route, the author has rewritten the paragraphs of the route description from "Behind the main quarry" to "climb to the summit" as follows:
"Behind the main quarry buildings is a large and wet tunnel into the hillside, and beside it a slaty ramp by which you gain higher ground (resist the temptation to enter the tunnel). The ascent passes tiny Llyn Croesor, which looks forlorn among so much darkness, but with the sun in its heaven, Llyn Croesor sparkles with the best of them.
Once above the ramp, you eventually arrive at a large reedy area framed by spoil that has been shaped into a trackbed. Off to the left, Moel yr Hydd looks inviting, but the easiest way to it means trekking far off-route beyond the quarry site to a low col to the south-west of the summit and walking easily up from there. The direct ascent of Moelwyn Mawr bears right from the reedy area, following a clear if damp path towards a ladder-stile, which is not needed, as the path passes to its left, and follows a clear route onto the shallow north ridge of Moelwyn Mawr and then steeply up to the squat and tidy trig pillar on the summit, trending right near the top. It is possible to count fifteen or more lakes from the top of Moelwyn Mawr, and the view, notwithstanding the dereliction, is one of the finest in Wales for extent, beauty and diversity.
The continuation to Moelwyn Bach will call for some thought. Begin by going east from the trig, but only for about 100m, and then turn right and descend the south ridge in a series of rock steps, crossing the subsidiary summit of Craig Ysgafn, marked by a large cairn. Above, Moelwyn Bach’s crags look impenetrable and shaky, not so much a scramble as a crumble. They are avoided them by ascending a clear path diagonally left which leads to the grassy eastern spur of the mountain from where the summit is readily attained."
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Dr Terry Marsh is a Lancashire-based award-winning writer and photographer who specialises in the outdoors, the countryside, walking and travel worldwide. He has been writing books since the mid-1980s, and is the author of over 100 titles.
Terry holds a PhD in Historical Geography and a Master of Arts degree (with Distinction) in Lake District Studies, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (FSA Scot), a member of the National Union of Journalists, and an Honorary Life Member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.
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