|Outline Map →||Route file →|
Date: 26 Mar 2004
Start / Finish: Betws-y-Coed.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 17: Snowdon.
|Day 1||The Betws Lakes & Creigiau Gleision||10 miles / 3330 feet (16km / 1014m)|
|Day 2||Craig Wen, Crimpiau and Afon Llugwy||10 miles / 1380 feet (16km / 420m)|
A varied circuit visiting the lakes of the Betws forests and the little frequented but wildly attractive tops of the Creigiau Gleision ridge, then returning via Swallow Falls and the Afon Llugwy riverside path. We found this route rather more tiring than the numbers suggest. Although much of it is easy walking the main objective, the Creigiau Gleision ridge, is rocky and heathery in nature and quite boggy in places, making the walking more of an effort despite the presence of thin paths. The ups and downs of the bouldery riverside path also took longer than expected, and overall it had the feel of a considerably longer walk.
Betws-y-Coed has one of the highest concentrations of gear shops we've seen, and the route starts by crossing the river by the Ultimate Outdoor shop. Over the bridge and turning L by the Stewart Cunningham outdoor shop, a lane branches off R and soon becomes a forest track. The route follows the Forestry Commission 'yellow' walk, marked by yellow rings on posts, that forks L into the trees. Keeping L at the junctions the path climbs through conifer lined crags to a waterfall then follows a clearing by a cottage to arrive at Llyn y Parc. At a 3-way junction of tracks just beyond we kept L again with the yellow marks and descended through woodland to where the forest track became a hard metalled surface at 788599. Just a few yards beyond we took the track L that curved southwards around an old mine to gain a lane at 781601.
Turning L on the lane a short way to a car park, here is the remains of Hafna smelting house with an information board about the mine workings and ore extraction. The route climbs up steps through the middle of the ruins with a black hand rail to arrive above the chimney at a waymark. A short way beyond we crossed a ladder stile and made a brief diversion R to visit the trig point 310m. The footpath descends W across an embankment by Llyn Llangors and a short way beyond to a spoil heap of another old mine. Keep to the R of the heap and aim for a prominent ladder stile, which gives access to a path that slants down NNW to Llyn Geirionydd. From the monument at the N end a footpath heads N and we took a side path L from a waymark post that climbs a little around the slopes of Mynydd Deulyn below a mine then descends SW to a car park (public toilets). Walking up the lane to Llyn Crafnant there is a good view across the water with Crimpiau beyond. Returning along the lane by the Afon Crafnant we followed it to the start of a surfaced byway at 762625.
The byway climbs steeply and turns sharp L, then follows waymarks zigzagging above Lledwigan Farm and crossing a stream where we collected water. Arriving at a fence corner at the crest of the heathery ridge, we set off L following a fence and crossing it a couple of times to seek the least boggy line, before the ground climbs to the rocky N top of Creigiau Gleision and Llyn Cowlyd comes into view. Locating a good pitch hereabouts is not easy as heather and tussocks predominate, but we found a quite good spot just below the rocky summit tor.
The higher Carneddau were still misted out at dawn but this ridge was clear as we took the path to the main top. Clambering R down the steep rocks, we joined a path that descends to a wet bwlch and climbs easily to Craig Wen. This is a good point to survey the route ahead - there are two distinct rocky pyramids, the path goes to the R of these crossing a flat boggy area and curves around L to the less striking Crimpiau with Llyn y Coryn at its far end. We scrambled up the rocks of Castell y Gywnt for the view to Llyn Crafnant, thinking this was the peak we could see across the lake yesterday, but it wasn't - that turned out to be Crimpiau!. It was no problem though as this area should be savoured and not hurried anyway. Descending to the bwlch before Crimpiau, we took the slanting path that climbs R gradually to Llyn y Coryn, with a view across to Gallt yr Ogof just clear of mist, then L along one of the ridge paths to the top and the expected view of Llyn Crafnant.
A path descends E to the main highway from Capel Curig where we turned R to follow it as far as a footbridge at 732582. A waymarked footpath leads E to a stile at the corner of the forest, where a few yards to the L we joined a main forest track that loops around the head of Afon Abrach to arrive at a path junction above Glyn Farm 751578. Careful mapwork here - the track bends L and a prominent waymark indicates a joining path on the R, but our path is straight ahead, above and immediately L of the wall and appears to be blocked by branches at first, but there is a waymark and no problem. A little further along the path curves L under a fallen tree then R across a small stream to a stile, and shortly joins a forest road.
Crossing a minor road we continued on the track into the forest as far as a waymark post on the R, where a path descends back sharp R through woodland to a track junction. Turning E the R fork descends to the thunderous Swallow Falls. A little further on there is a viewing platform complete with seat and the whole of the main falls can be seen. The path contours high on the precipitous sides of the gorge hemmed in by a fence to a footbridge. From here the tortuous and undulating path leads back to Betws, only once being forced out L briefly to the minor road.