Copper Morning – a Cwm Bychan walk

It’s been a while since I’ve had chance to blog post, so let’s catch-up with an early morning mountain walk through Cwm Bychan to Beddgelert and then returning via the banks of the Afon Glaslyn.

Tamsin & I completed this walk yesterday morning (23rd May) and most of the route is currently lined with gorgeous bluebell flowers. Walking at a relatively leisurely pace, it took us a little over 3 hours including photography pauses (adjust for your walking pace). The GPS recorded 5.8 miles distance and 1500ft climb. Usual mountain walk advice is relevant but I would additionally stress that you will really want those sturdy boots, since much of the walk is upon rocky ground. The walk itself is absolutely gorgeous and I highly recommend it.

Bluebells in Spring Sunshine
Bluebells in Spring Sunshine

Park in the Nantmor National Trust car park at grid ref: SH597462 (£4/day at time of writing) and leave the car park via the gate next to the loos. Turn immediately right, under the railway and climbing up through bluebell woods.
Morning Sun
Morning Sun

Gradually the woodland will fade into open mountain, do look back towards the coastline, it’s a great view. Having started walking at 6.50am we had the pleasure of a cool morning breeze whilst watching the sun drawn up in to the sky by Helios’ steeds. We paused in the shade of a lonesome mountain tree.
Miner's Aerial Ropeway
Miner’s Aerial Ropeway

Soon you will come across evidence of the copper mining that used to be carried out here. Mining has been dated back to at least the 17th century in Cwm Bychan. The mines finally closed in the 19th century, only to be re-opened in the 1920s. It was at this time that an aerial ropeway was built to help remove the Chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) ore for processing. This attempt to restart production was short lived and the mine finally closed by the end of that decade. Various relics of that era can still be seen, including the aerial ropeway with its pylons and terminal wheel, higher up the mountain.
Wheel header of aerial ropeway
Wheel header of aerial ropeway

There’s more information about the mine site and its neighbours on the Coflein website.

Shortly after passing the header wheel the paths split in two, keep straight ahead uphill (as opposed to branching left), past a little more copper mining spoil, to eventually climb over a ladder style and reach the high point of this walk. The views from here are breath-taking and include the peaks of the Snowdon Horseshoe. We took a moment to stand and stare, basking in spring sunshine, sweet scent on the breeze and serenaded with birdsong – life doesn’t get much better 🙂

Views across central Snowdonia
Views across central Snowdonia

Now continue ahead to the nearby signpost & split in the track. Whilst it is possible to turn left towards Beddgelert, why miss out on the short extension down to the shores of beautiful Llyn Dinas. Before descending on the right to Llyn Dinas we took a very short detour, just 100m ahead, to investigate another copper mining shaft and for Tamsin to do some scrambling.
Tamsin on Rocks
Tamsin on Rocks

As one descends, the view of Llyn Dinas gradually opens up until the view of her full waters is eventually on show. We’ll now descend right to her shore line where we turn left to follow the river down towards Beddgelert. After a short distance the path joins the minor lane from Sygun Copper Mine to Beddgelert.
Morn over Llyn Dinas
Descending to Llyn Dinas from Cwm Bychan

Upon reaching Beddgelert one may cross the river & visit this much loved village. Have a pub lunch, enjoy the ice-cream parlour or just soak up the relaxed atmosphere. When ready, pick up the footpath going downstream again. Our GPS tracklog (see below) follows the left-hand bank but you’ll want to be on the other bank if you wish to visit Gelert’s grave. Either way as you walk along the paths downstream you’ll eventually find yourself on the left-hand riverbank with the Afon Glaslyn to your right & the Welsh Highland Railway to your left (keep a look out for the Steam Trains).
WHR narrow gauge tracks
WHR narrow gauge tracks

The pass of Aberglaslyn is a stunning section of river and worth a walk along at any time of year. Do take care on the path, it is quite rocky & narrow in places.
Path along Aberglaslyn
Path along Aberglaslyn

Eventually you will find yourself near the Aberglaslyn road crossing. Don’t exit the woodland on to the road, just turn left uphill on the path away from the river. It is now just a short walk back to the car park that you started from; I hope you enjoyed the walk. Our GPS tracklog is embedded below plus two links to alternative descriptions of this walk.


Other descriptions of the route:
National Trust – starting at the same point but walking clockwise (the opposite way) – starting from Beddgelert, walking anti-clockwise. [PDF file]


Wales Rally GB 2017

Another year, another rally BUT this time we have a local leader in the form of Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt. Lots of fun , lots of excitement. I’m just going to let the photos do the talking …

Barmouth Bridge 150th Anniversary Fireworks

The iconic bridge at Barmouth is 150 years old & celebrations were in full swing last night with song, music, dance & much merriment. You can read more about the bridge on wiki. I’m a fan of Barmouth (& you won’t hear me say that of many towns) and of fireworks too, so it was a great opportunity to have fun, enjoy the party, photograph the fireworks – lets jump straight to the photos & video …

And here’s a video of the fireworks display …

Happy 150th Birthday, Here’s to Barmouth Bridge!

Return to Rhiwargor

Or more accurately, another trip to Pistyll Rhyd-y-meinciau.

This is a walk that inspired the digital painting that I’ve used as a featured header above; if you like it, the print is for sale on my Nature’s Universe Store.

The walk is a relatively unchallenging one (about 1.5 miles 300ft climb), assuming that you choose not to scramble up the side of the falls. The character of the falls can change dramatically from a soft refreshing cascade on a hot sunny afternoon to a roaring torrent as the winter snows melt. The river falls about 275 feet in the several stages shown by the slideshow pictures below:

Note: some of these photographs are taken from vantage points gained by climbing the falls.

At the head of Vyrnwy lake there is a good car park (see map for details), signposted Rhiwargor. The car park has beautiful views & an interesting ironwork sculpture. A great place for a picnic but please note that the nearest public loos are some miles away, back near the dam.

Follow the path out of the far end of the car park, dropping slightly downhill towards the river & through the footpath gate. Upon reaching the river turn upstream and follow the riverbank path in a westerly direction. When you reach a point where there is a vehicular bridge over the river, do not cross, instead stay straight ahead through the footpath gate. Continue to follow the path, twisting up & down hill along the left-hand riverbank. All the while you should be able to enjoy ever improving views of the waterfalls.
Upon reaching a wooden footbridge, cross the river and continue upstream for a short distance, to reach the base of the falls & a conveniently sited picnic table.

It is possible to clamber up the side of the falls but this is a more substantial & oft muddy task that is beyond the scope of this brief guide. So having enjoyed some time at the waterfall, now take the stoned forestry track back along the northern side of the river. Follow this until you are close to the vehicular river bridge, cross back over the river and retrace your footsteps back to the car park.

Map below via Viewranger:

One of my favourite walks – Y garn, Glyderau loop

This is one of my favourite walks. A circular loop from the Youth Hostel by Llyn Ogwen, taking in some of Snowdonia’s fine mountain peaks.

Do be aware that some of the going is quite rough, there are sections of scrambling on scree and that in winter you are likely to need crampons & ice axe. That said, it’s an exhilarating mountain walk with fine views.

As one leaves the car parking area and follows the well made path to Llyn Idwal, it’s great to view the imposing cliffs above you with the knowledge that you’ll soon be walking above them. Upon reaching the lake we turn right to head up the slopes of Y Garn. This path is steep & particular care is needed in icy conditions. As you climb, do take time to look around and take in the views; looking east across Llyn Ogwen with Tryfan on its righthand shore or looking north along the Nant Ffrancon valley and out to sea.

Nant Ffrancon with snow tipped Carneddau

Upon reaching the summit of Y Garn, fine panoramic views are available, looking over most of Snowdonia. Again take in Tryfan to the east or look south-west to Snowdon & her relatives.

Now we must descend about 250m southwards to Llyn y Cwn before ascending the shaded scree slope to the summit of Glyder Fawr, the highest point on this walk. The rough & jagged rocks of Glyder Fawr provide quite the dramatic viewpoint. Now we can enjoy the high level walk eastwards from Glyder Fawr, via Castell y Gwynt to the similarly rocky summit of Glyder Fach.

Whilst it is possible to descend almost directly via the eastern scree slope of Glyder Fach to Bwlch Tryfan, it may be more enjoyable to take the slightly longer route to Bwlch Tryfan by diverting towards Llyn Caseg-fraith, as shown on the map.

Once we have reached Bwlch Tryfan, follow the rock strewn path downhill past Llyn Bochlwyd & its associated waterfall and then all the way back to where we began.

In total a very enjoyable walk of about 7 miles with a climb of around 3,300 ft. Whilst timing will vary upon your pace & how much you stop to enjoy / photograph the views, it is best to allow most of a winter’s day to complete this – say 7 hours.

Below is my map for this walk, embedded via Viewranger: