HILL, DALES AND MOUNTAIN HIKING

3rd April 2009: Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd    Web page by Bryan Benn

Start: Bethania, (Nantgwynant), car park

Highest Point: West summit of Y Lliwedd 898m

Distance: circa 13 km

Weather: Mild, with low cloud higher up

Vertical altitude gain: circa 900m

Time: 7 hrs 30 mins

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd The Winter weather seemed to be behind me as I returned for long weekend of Spring walking in Snowdonia. For once I was not alone as I was accompanied by Lolli, a good friend from Sweden who had come across the North Sea especially to walk with me. For day one I had chosen to walk up to Y Lliwedd, starting on Snowdon's Watkin Path here at Bethania.
Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

The start of the Watkin Path is easy, allowing us both to gently warm up as we headed away from the road and started to gently climb. Firstly though some woodland, and then out into more open countryside.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

The track up follows the Afon, (river), Cwm Llan for quite a while. Part way up the river drops steeply over series of falls: giving us the chance of a short break to take in the view.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

Not much further on we passd the Gladstone Rock. The rock on which the then Prime Minister, William Gladstone made a speech on Justice for Wales on the formal opening of the path in 1892.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

It was quite a long approach walk to get to the turn off for Y Lliwedd, And as we progressed the path became steepr, albeit still with a well laid surface to walk on.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

HIgher up now and the path became rockier and steeper. But we were both warmed up now and despite the lack of the forecast clear blue skies, looking forward to the final challenging section up to Y Llewidd.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

We turned off the Watkin Path just as we reached Bwlch Ciliau, and as expected saw no path in front of us. Just lots of rocks to scramble over!

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

The low cloud base lifted briefly to reveal the West summit of Lliwedd. And to make us realise that our route up would be via the right hand side of the mountain, and not via the almost vertical cliffs to the left!

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

The slight clearing in the weather also allowed us to look down from Bwlch Ciliau to Llyn Llydaw some way below us to the North East.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

A quick debate follwed as to which route we should take to the summit. "Straight over the rocks to the top", was my view. So the "Bryan Benn route" it was as we got our hands on the rocks for the first time that day!

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

There were small terraces on the way up where we could walk rather than scramble, but support from the Leki sticks we were both using came in very useful!

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

Then it was back onto the scrambly bits, with the straight line route working well as we could see some other walkers close to the summit still high above us.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

Lolli still found time to use her camera as we got onto a steeper section!
Photo by Lolli

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

Closer to the summit and whilst still steep, the climb was more scree than rocks. Meaning we were back to walking rather than scrambling. And again our Leki proved very useful!

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

Not far to go now!

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

Then, with another slight lifting of the low cloud base we were on the summit. With a view down to Llyn Llydaw.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

Lolli takes in the view. Sadly all too briefly as the low cloud raced in again, leaving us with a choice of how to descend back to the Watkin Path.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

For the descent Lolli took over, and decided on a near straight line directly to the Watkin Path over a very steep slope that was mainly scree, with a few scattered rocks, "The Lolli Route" !

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

The "Lolli Route" worked well, and got us back onto the Watkin Path. Down which we gently walked, stopping for a break over looking remains from the days when quarrying was a major activity in Snowdonia.

Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd Watkin Path to Y Lliwedd

We never hurried ourselves all day: there was no need or purpose to do that. So we stopped again by the waterfalls as we got near the end of a really great days walking in Snowdonia.