Friday, September 11, 2009

Snowdon via the Watkin Path

Date : 11th September 2009
Route : Ascent of Snowdon via the Watkin path and back over the south ridge
Distance : 8 miles (12.9km)
Height Gained : 3583 (1092 meters)
Time Taken : 7 hours

The route : clockwise from the car park bottom right

In think this is the best way up Snowdon. You get a great perspective of the mountain as you approach it with views being gradually revealed with every step. It is also the route with the lowest starting point in terms of altitude, which may be either a good or bad point depending on your perspective. There is ample car parking at the start of the route, 3 miles to the north-east of Beddgelert. The path starts steeply as it ascends a picturesque little valley following a tumbling stream with waterfalls. It then levels off and following the old slate quarry path as it enters the lower part of the huge Cwm Tregalan before turning steeply northwards. It eventually emerges onto a ridge called Bwlch Seethau where you are suddenly greeted by impressive views down over Glaslyn towards Crib Goch. The path then follows this high ridge for 1/2 mile before a steep scramble joins the Rhyd-Ddu path up to the summit.

From the summit there are many different options for descent and so it would be a shame to take the same path back down. My preference is to walk down the opposite side of the mountain either along the Miners track or Pyg track. That route of descent is described here, as part of a walk ascending via the Crib Goch ridge. Once down, there is no need to worry about the long walk back to the car, as the Snowdon sherpa bus service runs regularly in a circuit around the mountain. A route map and timetable can be found here. Today however, we descended via the Rhyd-Ddu path before pealing off to rejoin the lower part of the Watkin path and then back to the car park.

The start of the Watkin path



The Watkin path following the stream

The Galdstone Rock

First views of Snowdon over the Cwm Tregalan (valley)

Looking back over Yr Aran

Snowdon, showing the final scramble route up to the left of the summit

Views from the ridge over Glaslyn

Grib Goch from Bwlch Seethau

Looking back along the col towards Y Lliwedd

Glaslyn

Grib Coch showing the Pyg and Miners Tracks

Looking back down the Tregalan valley

The summit cafe

Views over the Bwlch Seethau ridge to Y Lliwedd

 
A typical Snowdon summit scene

The summit

Garnedd Ugain

More views along Crib Coch

The view back along the Watkin Path

From the summit we took the Rhyd-Ddu path along Bwich Main but then left it to continue along the ridge to the col at Bwich Cwm Llan where we then descended east and back to rejoin the Watkin path.

The descent route along the Bwlch Main ridge & Rhyd-Ddu path
   
Views to the West

Y Lliweddn and the Watkin path

Views back down the valley towards the car park

Looking back to Snowdon from Bwlch Cwm Llan

Snowdon at the head of the Tregalan valley