David’s ancestors built The Watkin Path

David’s ancestors built The Watkin Path – one of the principal access routes up to the summit of Snowdon.

Watkin PathThe Watkin Path has the greatest change in altitude out of all the paths up Snowdon. Starting at 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level at the Nantgwynant car park (SH628506) south of Snowdon, and finishing at Snowdon’s 1,085 metres (3,560 ft) high summit, the Watkin Path has a height gain of 1,025 metres (3,360 ft). It follows the course of the Afon Cwm Llan river and passes the Gladstone Rock which commemorates the opening of the path in 1892 with a speech by William Gladstone, then Prime Minister, on Justice for Wales. The path then heads up the hillside to Cwm Ciliau (between Y Lliwedd and Snowdon) and onward to Snowdon. It is also possible to walk from Nantgwynant to Bwlch Cwm Llan, between Yr Aran and Snowdon and from there, either down to Rhyd Ddu or along Allt Maenderyn, along the top of the Clogwyn Du cliff face to meet the Rhyd Ddu path going to the summit. During the summer, apart from views of the surrounding Welsh countryside, plenty of tourists take to “cooling down” in the local waterfalls, part of the way up the path. The path was originally built by Sir Edward Watkin and extended in 2003 by the National Trust.

Watkin Path Directions

Starting point – Car Park at Pont Bethania on the A498 between Llyn Dinasand Llyn Gwynant.
(GR 628 507)

Turn to your right out of the car park, cross the bridge and turn right along a narrow lane. In 400 yards you will reach a stoney track on he left with a gate. Follow this up into Cwm Llan which has the cascading Afon Cwm Llan on the right. The Path levels out as you enter Cwm Llan and a left fork goes off to the south ridge. Ignore this path and continue to cross the river over the bridge, passing ruined buildings and left past the Gladstone Rock. Continue to pass rocky spoil heaps then rise to Bwlch Cilau on the edge of the cliffs and ridge overlooking Cwm Dyli and Llydaw. Turn left on a path to Bwlch y Saethau. From here the path turns to the left up the rough south slopes of Snowdon to the South Ridge at a 2 metre marker stone). Turn right and follow the South Ridge up to the summit.

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