Slate and Copper
Distance: 38.6 miles / 62.1 KM (Round Trip)
Starting Point: Betws y Coed Tourist Information Centre (SH 794 566)
Finishing Point: Betws y Coed Tourist Information Centre (SH 794 566)
Capel Curig (© Kevin Richardson)
1. Starting from Betws y Coed Welcome Centre (SH 795 565), follow the A5 out of the village, in the direction of Capel Curig, passing Rhaeadr Ewynnog (Swallow Falls). You can stop here and visit the Falls, as there is now an accessible path leading to it. Two miles further ahead on the A5, you can visit Tŷ Hyll (Ugly House).
2. As you arrive at the village of Capel Curig (SH 725 585), look up to the left to enjoy views of Moel Siabod. While travelling along this road, you will experience some amazing views of Snowdonia’s stark, majestic landscape.
3. In the centre of Capel Curig village, turn left at the crossroads, and follow the A4086 in the direction of Porthmadog, passing Plas y Brenin outdoor centre and Llynnau Mymbyr (Mymbyr Lakes). The Horseshoe Path can be seen in front of you.
4. When you come to the junction near Pen y Gwryd Hotel (where the team who climbed Everest in 1953 stayed and signed the ceiling above the bar), turn right and follow the A4087 for two miles for Pen y Pass. There are Blue Badge parking spaces in the Pen y Pass car park, as well as accessible toilets and a café.
5. Continue on the A487 to the village of Nant Peris. Rev. Raymond Starr, the early naturalist who died on the slopes of Snowdon, is buried in Nant Peris cemetery. The cemetery is located in the grounds of Nant Peris Church, adjacent to the Warden Centre. The cemetery’s paths are not accessible for all. The National Park Authority has an accessible toilet and ‘grasscrete’ car park on the outskirts of Nant Peris.
6. Leave Nant Peris in the Llanberis direction, passing Dolbadarn Castle, which was erected by Llywelyn Fawr at the beginning of the C13. Llanberis is the starting point of the mountain railway to the Snowdon summit. (The train will only run three quarters of the way to the summit, to the ‘Clogwyn’ station, while the construction work on the summit is ongoing).
7. There are a variety of shops in Llanberis, with many of them specializing in outdoor equipment. Many pavements are accessible, as well as the path to and around Padarn Lake, which lies in the shadows of Elidir Fawr. The ‘Electric Mountain’ visitor centre is also accessible, and provides tours, with facilities for all, of Dinorwig Power Station.
8. Leave Llanberis in the direction of Caernarfon. When you reach the junction, turn for the A4244, and then turn right for Brynrefail village.
9. Take the first left in Brynrefail, for Pont Penllyn, a bridge from where you can view Snowdon, Dolbadarn Castle, Padarn Lake and Dinorwig Quarry. There is a panel on the bridge itself, with poetry, which conveys the essence of the area, by Gillian Clarke and Iwan Llwyd. The shape of the upper part of the panel conveys the landscape of the valley and the text of the poetry is raised. A rock to the right is named ‘Union Rock’, and if you go through the gate near the stile, you will be given the opportunity to read about the history of the rock’s name and the tensions which affected this area during the local quarries’ most affluent period.
10. Go back to the main road and take the second turning to the right, for Deiniolen village. Turn to the left, following the road up to the junction, sign posted ‘Mynydd Llandygai’, where you will pass over the mountain to Mynydd Llandygai village. You will pass a forest of conifer trees, and vast moorland, where you will get a further glimpse of the area’s stark beauty. On the right, you will see the Penrhyn Slate Quarry which became infamous following the Great Strike of 1900-03. By looking to the sea, you can see Penrhyn Castle, which was home to Lord Penrhyn, owner of the quarry. Note the castle’s splendour, in comparison with the lowly cottages owned by the quarrymen.
11. When you have passed the moorland, take the first turning to the left, and go down the hill, passing St Anne’s Church, on the B4409. At the bottom of the hill, turn to the right, and then turn to the left for the A5.
12. Follow the A5 up to Nant Ffrancon. The National Park Authority's Warden Centre is located at the lip of the pass. The Warden Centre has a car park with Blue Badge spaces and accessible toilets and a café.
13. Follow the A5 up to Nant y Benglog, past Llyn Ogwen on the left and Tryfan on the right, through Capel Curig and back to Betws y Coed.