The Watkin Path is one of several paths that lead to
the summit of Mount Snowdon in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.
It is not the easiest route by any means, indeed the final section
close to the summit is a hard scramble and not suitable for those afraid
of heights or of an unfit disposition.
The walk starts at the Bethania Car Park in Nant Gwynant, on the A498
road between Capel Curig and Beddgelert. There is a charge to park the
car - but fortunately not for us - on the day we took the walk in March
2012 the pay and display was out of order.
Exit the car park and head north, crossing the A494, and either take the
lane or the more scenic route through the woodlands, (either route will
do as they meet up again after a few hundred meters). The first part of
the route is particularly pleasant and as the path gently ascends the
slope it passes the picturesque waterfalls of the Afon Cwm Llan.
The trail squeezes into a narrow pass before the
wide-open aspect of Cwm Llan comes into view. To the west can be seen Yr
Aran at 747m while straight ahead is Bwlch (gap or pass) Cwm Llan,
offering alternative routes for future walks. Passing the Gladstone Rock
and the remains of several miners buildings we come to the remains of
the miners’ barracks before bearing right and starting to climb the
lower slopes of Y Lliwedd towards the summit of Yr Wyddfa, - Mount
As a matter of interest we reached the miners’ barracks after one hour
of a total of three hours and ten minutes which it took to reach the
summit, and the walk to Cwm Llan might be considered a pleasant walk in
itself. In fact I am much more inclined to make another walk to Cwm Llan
than I am to climb to the summit of Snowdon again!
The trail to the summit consists of a mixture of rough ground and crude
stone steps, it is not easy walking and you need to be properly equipped
for mountain walking. The day of our trip was an exceptional March day
with very little wind and temperatures in the twenties centigrade.
Nevertheless, good walking boots were still a necessary part of our kit.
Moreover, if the weather changed you can quite easily get lost on the
In good weather the trail is obvious, and you eventually reach Bwlch
Ciliau from where you will have fine views of Llyn Llyddaw. From here
follow the path to the left. The path to the right leads towards another
peak - Y Lliwedd.
This section of the path is relatively flat although rocky underfoot,
and leads to Bwlch y Saethau. After passing Bwlch y Saethau you will
reach the most difficult part of the path. It is extremely steep, and
care must be taken as it is very loose underfoot.
Eventually you will reach a standing stone that marks the spot where the
Watkin Path joins the Rhyd Ddu Path. From here you bear right and
shortly you will reach the summit and, if the right time of year, you
may find the summit café open for refreshments.
You have a choice of trails for the descent, and, if you are completely
knackered, you might be able to book a trip down on the mountain
railway. Although don’t rely on it as this is also seasonal and it’s
possible all the seats could be taken!
We descended via Bwlch Main, the South Ridge, which seemed a safer route rather than the loose scree on the Watkin Path.
I will be posting a video of the descent on the Walesdirectory shortly.
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