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Snowdon by the back way

Mynydd Mawr above Rhyd Ddu

Mynydd Mawr rears above the hamlet of Rhyd Ddu with a steam train just about to arrive in the station on picture left.


  2. 8.6 miles

  3. 950 metres ascent

This route is a less popular way to top out on Snowdon, with some nice airy ridge walking near the top and plenty of squelchy bog trotting towards the end. Views are, as usual on Snowdon, either tremendous when clear or non-existent when the clouds come down.

Craig y Bera

The tottering rocks of Craig y Bera on the flank of Mynydd Mawr.

Starting from the hamlet of Rhyd Ddu, where there’s a car park next to the Welsh Highland Railway station (or up the road a little, where there’s a large layby for free), the path is well signed and very obvious. Indeed you’d be hard put to get lost all the way to the summit.

Rhyd Ddu looking towards the sea

From some way up the path, looking down to Rhyd Ddu, Mynydd Mawr on the right and the Nantlle Ridge on the left, the Irish sea in the distance.

On the way up there are some amazing views, out to the sea, over to Anglesey, and down to the Lleyn Peninsula. The crags of Llechog line the tremendous Cwm Clogwyn which takes a big bite out of the mass of Snowdon itself.

After a long slog the arrival on the narrow ridge at Bwlch Main is sudden. The view across is tremendous for a few seconds and I manage to get a shot of Lliwedd before it disappears in the mist. Hoping it will come out again I wait for twenty fruitless minutes before realising that’s it.

Lliwedd and the Horseshoe path

The main horseshoe ridge leads to Lliwedd summit just before it’s engulfed by the clouds, never to reappear.

The ridge is wonderfully narrow but still easy walking, nothing like the terrain on Crib Goch. It’s only about ten minutes to the summit and suddenly I’m in the crowds. Not as bad as my last visit, at least I can get inside the cafe this time for a hot pasty.

The Bwlch Main ridge

The onwards path along the ridge from Bwlch Main to the summit

I leave the crowds again as soon as I’m across the railway tracks and heading down the ridge above Clogwyn Du’r Arddu.

Snowdon railway train and the Glyders

The Snowdon mountain railway trundles down hill with the Glyders range in the distance, seen from the ridge of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu.

After some descent I get out of the clouds again and there are some fleeting shafts of light to capture.

Looking to the Lleyn Peninsula

Looking towards the hills at the head of the Lleyn Peninsula through the gap of Nantlle

The main path leads back to the Snowdon Ranger which then leaves you with a couple of miles of road walking back to the start. Instead there’s a cross country return past an old slate mine. After plenty of rain this section was “succulent” but you have to expect that in Snowdonia.

Moel Cynghorion

Moel Cynghorion


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