Jamie McHale

Mountains and midges

Snowdonia — Beddgelert and Snowdon

May 31st 2017

I spent a few days over the English bank holiday weekend in Snowdonia — camping at Cae Du Campsite near Beddgelert.

On the first day we walked a loop through Beddgelert, Aberglaslyn path, Nantmor, Cwm Bychan, touching on Llyn Dinas before heading back to the campsite.

Beddgelert is famous for the legend of Gelert the dog, mistakenly slain by his master. Gelert’s Grave and statue is near the path from Beddgelert to Nantmor, at the start of the Aberglaslyn gorge, a beautiful riverside walk.

After Nantmor we climbed the small valley past old mining relics, and then down to Llyn Dinas, the lake near the campsite.

We stopped in at the Copper Mine museum for a coffee in their cafe, and ate wood-fired pizza at the campsite.

The second day we climbed Snowdon — starting north east of Beddgelert on the Watkin Path, one of the tougher routes up the mountain.

The walk started in a small forest, climbing up past waterfalls, and into a large long valley. It was hot, cloudy and full of midges. We stopped briefly at the Gladstone Rock (commemorating a speech by the Liberal Prime Minister in 1892), before the long slog upwards.

The last bit of the Watkin Path was over scree and boulders, a little more difficult than other routes. By the summit the route was filled with bank holiday crowds. The view at the top was non-existent, thanks to the clouds, so we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Summit Cafe and Railway Station (yes, you can get there by train!), and then headed down the South Ridge.

About twenty minutes after leaving the summit the clouds opened up for some blue sky. We stopped and sat on the grass with views back to the summit in one direction and the sea in the other.

We headed back down, and rejoined the Watkin trail back to the car park. Dinner at the Tanronnen Inn, and ice-cream from the cafe across the road, made a good end to a fun day.

If you haven’t been, Snowdon is well worth a visit. Family friendly and easy routes up to the top, and some spectacular scenery. The only drawback of this trip were the millions of midges — making the evenings on the campsite and the first part of the ascent a mini-hell.