Unfortunately we didn’t have too much time to devote to hiking during our recent North Wales visit, and on the morning we set off unfortunately, Wales’ highest mountain at a touch under 3000 feet was Snowden was shrouded in low cloud.
Instead of taking our annual hike up the mountain, we parked at Beddgelert village and decided to take a low hike which took us past the copper mine at Sygun on the outskirts of the village, then over the ridge and down to the river, which then allowed us a river walk back round to finish the circle back to the village.
While I was disappointed not to tackle Snowden once again, we actually had a fantastic variety of walk, and although it was probably only about 8-9 miles it had enough rough walking to make our knees know we had taken a stroll.
The toughest bit of the walk was past the Sygun Copper Mines to the top of the ridge; as it has been a wet spring we were walking through a stream as there was a lot of run-off from the boggy mountainside. Fortunately, the rock has a lot of good grip and while we were getting our footwear wet it was at least easy going underfoot.
At the top of the mountain there were a confusing array of paths, but fortunately it is easy to work out your direction down to the river, and you can see the estuary between Anglesea Island and the Welsh mainland. I always like to see the cotton grass in the bog land; sticks of grass with bits of what looks to be sheep’s wool stuck to the top.
There are some very clear paths to take you down to the rushing white waters of the river. Fortunately half way down the mountain there was a lovely handmade bench produced in the memory of someone who had died far too young, and had loved these mountains. We stopped a while and ate an enjoyable packed lunch while enjoying the view and easing our limbs a while.
At this part of the walk, we imagined that we would be walking along smooth grassland alongside the river, but much of this walk comprised of a hard going path cut into rock alongside the river. If you don’t like heights then this won’t be for you as part of the walk requires you to use metal handholds screwed into a wall of rock as you inch along a walkway about half a dozen feet above the rushing water; it’s called the Fishermen’s way, and indeed there were a couple of anglers on the river. The route isn’t particularly tricky but I did feel a little dizzy as I looked over the river throwing white foam over the rocks in the riverbed.
Finally, we reached much firmer terraine and we fair strode across the couple of fields over-taking the casual walkers to the assumed grave of the faithful dog Beddgelert before coming back upon the village where we stopped at the corner shop for refreshments.
I can recommend this hike for its sheer diversity of village lane, hill, field and riverside walking. There’s a lot of view and enjoyment for your efforts. If you want to follow my route buy a local map, look out for Beddgelert, Sygun Copper Mines, the ridge beyond and the river which curves back round to your starting point.