Walk this route yourself in 3D!
The Video is a 3D walk through of this route, it will give you a unique sense of having walked through the route before you start.
I have created 3D Videos of my adventures and have shared them with the OutdoorActive community as well as my walking community.
The Watkin Path is one of six routes up to the summit of Yr Wyddfa, and in my opinion it is the toughest, the steep slopes near the top particularly from the Rhyd Ddu Path are challenging, and not to be underestimated. The first part however is an easy gradual climb through the tree’s and then as you enter the clear, you will see the peak and also the Rhaeadrau Waterfalls which you will pass, and maybe as we did, have a little swim in!
The path is obvious most of the way to the top from the car park, and you will pass some really interesting landmarks, which I will show below.
Getting There: Directions, GPX and App Link
The Hiking App I use is ‘OutdoorActive‘ which has a free and Pro version, the Pro version will allow you to download the routes to your phone and use them without using up your data. The reason I mention it is that if you were to download it, below is the link to this route in my hike list on that app, you can follow the arrows and voice on that. I think it is best that you do get the app, as most of these walks are a bit tricky to explain.
- Every car park near a mountain in North Wales gets really busy early, it’s worth arriving early and starting your walk early.
- The start point is at Pont Bethania Car Park, Nant Gwynant.
- The walk starts by heading over the bridge just after the public toilets, and then crossing the main road.
- Distance: 8m / 13km
- Duration: 7-8 hours
- Highest point: 3524ft / 1074m
- Difficulty: Difficult very steep short climbs, loose terrain, slippery in places, rock scrambling and weather can be dangerous.
- Route conditions: Well-worn pathways all the way around, good walking shoes are a must.
Hike Description & Pics
The start point is at ‘Pont Bethania Car Park, Nant Gwynant‘, there is limited car parking, and it does get busy, and from there you can set off left, past the public toilets, over the bridge that spans ‘Afon Glaslyn’, crossing the main road and starting your walk up through the woods.
The tourist info board in the car park is a great source of information, and gives some great advice and local information. When you cross the road, you will be greeted by a lovely bit of Welsh stone with ‘Llwybr Watkin Path’ marked into it, you are on your way!
Follow the ‘Cambrian Way’ path up through the beautiful woods that takes you over a couple of little bridges, and is filled with the sounds of nature. The path will end when you come to a set of gates, and you will head left up the path to continue your way up.
Just outside those gates is a nice view point and another information board, the trail turns into a stone path and as you turn the bend you will see Yr Wyddfa way in the distance, and the waterfalls in front of you, around to the right.
You can walk to the left of the waterfalls and follow the path up, but we noticed a path down to the waterfalls with a little bridge, so we crossed over walked up with the waterfalls on our left, and later on you re-join the same path anyway.
But we enjoyed the moment by the waterfalls, stripped off and had a dip and it was freezing cold, but so nice, then dried quickly in the sun and carried on walking up. This was such a treat and a beautiful section to this walk, and in hindsight we should have had a dip on the way down, but it was so tempting we couldn’t resist it.
Leaving the waterfalls, the path continues on a slight up slope as you make your way towards the peak, and on your left a famous rock will appear, called the Gladstone Rock. It is here where The Watkin Path was named after Sir Edward Watkin, he created this path as the first hiking trail in England in 1892.
At the official opening, Prime Minister William Gladstone stood on this rock to give a speech to more than 2,000 people. Since then, this stone is known only under the name Gladstone.
You are now on your way to starting on the steeper sections, and it only gets harder from here to the top.
The path up is very well maintained, lots of slabs to walk on and step up, as you walk to the top on the right side of the valley. We did this walk on a nice day, but I can imagine these steps can get very slippery on a bad day, and the weather can change so quickly up here so always be prepared for all weathers.
As you climb up, on your right is the Craig-Ddu peak at 550m, pretty small for the area, but you soon reach a new high point and this is called the ‘Y Lliwedd (West Peak)’, and on your right you will see a plateau appear, walk to the end and you will get a spectacular view down the valley, overlooking ‘Llyn Llydaw’ and the most popular paths coming to the peak another way which are the ‘Miners Track’ and the ‘Pyg Track’.
We had a little break here, and then went back to the path and carried on a little further, and it’s at this point we stopped to have a proper lunch and coffee break. The place where we stopped is called ‘Bwlch y Saethau’ and again you get spectacular views, but it’s also the last gentle bit before the brutal last climb to the peak, so it was a wise stop.
Once at the top, you can give yourself a huge pat on the back, as it’s a very decent climb, and takes some doing. The peak is where the train arrives and you have a lovely building to use with toilets and serves drinks and food.
It does get very busy, as there are a few different ways up and if you want a pic at the trig point you can expect quite long ques. I cross my fingers for you to have a view to look at, we didn’t, only clouds, but it didn’t matter as we saw everything on the way up anyway.
Leaving the peak, you start by heading back the way you came up to the trig point, but rather than go down to the left, carry on straight and this will allow you to return along the South Ridge.
This isn’t an easy walk back down, it’s very craggy and at points you will not have a path but as you head forward, you can see the path in the distance. There are some really large rock formations to climb over and down, so be very careful, and then it’s a walk down to the little bridge you crossed over not far up from the waterfalls.
There are still 2 more peaks you will go over, the first is ‘Clawdd Coch’ standing at 931m, and then just before you leave the high points there is ‘Allt Maenderyn’ standing at 704m, so as you can see you are starting to drop quite quickly.
The views are superb as you head down, it’s a lot to take in, but you have plenty of time as it’s quite a long walk back.
Here are a couple of extra pics on the way down, making your way back to the car along the lower path that you came up on.
That’s it, you’re all done, back at the car and hopefully the weather has been good, and you have had a great experience.
It is worth downloading this route onto the Outdooractive app, it’ll re-assure you time wise and that you’re not heading in the wrong directions. There is so much space up there and lots of alternative paths you could accidently join.
Hope you enjoy this walk, and I’d love it if you could share this post either with the social media buttons that follow you down the screen on your left, or below in the footer. Also, comments are very welcome, I love meeting new people and talking, and you never know we could meet up on one of our walks.
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