Y Garn via the North East Ridge and the Devil's Kitchen Walking

Y Garn is one of the more impressive peaks in the Glyderau. Whilst it is often climbed as part of a bigger traverse of the range, it is equally worthwhile as a stand-alone mountain, and perhaps best done via its fantastic North East Ridge. This ridge is never technical, but the exposure down towards Cwm Cywion and the Nant Ffrancon is truly epic for a walking route. You then descend towards Llyn Y Cwn and past the imposing chasm of the Devil's Kitchen. Look out for interesting flora as you descend this route.

Amazing views heading up to Y Garn. © john1963  © john1963
Amazing views heading up to Y Garn. © john1963
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Detailed description

SH6495960381 From the car park, walk up to the Idwal interpretation centre and take the path up the steps on the left. After 5m pass through the ornate iron gate and cross the wooden bridge. Carry on for another 200m to a prominent right hand bend and follow the path as it curves up toward Cwm Idwal. The path carries straight on and rises gently until it reaches Llyn Idwal.

SH6470759828 Turn right and follow the path along the lake shore. When the shore heads left carry straight on along a path towards a fenced-off enclosure. This is a SSSI that helped show how overgrazing from sheep changes the vegetation. The path leads towards a much steeper hillside, where well maintained steps lead up into Cwm Clyd.
Y Garn North East Ridge overview  © Mark Reeves
Y Garn North East Ridge overview
© Mark Reeves

SH6374859945 From the edge of the Cwm take the ridge line on the right that leads up the North East ridge of Y Garn. This is easy walking but the exposure down towards the Nant Ffrancon is mind-blowing. When the ridge joins the main Glyders ridge, turn left and follow the path for 200m to the summit of Y Garn.

SH6308359560 There are two ways down: One is straight down to Llyn Cwn; The other is to follow the ridge down the edge of Cwm Clyd for 300m to another path. From here head straight down to the side of the path to gain the ruins of a drystone wall that leads down to the top of the Devil's Kitchen. It is worth walking close to the edge here to enjoy the views, cutting back to the right to a junction with a stream that drops down into the actual Devil's Kitchen. From here you can head south-south east across a spur which is home to a few pools of water; in one of these is a fantastic display of Bog Bean.

SH6382258644 From the bog bean pool carry on SSW towards the main footpath that heads down into Cwm Idwal. Turn a sharp left down here and follow the path to a stile over a drystone wall. Carry on following the path down the terrace towards the base of the Devil's Kitchen. Where the path turns down and right it is worth stopping and exploring the area for rare alpine plants.
Devil's Kitchen  © Chris_Mellor
Devil's Kitchen
© Chris_Mellor, Aug 2017

SH6393258819 From below the Devil's Kitchen head down the path and take the left fork that leads to the left side of Llyn Idwal. Follow this down through some fine examples of moraines left by the last ice age. After about 800m you pass through a drystone wall and the shore of the lake curves right along a beach to where you left the Llyn on your way up.

SH6450159918 Carry straight on in the direction you were going away from the lake towards a stile over a wire fence. The rock formations on the left are Roche Moutonee, again a classic relic of the last ice age, and the view down the U-Shaped Valley of the Nant Ffrancon is stunning. From here head east to pick up a path that leads into a corridor of rock and straight down to the Idwal Cottage Interpretation centre.

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