Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr from the Pen Y Gwryd Walking

The majority of people tackle the Glyderau from the rugged northern side in the Ogwen Valley. To make a change, this route starts from the south side close to the famous mountaineering hotel of the Pen Y Gwyrd. Starting from this side give the walker the potential to be in the sun all day, which may be of benefit in the spring, autumn and winter, but might be best avoided on the hottest days of summer. The route follows the Miner's Track up, before traversing Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr from east to west. To descend follow the more vague Red Dot Path (named locally after the red dots that can just be seen painted onto the boulders as waymarks), down to Pen Y Pass before descending to the Pen Y Gwryd. The route has amazing views as well as some unique and interesting rock features on the high Plateau of the Glyderau.

Castell y Gwynt © Nicholas Livesey  © Nicholas Livesey
Castell y Gwynt © Nicholas Livesey
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Detailed description

SH6609655929 The Miner's Track starts just past the Pen Y Gwyrd hotel by a stile. Head over the stile and towards the small bridge that crosses the stream that descends from Cwmffynnon. Carry on along the main path as is traverses up and across the steep hillside. The angle eases at about the 700m contour, as you gain the main Gylder Ridge. Where the path forks after it has flattened off, take the left fork and after 300m you join the main track up the East Ridge of Glyder Fach.

SH6653458196 Follow the path up the initially broad ridge line before it starts to become a little harder to follow as it cuts through some rocky steps. The final rise leads to a flatter area where a path that heads up a wide loose gully from Bwlch Tryfan joins you from the right. From here in bad visibility you may need to rely on bearings and pacing to find the summit and or the infamous Cantilever stone. This is found on the west side of the small ring contour just to the east of the true summit.
Cantilever stone april 2011  © ezzpbee
Cantilever stone april 2011
Sean Martin, Apr 2011
© ezzpbee

SH6572158321 Many walkers will avoid the true summit, if you do head up to it then you are best to descend the way you headed up and then walk around the north side of the summit and follow a vague path with occasional cairns towards the gothic outcrop of Castell Y Gwynt. If you are lucky, you'll get amazing views from here of the flanks of Snowdon and Crib Goch. From just before the rocky 'castle' turn down and left and traverse around the seemingly impenetrable fortress on a path that passes just below Bwlch Y Ddwy-Glyder. Take the lower path that heads up towards the rim of Cwm Cneifion, where the almost moonscape of the summit takes over. Follow the cairns to the summit of Glyder Fawr. Is it the left or right summit? You decide.

SH6423757938 It is quite easy to lose the path in the initial descent from the summit of Glyder Fawr, or worse still end up following the path down into the Devil's Kitchen and the Ogwen Valley. To avoid this it is advisable to use a bearing to get off the summit in the right direction, on all but the clearest of days. About 600m off the summit the path starts to follow more of a blunt spur/rib and becomes a little more distinct as it heads down to the 646m spot height. It is from just above here that if you keep your eyes out you might be able to see the 'red dots' that were painted onto the rocks to help walkers many years ago. From here you are continuing down the path to reach the Pen Y Pass Youth Hostel. It is possible to cut left and descend around Llyn Cwmffynnon, but this is often very damp and not the best way to finish the route.

SH6473955629 Walk into the car park at Pen Y Pass, with options for a coffee in the cafe or beer in the Mallory Bar. Just to the left of the car park warden's shed is the start of a small path that leads down just below the road to eventually join the A498 just below the Pen Y Gwryd Hotel. This is a really good way to make it back down to your car without walking along the side of the main A4086 road, which is not that wide and has some blind bends on it. Having reached the A498, follow it uphill back to your car.

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