photo: Garry Smith
Y Gribin & Tryfan photo: Garry Smith

Mountain Walking in North Wales

On a clear day from the summit of Snowdon, you can see the Mountains of Mourne rising above the horizon of the Irish Sea. From the Northern slopes of the Carneddau range on a day of similar clarity you can see the Isle of Man, the hills of the Western Lake District and much further away, Dumfries and Galloway in southwest Scotland. Focus closer by though and you will discover the real wealth of vistas to view and mountains to scale.

Approaching from the east there are wonderful hills in close proximity to Chester and Wrexham - Moel Fammau and the Clwydian range of hills offer up beautiful days out often escape the wild weather of the main hills and peaks of Snowdonia.

The mountains of central Snowdonia lie in three main ranges – in the North is the Carneddau with peaks such as Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn forming the backbone of a high and mighty ridge.

In the centre are the Glyderau - Tryfan, Glyder Fawr, Y Garn. Between the latter two mountains the cliff is cleaved by the impressive Twll Du (Black Hole) or Devils Kitchen. Further along the ridge line lies Elidir Fawr, its’ majesty casting a watchful eye over Anglesey to Northwest.

To the south lies the Snowdon group of Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgyl and Lliwedd, not forgetting Yr Wyddfa summit itself.

Though the high ridges and Cwms provide key routes for mountain walkers, each of the triad has remote nooks and crannies rarely frequented except by Choughs, Buzzards and the occasional human visitor seeking solitude and relaxation far away from the hubbub of the daily grind.

Surrounding these magnificent peaks are the Moelwyns, including the Matterhorn of Snowdonia Cnicht, the Arennigs and the Berwyns. Though less lofty outlying neighbours, all are worthy of far more than cursory inspection by mountain walkers keen to seek out and explore the lesser known corners of North Wales.

The backbone of the Rhinogs, a craggy and heather clad range, dominate the skyline of the coastline from Porthmadog to Barmouth on the Mawddach estuary and in the far southern part of the National Park rests Cadair Idris, home of the legendary giant Idris. It is said that if you spend the night atop this lovely peak you will awake a madman or a poet...

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Top Mountain & Hill Walks Venues in North Wales

Basecamp & Beyond

Family & Fun

  • For a great introduction to mountain walking, Mynydd Mawr is hard to beat. The easiest approach is from Fron - following a cart track at first, then a path to a col overlooking Betws Garmon. From there a steady climb up the broad ridge overlooking Cwm Du gives access to an atmospheric summit with a stunning 360 degree vista that includes almost every peak above 3000 feet, the Isle of Anglesey and the rugged Lleyn Peninsula.

photo: Simon Panton

50 Shades of Great

  • Snowdon Horseshoe - The magnificent Four! Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) and Lliwedd all in a day. A classic day in the mountains but certainly not for the faint hearted or inexperienced. The traverse of the airy ridge of Crib Goch requires a steady head for heights and the agility and sure-footedness of a mountain goat. The busy summit of Snowdon provides unusual mountain moments among the throng but the remainder is mountain idyll personified.

photo: Ray Wood

Out There

  • The 14 Peaks! The summits of the three thousand foot mountains of Wales can be visited in a single magnificent journey by fit and experienced mountain walkers. It's not a mountain journey to be under-estimated. In 1988 Kylie Minogue was a 19 year old in Neighbours and Colin Donnelly ran the 14 peaks in 4hrs 19minutes. Kylie is still going strong and so is Colin's amazing record time. Angela Carson has held the women's record of 5hrs 28 since 1989.

photo: Ray Wood