Cwmorthin is a fascinating place with impressive landscape features and a wealth of industrial heritage. Spread around this dramatic upland valley are the remains of a quarrying industry, ghostly quiet now but still imbued with the eerie presence of times past.
From the road head parking above Tanygrisiau a track leads up beneath the vast spoil heaps to Llyn Cwmorthin. The track continues across the base of the valley floor before turning and rising up to reach more spoil heaps and old quarry workings at Bwlch Cwmorthin.
If the weather is good then you can continue with an excellent circular route taking you back south through the Rhosydd Quarry and back east below the steep slopes of Moel-yr-hydd and down to the Llyn Stwlan access road which leads back to the starting point.
Keep an eye out for the impressive incline which runs up the hill from the lower reservoir and punches a hole through the left side of Craig yr Wrysgan.
It is also possible to follow a contouring path from across from beneath Moel-yr-hydd past Llyn y Wrysgan to another area of old quarry workings at the top of the incline tunnel. The incline is quite steep and tricky in places; a safer descent is to follow paths down through the spoil heaps at the back of Craig yr Wrysgan to the mouth of Cwmorthin.
NB. Do take care when in the vicinity of any old quarry workings – the buildings and ruins can be unstable. Any mine shafts should be avoided too as these are invariably dangerous.
There is a handy lay-by at the road head below the track leading up to Cwmorthin and adjacent to the start of the Llyn Stwlan access road.
Mostly good footpaths (although a bit loose in places) and a narrow road (with no public access for vehicles).