slate trail 3: Rhyd Ddu – Blaenau

The 3rd Snowdonia Slate Trail post – a sunny day’s walk from Beddgelert, via Croesor and Rhosydd to Blaenau and Llan Ffestiniog.

Trail notes

Day 5 Beddgelert > Llan Ffestiniog

This was a great day. Clear blue sky day but with fresh small breeze to sharpen it. Started walking at 8, no rush. Glaslyn still mostly in shadow and cold (and path is now so good don’t have to concentrate). Nantmor village twee and lush and all flowery up the Z lanes to Cnicht turnoff and down to Croesor village. Bluebells, new leaves, new bracken and thick tree blossom. Cuckoos. Croesor village busy busy – fixing rooves, washing out, carpark full with kitted out hiking group. Cafe closed (of course).

Long walk up quarry road, clear views along the valley below and across to Cnicht ridgeline. Watching quadbike busying below. Lines of red quarry infrastructure. Quadbike – 2 kids, 2 dogs, guy. Croesor quarry has mostly been cleared, flat field and 3 round sheep rolling around the football pitch space left behind. Abandoned telegraph poles, wheelhouse, a few ruins at the back. Path up and over past the reservoir and round and down over dry marsh in the sun. 2 people following behind. So clear.

Rhosydd/Cwmorthin. Curving down the hill to and through the abandoned villages and infrastructure and shiny metallic blue slagheaps in the sun. Buildings silhouetted in the strong sunlight, a group of brightly hatted people crouching in the flattened area. So many people today! Curving down and round and appreciating the scale. Small mines, big infrastructure to get the stuff out. Cost overheads must have been massive. Abandoned houses, fireplaces, chapel shell, the boss’s house off left past a beautifully lichened slate fence. The giant spiky firepit in the garden – well sheltered where the wind comes from.

Cwmorthin lake, lilies, grasses, grey water, round and down into the light and Tanygrisiau cafe (sofas outside, great coffee, place to hang in the sun between the trainloads). Rhodendendrons and foxgloves now in the flowery mix – shifting onto early summer flowers. West facing valley lit by the sea again. Blaenau busy on a tuesday. Path is convoluted from Tanygrisiau through to Llan Ffestiniog – and totally overgrown from the Teigl Gorge bit onward (bilberry forest!). Won’t do any of that again – just use the more natural routes. But the signposting is better through this – didn’t use the map once today. And a George Borrow connection at the (closed) pub at the end, for the traditionalists.

Llwybr Llechi Eryri
Snowdonia Slate Trail
The book: Aled Owen, Snowdonia Slate Trail, Rucksack Readers.