Snowdonia, the third of Britain’s national parks to be designated (and the first in Wales) is a popular holiday destination despite it being the wettest place in the UK. Mt. Snowdon, Wales’ highest peak after which the park is named, is challenging to climb although thousands ascend by the easy route – using the narrow guage railway.
Far to the south and away from the crowds the scenery is still dramatic giving great opportunities for hill walking. It is possible to walk all day with only ravens, buzzards and red kites for company.
The Precipice Path near the small town of Dolgellau is a relatively short and easy circular walk that offers spectacular views in all directions. It is a good introduction to walking in the hills for it is well signposted and, more often than not, there are other walkers nearby. If, like me, you prefer to walk in splendid isolation then that is still possible by starting early or late in the day and avoiding weekends.
The path leading up to the precipice winds its way gently alongside woodland before climbing more steeply for a few hundred yards. It is rocky and uneven and, as with any hill walking, strong shoes or boots should always be worn. During the winter, this part of the path is often icy.
As the path turns towards the west spectacular views of the river, the Afon Mawddach appear, set in a deep glacial valley that leads out to sea. The path now narrows and with a sharp drop to one side – although it is quite safe small children need to be supervised and those that suffer from a fear of heights will find this stretch challenging.
For those not worried by height the bird’s eye view of Dol-y-clochydd is fascinating especially if you are lucky enough to see the sheep being herded by the farmer and his dogs.
At the halfway point, a bench marks the end of the precipice and from here there are vews of the village of Llanelltyd and of the river flowing into the sea.
The path now turns back on itself in a wide arc before descending to the edge of Llyn Cynwch, a small reservoir with views of the mountains and crystal clear water giving superb reflections. The path follows the edge of the lake until it returns to the starting point of the walk. Novice walkers should allow at least two hours for completion.
The Precipice Path lies within the nine hundred year old Nannau Estate and, although not a public right of way, the estate has opened it to the public since 1890. It is a working estate and there may be sheep or other livestock roaming freely so it is necessary to keep dogs strictly under control.
How beautiful. I would love to be able to stroll among those hills and pastures. I sure miss that. We have spectacular views here in Michigan, but England (the British Isles) has my heart
It is lovely there. I always go in the winter when I can have the place to myself. The older I get the more I can’t imagine living anywhere else other than Britain. When I was much younger I very nearly accepted a job as a forester in the extreme north of Canada. But that’s another story!
Superb photography, John especially the lake with the driftwood. Wish I was younger and more agile to roam as you do.
Thanks, Norma. I’m lucky coming from a long line of fit and active people – long may that last! My job helps maintain the fitness levels too: I’m always planning on fitting a pedometer to clock up the number of miles I walk in a week but never get around to it 🙂
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