LLYN PADARN LAKE WALK
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 2/3 hours
The five mile circular route takes in some of the best scenery that Wales has to offer.
You don’t have to climb Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), Wales’ highest mountain, to enjoy a cracking walk at Llanberis with views of snowdon summit. There are other routes to choose from that give equally stunning views.
Llyn Padarn, which lies alongside Llanberis, has a superb circular walking route which takes in several interesting features relating to the history of slate quarrying in the area.
The National Slate Museum in Gilfach Ddu offers a fascinating insight into life for the quarrymen in times gone by. You can also visit the old Quarry Hospital and, if time permits, take a ride on the Llanberis Lake Railway.
A short diversion off this walk leads to the bottom of the massive Vivian Quarry. The quarry base is now flooded and is used by divers. Rock climbers use the man-made cliffs above.
We start at the lakeside car park towards Llanrug along the lakeside path towards Y Glyn.
Llyn Padarn and its near neighbour Llyn peris were named after early Celtic saints who founded early churches in the area.
The lake is a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and is home to the Torgoch or Arctic Char, a rare fish that has survived in the lake since the Ice Age.
It forms part of the Padarn Country Park established in 1969 soon after the huge Dinorwic quarry closed down.
The path follows the lake edge before heading off again into woodland in Y Glyn. This is an area popular with kayakers.
It follows the track of the old Llanberis to Caernarfon railway which closed, inevitably as a result of the Beeching cuts, in December 1964. Now known as Lon Las Peris it is a popular cycleway too and part of the route takes you through one of the old tunnels.
Shortly after the tunnel the path veers right and across a road – and follow the old road past Craig yr Undeb (Union Rock). Banned from staging meetings in the quarry the North Wales Quarrymen’s Union would stage its meetings and rallies on this rock from 1874. The union was later amalgamated into the Transport & amp; General Workers Union (later Unite). Information boards tell the story.
Reaching Penllyn there is one of the classic viewpoints of Snowdonia with the lake stretching out for two miles in front of you with the mighty Snowdon massif to the left and the Glyder range to the right. Dolbadarn Castle can be seen in the distance.
Leaving Penllyn cross the bridge and follow the lane up towards Fachwen. This steady walk of about a mile or so, so take your time and enjoy the spectacular views through the trees of the lake and the mountains.
The path is waymarked with metre high posts topped in white but keep an eye out for a telephone kiosk on the left. Immediately opposite there is a footpath that leads down through the trees of Coed Dinorwig, past Caffi Padarn to the quarry hospital. The first building you see however will be the mortuary. Slate quarrying was a dangerous business in the late 19th century.
The hospital is open to visitors and there is a wonderful viewpoint to the front of the building.
Head down the path towards Gilfach Ddu and the National Slate Museum which has interesting artefacts from the period when quarrying was the primary industry in the region. Among the displays are a row of houses, brought to Llanberis from Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog.
We follow the track of the Llanberis Lake Railway (and the road that leads to the museum) for a short distance before veering left and across the river that links the two lakes.
We then take a visit to Castell Dolbadarn built by the Welsh prince Llywelyn Fawr (Great) during the early 13th century. The castle was important both militarily and as a symbol of Llywelyn’s power and authority. The castle features a large stone keep, which historians consider “the finest surviving example of a Welsh round tower”.