The Glyders walk had been talked about for a while since it is fairly straightforward, involves a bit of clambering over rocks, and offers magnificent views of Snowdonia. This sounded excellent for a Tuesday in February so we gave it a go.
We started off near the Pen-y-Gwryd hotel in the last of the free-to-park lay-bys. Seriously, since when did “pay and display” lay-bys come into being?
I guess the big theme of the day was mist. The weather forecast for the nearby area had suggested, perhaps even promised, at some blue sky appearing during the day. With this promise in mind, we set off and within 30 mins had lost sight of the car as we entered the mist.
In the mist we aimed for the Miner’s Track and eventually found it about a third of the way up the slope to Glyder Fach.
Unsurprisingly with the poor visibility we didn’t see any other walkers until we reached the plateau near the summit. The plateau was a nice change under foot though as we left streams and boggy ground behind and walked across a much rockier landscape.
The final ascent to the summit of Glyder Fach (994m) was relatively gentle, and we just made out the Cantilever Stone that marked the effective summit for us (the actual summit is nearby to the Cantilever but involved climbing a few slippery and large boulders – so we declined on this trip).
The visibility had not improved whatsoever, so we plodded on fairly blindly towards the summit of Glyder Fawr. The route initially involved a small descent past the jagged crest of rocks that form Castell y Gwynt. Needless to say, we didn’t see much of the rocky feature as we passed it.
After we took the wrong path, at some point on the way to Glyder Fawr, there was a small temptation to carry on walking down the path that was fairly obviously descending the mountain. The visibility was a bit rubbish, but personally I was determined to summit another peak so did my best to persuade the group that we wanted to head back up the path and take a route that pointed us uphill, and not downhill.
We followed a new path that ascended to another plateau and this gently led us up to the summit of Glyder Fawr (1,001m). This peak had only recently been promoted to the group of peaks over 1,000m, so I felt fairly privileged to make it to the summit. And I felt pity for those folks that had climbed it previously when it was only 999m. Surely they would have to climb it again now?
The path down from Glyder Fawr took us to Pen y Pass and was marked by little red painted dots. We didn’t do a particularly good job of following these dots and frequently left and then rejoined the path.
About 100m above Pen-y-Pass the mist finally cleared and we could see again. Looking around us and back at the bases of the two Glyders I got a sense of the views and scenery that we had missed out on.
The path took use to the back of the Pen-y-Pass youth hostel and I volunteered to walk along the road back to pick up the car while the others had a cup of tea at the cafe.
The final memorable moment of the day for me was shutting the car boot on my phone which absolutely killed the LCD screen on my Samsung Galaxy S (but without breaking the so-called “protective” glass). I have been quoted £150 to repair this. Ouch.
Duration 6:46 hours
Distance 8.2 miles
Path (Google Earth)