The Nantlle Ridge Traverse from Rhyd Ddu to Llanllyfni

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Route Summary:

A Traverse of the Nantlle Ridge from Rhyd Ddu to Llanllyfni.

Distance
Ascent
Time
14.13 km 927 m 6 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Start and Finish:

Facilities:

VERY decent pub and tearoom in Rhyd Ddu, WC at car park. Nothing at the other end unless you walk into Penygroes which has a CO-OP.

Hazards:

Loads of steep sections, with some of it being proper scrambling, but most of it being traversing steep ground. Serious proposition in winter conditions! Main steep sections are the crest of Drws y Coed, the “Hiatus” between Tal y Mignedd and Trum y Ddysgl and the steep descent to Bwlch Dros-bern.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Public Transport:

Rhyd Ddu is served by Snowdon Sherpa buses, but you’ll need to ring a taxi in order to return to Rhyd Ddu. We recommend M&R Taxis – our local firm and nothing to do with our M and R! Alternatively, base yourself in Caernarfon or Porthmadog, as you can use the buses to get to the start and there’s a bus service back from Llanllyfni.

Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): Rhyd Ddu - LL54 6TN , Llanllyfni - Top of Lon Tyddyn Agnes - LL54 6RT

In Rhyd Ddu there’s a car park at the start of the Rhyd Ddu path. If using two cars, then you can park at the end of Lon Tyddyn Agnes – which can be found at SH495 510 or here on Google Maps.

Weather Forecast:

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The Nantlle Ridge Traverse from Rhyd Ddu to Llanllyfni Route Map and GPX Download

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Guidebooks:

Summits and Places on this Route

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The Nantlle Ridge Traverse from Rhyd Ddu to Llanllyfni Details

The Nantlle Ridge Traverse in Snowdonia is just one of your classic ridge walks. No other word for it.

This one’s an absolute classic.

This is a traverse of the Nantlle Rigde that omits the final summit of Mynydd Graig Goch, which is more of an outlier than a true part of the Nantlle Ridge. For those who would prefer to complete the complete traverse then you can follow this route  – The Nantlle Ridge Linear Traverse – which takes you from Rhyd Ddu to Nebo.

The Nantlle Ridge Traverse Route Description

1 The route starts at the Rhyd Ddu Snowdon Path car park, or if you prefer, the Rhyd Ddu WHR Station. You can see the Nantlle Ridge clearly to the west, so you cross the road and follow the path that takes you in this direction. It is straightforward enough, with arrows and “Private” signs along the way to aid in your navigation. You soon come to a gate where the path forks uphill to your right, and it certainly goes uphill, to the summit of Y Garn. This part is a slog. No two ways about that, there’s no glamour involved here. You will be looking at your feet for the hour or so it takes, dragging yourself up the muddy, eroded track. God only help you if it’s raining. It’s comparable to the South ridge on Pen yr Ole Wen, or the Nant Peris ascent of Elidir Fawr, with the only positive being that it’s much shorter.

2 The path veers right to the summit of Y Garn (with virtually no climbing left), where there is shelter for lunch, or you can go right towards the wall on the flat part of the ridge and bypass the true summit and get onto the juicy bits straightaway (what i did).

3 Ahead of you lies Mynydd Drws Y Coed, see the pic to the right, and this is a scramble over a mainly bouldery ridge as opposed to solid rock. You’ll need to read the path, and try and pick the route, as it isn’t always clear, but it’s not overly difficult. If you find it getting awkward, you’ve gone the wrong way. I find that the best line is to keep a little to the left of the crest where there is no path (but you can’t go right without defying physics anyway!). Oh, and there are a couple of exposed steps, but nothing excessive, just make sure you have decent boots (especially in the wet) and that you can place your feet with confidence. I’d have found it much more difficult when my knee was giving me serious hassle.

4 The summit of Drws Y Coed is nothing special, especially when the entire rambling association of a small county is perched atop it, munching sandwiches rather loudly. But ridges are about walking on, not stopping. There’s plenty of opportunity to stop on the uphill bits.

5 There is a fair drop to the next col, just avoid the path that contours left around the hill and down to the Beddgelert Forest, this is an ideal emergency descent. For the main ridge, you must ignore this path and keep to your right on the highest ground and to the flat, grassy summit of Trum y Ddysgl. There is only the magnificent view to keep you on the summit, otherwise it’s utterly devoid of shelter.

6 Continue along the flat ridge, ensuring you don’t miss the path to your right at the end of the ridge. Next on the list is Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd next with it’s huge obelisk. The adjoining ridge has a ‘nick’ across it – for lack of a better word, apparently called the Hiatus in some circles. This section, where the grassy ridge just stops, is passed by dropping down along the path and back up, though it does have a few airy steps and easy down scrambling.

7 Descending from Tal-y-Mignedd, you need to follow a steep and badly eroded footpath that takes you rather directly to Bwlch Dros-bern, with Craig Cwm Silyn dominating the view in front of you. The next section isn’t clear, and keeping to the highest point on the ridge will bring you to a rather sheer rock face (it’s a scramble, but probably beyond a grade 1!). Instead, you need to keep right on the good path, which bring you to the start of the climb. The path then rejoins the crest of the ridge, with the path again intermittent in places.

8 The walker is given three options here. Most people turn back, returning to Rhyd Ddu or Beddgelert. You may continue across the plateau, over Garnedd Goch and Mynydd Graig Goch and descend to Nebo at the far end. This is the complete ridge, and the one for peak baggers. However, this routes follows a footpath that clings to the clifftops above Cwm Silyn, affording excellent views. This in my opinion makes a more appropriate ending to the walk, being airy and less moorland than the alternative.

9 The path is faint in places and keeps disappearing, but easily followed in clear weather by using the clifftop as a handrail, if you find yourself on moorland, you’ve veered too far left but just keep on going as the slope is reasonably easy ground. If you find yourself falling, then too far to your right. It descends gradually, following a grassy ridge, and you should be aiming for the fence and gate where the grassy ridge levels off that has a direction arrow for walkers to keep going rather than cross the gate. Follow this fence and just before you reach the wall, veer right towards the stile in the wall and the good track above Llynnoedd Cwm Silyn.

The Nantlle Ridge Traverse from Rhyd Ddu to Llanllyfni

10 The track will now take you gently down over moorland and initially to the Tyddyn Agnes car parking – which is an ideal place to leave a second car. Otherwise, it’s an easy walk along a country lane to Llanllyfni, or you can alternatively descend to Talysarn or better still, Penygroes as it has a couple of large convenience stores. Beware, there are NO facilities in Llanllyfni. Wherever you descend, you’ll have spent your day along arguably one of the best walks in Snowdonia, and if you get up early enough, will probably have it to yourself, at least for the latter half!

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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