AROUND PEN-Y-PASS Capel Curig + Pen-y-Gwryd +
Photographs by Noel
Walley & Elwyn Jones
The writer, a
resident of Llandudno, regularly uses public transport to visit his
favourite haunts in North Wales. He sometimes takes the Arriva S2
through bus at 9:50 am from Llandudno that arrives Pen y Pass (shown
here) at 11:10
am. Pen y Passstands at
the head of the Llanberis Pass and is the location of a large car
park, a Youth Hostel (formerly the Gorphwysfa Hotel) and a popular
cafe. It is of course the starting
point for several walking routes to the summit of Snowdon. Pen y Pass
is the hub of the Sherpa bus network and there are good bus services to
from Llanberis, Beddgelert, Rhyd Ddu, Waunfawr, Porthmadog, Capel
Curig, Ogwen, Bethesda,
Coed and Llanrwst.
In the neighbourhood
of Pen y Pass:
Llyn Llydaw by the Miners Track
Take the Miners track via Llyn Teyrn, Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn, an
walk as far as the lakes, and the only way in which to see these hidden
Snowdonian lakes and also the Snowdon copper mine locations as well as
superb views of the Snowdon Horseshoe. The walk
is about a mile each way.
On the way
the Pen y Pass Centre with the Cwmffynnon bowl high above and behind,
seen from the Snowdon Miners Track. Cymffynon and its lake are hidden
away behind the ridge but can be reached by a footpath to the left of
the Youth Hostel.
In the jottings
below the writer refers only to places easily reachable by the Sherpa
bus service. Click this link for
details of the walk from Pen-y-Pass down the
Llanberis Pass to Nant Peris,
a little over two miles or about four miles to Llanberis, but you are
never far from a Sherpa bus stop. This is the view at the head of the
In the opposite
descent from Pen-y-Pass to Pen y Gwryd
is a short but steep downhill walk with
the most magnificent views of Nant Cyndyd leading to the Nant Gwynant
Pass, see below (served by Sherpa
buses), the pass descends from Pen y Gwryd to Beddgelert. In the
valley foreground is the Cwm Dyli hydro electric power station.
Pen y Gwryd is noted
for its ancient hotel built on the site of a Roman Marching Camp. It
has frequently been visited by climbers who left their mark
during training expeditions and notably by Sir John Hunt and the
members of the successful Everest expedition of 1953. This photo
below was taken from the Sherpa bus stop.
Here can be had a very good pub
lunch. Here too are to be found the signatures of the successful
climbers of Everest, in June 1953 – Sir John Hunt (leader), Sir Edmund
Hilary and Sherpa Tensing – not in any conventional and dusty visitors
book – rather, with others, written on the ceiling of the climber’s bar
for all to look up to! More recent Himalayan climbers including
Chris Bonnington have also added their mark. Behind the hotel are the
steep scree covered slopes of Cwmffynnon.
Pen y Gwryd to Capel Curig
This little lake at Penygwrd Llyn
Lockwoodis named after
the 1920's hotellier who created it as a fish pond
and to give his visitors a view of a lake. It is, with the hidden
Cwmffynnon the source of the Afon Gwryd that flows through Nant Gwryd
and Dyffryn Mymbyr, the sheep farm made famous in "I Bought a Mountain"
by Thomas Firbank, to Capel Curig.
Here also at Capel Curig is an ancient church Eglwys
Santes Julittanow in the care of a local charitable
trust. In pre-Norman times the dedication of this church was probably
to Saint Curig, a Welsh Bishop of the 6th Century. Later the name
became Latinised to Cyriacus and identified with Saint Cyricus who with
his mother Saint Julitta was martyred at Tarsus c304 AD. Probably known
by the end of the 12th century as Saints Cyricus and Julitta, it later
became known just as Saint Julitta.