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Miners’ Track Ascent, Snowdonia

Was slightly disappointed that Wales wasn’t turning out to look like Mordor at all (well, by association with mining and the Black Country…); in fact, it looked really rather pretty.

The Miners’ Track up Snowdon (aka Yr Wyddfa, highest mountain in Wales and second highest in the United Kingdom) starts from a car park in Pen-y-Pass, just across from the Pen-y-Pass YHA*.

It is a very easy trail at the beginning, with a fellow traveller reporting sightings of a man on a motorised wheelchair along the route. The trail was built to service the Britannia Copper Mine, which was abandoned in 1917.

Llyn Teyrn, Miners' Track, Snowdonia, Pen-y-Pass

Llyn Teyrn + ruins, Miners' Track, Snowdonia, Pen-y-Pass

Soon, you come upon Llyn Teyrn (supposedly the coldest lake in Britain…) which is a strange green-blue colour probably because of the copper or copper sulfate content of the water. Don’t know if this is a natural occurrence or the result of historical mining activities. The abandoned miners’ barracks sit near the edge of the lake.

Miners' Track, Snowdonia, Pen-y-Pass

Dog next to Llyn Llydaw, Miners' Track, Snowdonia, Pen-y-Pass

A little way along, there is the narrow Llyn Llydaw, of King Arthur-and-the-three-maidens-on-route-to-Avalon fame, which can be traversed by a causeway, built when one too many horses-on-a-raft drowned transporting mining goods in 1853. There were several well-behaved dogs** along the way, who were all very interested in getting to know me, probably because I’d stepped on far too much sheep poo.

Ruins of old Britannia copper works crushing mill, Llyn Llydaw, Miners' Track, Snowdonia, Pen-y-Pass
On the other side of Llyn Llydaw, the ruins of the old Britannia copper works crushing mill overlooks the lake. There is a little outcrop just beyond that makes a good rest stop and picnic spot.

Scottish terrier racing down the path near Llyn Llydaw, Miners' Track, Snowdonia, Pen-y-Pass

Sadly, we had to turn back while ascending to Llyn Glaslyn because icy conditions and also deep snow on the steep climb and a strong prevailing wind that made it hard to keep one’s footing without proper equipment. And I was the most equipped of all – with one fleece jacket and urban crampons. (A passing climber suggested that my week-old jeans weren’t the best thing for the hike either…)

It continues to astound me that the God who made the heavens and the earth has made them so beautiful, and also given us the capacity to enjoy them (though this second point cannot be distinguished from the first, aesthetics and all). After all, it would have been perfectly adequate to provide man with a creation that merely sustains and nourishes us.

Psalm 8 (To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.)

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honour.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

*accessible from Llanberis by Sherpa Bus

**”dogs are not welcomed unless under close control or on a lead”

Transportation information:
Prestatyn to Bangor: Arriva Train
Bangor to Llanberis: Bus 85 (£3 – see Traveline Cymru)
Llanberis to Pen-y-Pass: Snowdon Sherpa Bus (£1)

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