Pen-y-Pass to Llyn Llydaw

There are many paths and tracks in the Snowdonia National park which lead to the top of mount Snowdon the highest mountain in Wales and England. Snowdon is a serious mountain with changeable weather conditions at any time of the year. More on that later….

The Miners’ Track begins at the car park at Pen-y-Pass, at an altitude of around 350 metres (1,150 ft), and is the most popular route to the summit of Snowdon. The Miners Track was built to serve the Britannia Copper Mine, long since abandoned.

Miners Track

It was a beautiful sunny morning with some white puffy clouds to break up the blue sky, ideal conditions for landscape photography. Accompanied by Adrian Evans, our intention was to walk the Miners Track as far as Llyn Llydaw and the now abandoned Britannia Copper Mine crushing mill, stopping on the way to take photographs. This track is ideal if you wish to take a walk on Snowdon without going all the way to the summit.

Just after leaving the car park at Pen-y-Pass we stopped on a rocky outcrop to photograph the Gwynant valley, Time now was 10:56.

Llanberis Pass

Back on the path which starts off wide and even, we began the gradual climb towards Llyn Teym.

The Track

The track rises higher than Llyn Teym which meant we were looking down on it. At this point in time the sun was more or less in front of us, directly in our viewpoint, so Adrian and I decided we would photograph Llyn Teym and the abandoned Miners Barracks on our return from Llyn Llydaw.

Remember I said the weather was changeable in Snowdonia. Gradually we could see heavy cloud starting to form over Snowdon and the light levels dropped dramatically. By the time we reached Llyn Llydaw light rain was starting to fall.

Copper Rocks

To get across Llyn Llydaw you have to use the causeway.


When the mine first started operating horses and wagons full of copper ore were taken across Llyn Llydaw on rafts, to shorten their journey down to Pen-y-Pass. In 1853 a horse drowned and so it was decided that a causeway had to be built. But before that could be done the water level in Llyn Llydaw had to be lowered substantially. When the water dropped a prehistoric oak dug-out canoe, measuring 10ft by 2ft, was found.

Carrying on round Llyn Llydaw we had reached the abandoned mine.

Britannia Copper Mine

The buildings are fenced off due to danger of collapse if walked on. I would have liked to show you more of the building but there was a large white van, from one of the environment services, parked right in front. Not exactly the most photogenic of things to see but by changing my point of view to lower than the wall you wouldn’t even know it was there.

The cloud cover was still quite heavy but occasionally the sun would break through lighting up the hills on the opposite side of the lake.

Rusty Bar

We hung around until about 14:00 taking photographs but it didn’t look like the sky was going to clear any time soon.

Llyn Llydaw

Looking back over Llyn Llydaw towards Pen-y-Pass it was clear that it was just as cloudy there so it was time to head back……


……and would you believe it. The skies started to clear, Snowdon suddenly emerged from the clouds and the sun started to shine weakly through the clouds.

We’d come right round Llyn Llydaw by now so it was too late to go back. But we still had Llyn Teym to photograph.


The pipeline supplies water from Llyn Llydaw to Cwm Dyli hydro-electric power station in the Gwynant valley. The oldest power station in Britain, it was built to supply electricity for a railway, which would connect slate quarries and mines, throughout the Gwynant Valley. The scheme was abandoned when funds ran out. The power station was commissioned in 1906, and has been supplying electricity to the National Grid ever since.

Llyn Teym

Further down the track we could see Llyn Teym in the distance, By now the skies had really started to clear and we were more or less back to the conditions we had first experienced in the morning. Sunny blue skies with white puffy clouds. The weather in Snowdonia is always changeable….

Looking down on Llyn Teym we could see the old Miners Barracks.

Ruined Buildings

The slope down to the barracks is too steep to get a closer photograph, Just as well really as by now we had been out walking and photographing for about 5 hours and it was definitely getting time to head back to Pen-y-Pass and the car park, which we reached about 16:00. All in all we had been walking and photographing for 6 hours.

I hope you enjoyed this walk with us on one of Snowdon’s most visited routes. If you click on the map you can get an aerial view of the route we followed from Pen-y-Pass to the Mine Buildings at Llyn Llydaw.

Map picture

If you ever intend visiting this part of Snowdonia be aware that the parking fee is £10 for all day parking. Spaces are limited, during the summer months and weekends all year round the car park can be full by 7 in the morning.

Alternative parking can be found at Nant Peris (at the time of writing, May 2013, £4 all day) and you can then use the Sherpa bus, which runs regularly to Pen-y-Pass. I think the fare is £1 single journey.

12 thoughts on “Pen-y-Pass to Llyn Llydaw

  1. Looks like we were luckier with the weather on our visit ^_^ thanks for linking up to my humble ole blog as a related article, you just found yourself another fan, great photography!
    All the best,
    Babs B


    1. The good thing is I live in North Wales so can make it there almost anytime. Next trip we are glint to tackle the Pyg track but not carry as much camera gear. Thank you for following me and I hope you more of my photographs


  2. These are spectacular. Snowdonia is so stark and so devoid of anything green and you make the scenes sing with expert compostiton, color, HDR processing- well the whole nine yards.

    The outing sounded like a very good one. I saw some areas of snow. What is the elevation where you were photographing?


    1. At that level Yvonne, no more than 1200 ft. The snow is still around because we had the worst snow storm in over 50 years, with 30 ft drifts or more in some places. Many hill farmers lost lots of livestock, roads were impassable and the Snowdon Mountain Railway only managed to clear the track to the summit about two weeks ago.


    1. Unfortunately not. It’s the most popular rout for walkers and climbers who want to get to the summit of Snowdon. We went in the mid week were its a bit quieter.


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