Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach
Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach are two of the most iconic peaks in the entire UK! These neighbouring summits combine rugged terrain and incredible views with relatively easy access. This circular walk starts from the shores of lovely Llyn Ogwen, ascending Glyder Fawr via the Devil’s Kitchen and some challenging rocky scree. From the summit of Glyder Fawr, the stroll across to Glyder Fach provides stunning scenery in all directions. Massive boulder cairns and the iconic Cantilever Stone greet you at the top of Glyder Fach. Multiple routes for descent give you options to suit the weather and your skill set. Return along the shores of Llyn Bochlwyd to wrap up a fantastic adventure.
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Route Description for Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach
This circular walk up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach presents some demanding stretches of ascent, and several portions of the route can be difficult to find, especially in the colder months when snow settles on the peaks. While not too technically challenging, walkers should have some experience with route-finding, and be comfortable tackling steep rocky scree.
As the tallest peaks in the Glyderau range, Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach are a breathtaking pair! The former tops out at just over 1,000 m, making it the third-highest mountain in all of Wales (and nearby Fach is only a few behind). In clear weather, the views over the Carneddau and Snowdon itself are nothing short of spectacular.
Start this walk from Ogwen visitor centre, taking the well-made stone path ascending to the left. This leads up to the northern end of Llyn Idwal, where it splits and continues along both shores - the left path offers a shorter distance. Not far from the southern end of the lake, you arrive at the base of the Devil’s Kitchen, a well-known section of steep ascent. You may require some mild scrambling as you climb through the cliffs to the shores of Llyn y Cwm. A great place for a quick rest, as the next section is even trickier!
Most of the following stretch from here to the summit is loose, steep scree. It’s less than 500 m in total, but quite challenging, and without any reliable spot to rest. Pick your line carefully - a bit left of center is a good choice. Power through, and the final 100 m is a forgiving stroll to the summit. This one is a large plateau, with majestic views in all directions!
The crossing over to Glyder Fach is a relatively straightforward walk along some breathtaking clifftops. In poor weather, a handful of cairns should help lead the way. Follow these to Bwlch y Ddwy Glyder, along the top of the Gribin Ridge. A path on the right takes you under and around the peak of Castell y Gwynt, then keep your eye out for a left turn for a path leading to the top of Glyder Fach. This is a particularly unique summit, made up of an enormous boulder cairn which is quite difficult to actually climb - but the famous Cantilever Stone around its left is a must!
The descent from Glyder Fach can be tricky to find, and a few options present themselves. The quickest way (marked on this GPS) is a left along the top of the Bristly Ridge, then a right turn shortly after to descend down a rocky scree path. This is quite steep, so in poor weather (or for less comfortable walkers) turn right at the top of the Ridge instead and follow a broader path down to the Miner’s Track, which then cuts back to the left. In either case, you should end up at Bwlch Tryfan. From here, continue northwest along the path, back along the eastern shores of Llyn Bochlwyd and back to the Ogwen visitor centre.
The Devil’s Kitchen is the colourful name for a crack in the cliffs, down which a waterfall tumbles over multiple drops. At times, water vapour will rise up through the crack, mimicking steam - hence the moniker.
The summit of Glyder Fach is a unique area to explore, with the famous Cantilever Stone a notable highlight. As the name suggests, this boulder sticks out horizontally at what seems like an impossible angle. This location was used in the Walt Disney film Dragonslayer, as an entrance to the dragon’s cave - very fitting for an iconic Welsh sight!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to climb Glyder Fawr?
It depends on your route, but it usually takes 4 hours to climb Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach. There are steep sections and hard-to-find paths, so give yourself plenty of time to get up and down.
Where is the Cantilever Stone?
The Cantilever Stone is on the summit of Glyder Fach. If you’re crossing from Glyder Fawr, walk past the collection of boulders that make up the true summit of the mountain and you’ll find yourself in a plateau area. Once there, the Cantilever Stone is impossible to miss!
Insider Hints for Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach
- If your legs still have some juice, you can extend this walk with a quick scramble up the South Ridge of Tryfan to tick another famous mountain off your list.
- The YHA Idwal Cottage Hostel is located right beside the start of this route. 36 beds and a spacious self-catering kitchen make for an ideal stay for those who are conscious of their budget, the environment, or both!
Getting to the Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach Trailhead
To walk up Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach, take the A5 to Llyn Ogwen, where multiple parking spots along the road provide options. This route starts at the Ogwen Partnership Centre, at the western end of the lake. You can park here, or at the YHA Cottage adjacent if you’re staying there.
Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach Elevation Graph
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Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach Reviews
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