Snowdonia Slate Trail (83 MILES / 134KM)
Date/Time: 28/09/2021 - 02/10/2021, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Location: Porth Penrhyn, Bangor
Silent are the quarries now but the history screamed a thousand voices as I wandered through the old workings.
This epic 83-mile trail takes you on a journey back in time to when Snowdonia was the centre of the slate industry.
Breese Adventures are offering a 5 day challenge that will let you experience the unique slate heritage of North Wales and immerse yourself in the wonders of Snowdonia National Park.
Eryri (Snowdonia) boasts a diverse landscape of mountains, forests and rivers that we at Breese Adventures want to help you explore and our walk through Welsh slate history will take you back in time to some of the less-frequented but beautiful parts of Snowdonia.
From our starting point on the coast at Bangor to Llanberis, Beddgelert, Llan Ffestiniog, Betws-y-Coed and finally to our finish in Bethesda this 83 mile / 134 km trail will showcase some of the most special areas of the national park.
Learn about the people, villages, history, and culture and slate heritage as we tread carefully though some of the most remote areas of Snowdonia.
The 83 miles / 134km Snowdonia Slate Trail starts at Bangor and ends in Bethesda. The trail is the culmination of 4 years work by Aled Owen and the voluntary Cwm Community Action Group, from the remote village of Penmachno. They developed the trail to help showcase the rich and important heritage to a wider audience.
The trail can be completed from anything from 3-10 days depending on aspirations and fitness.
However we have carefully chosen to complete it over 5 days, just enough of a challenge to push you out of your comfort zone (like day 2 which is 20 miles!) but equally 5 days gives a more relaxed feel as we stay in the beautiful villages of Llanberis, Beddgelert, Llan Ffestiniog and Betws-y-Coed.
This allows us to refuel each evening with a hot shower, a hearty meal and warm comfortable beds!
Wind through almost 200 years of Welsh slate history across moors and valleys, following rivers and gorges, forests, and some of the much quieter areas of the Snowdonia National Park.
Most of the quarries have been silent for many years with only production at Penryhn, Llechwedd and Cwt y Bugail ongoing.
Paved cycle paths
83 Miles / 134 Km
£595 per person (see what’s included in tab below)
(Minimum 4 people / Maximum 6 people)
You can secure your place with a £50 deposit. A further payment of £150 will be required 16 weeks before and the final balance will be due 8 weeks before the date of the event.
Qualified, experienced mountain leader with you all the way (ratio 1:6 or less)
Breese Adventures Public Liability Insurance
4 Nights Accommodation (ranging from Bunkhouse to Hotel)
5 Packed Lunches / Snacks for days walk
4 Evening Meals (2 course)
Luggage Transfer each day to next accommodation
Snowdonia Slate Trail commemorative Bronze medal and guide book
Kit and Training advice
Friendly support on the end of the phone/email to answer any questions running up to your event
Information Pack 2-4 weeks before
Personal insurance (recommended)
Snowdonia Slate Trail 5 day Itinerary
DAY 1 – Tuesday 28th September
Bangor to Llanberis
The trail begins at Porth Penrhyn, Bangor and heads south on the North Wales cycle path. Today is the shortest day of all 5 days and is a nice introduction to the challenge as we ease our way towards the mountains of Snowdonia. From Bethesda (Penrhyn quarry) to Llanberis (Dinorwig quarry) is where we begin to realise the sheer scale of Welsh slate history as the old workings come into view.
Llanberis is the home to the National Slate Museum of Wales.
- Distance 13.2 miles / 21.3 km
- Time 8 hours
- Height Gain 668 m
DAY 2 – Wednesday 29th September
Llanberis to Beddgelert
Today will be as early a start as possible. We head out of Llanberis for what is likely to be our toughest of all the days as we will be covering 20 miles and close to 1000m of ascent. We leave the village via a small lane heading west and soon Snowdon will come into our view. A lot of our route today follows the historic Pilgrims Way, where centuries ago pilgrims would make the 135 mile journey to Bardsey Island.
We will pass though the Nantlle valley below the Nantlle ridge and the often overlooked Nantlle slate quarry workings some of which date back to Roman times. As we close in on our end of day 2 we will pass though Rhyd Ddu which houses a station for the West Highland Railway (the UK’S longest heritage narrow gauge railway that runs from Caernarfon to Porthmadog).
The final section is easy going through Beddgelert forest to our end of day 2.
- Distance 20.0 miles / 32.2 km
- Time 10 hours
- Height Gain 970 m
DAY 3 – Thursday 30th September
Beddgelert to Llan Ffestiniog
The start to today is via the spectacular pass of Aberglaslyn as we follow the Afon Glaslyn via a steep sided gorge until we reach Pont Aberglaslyn, a bridge which is believed to have been built in the early 17th Century and which folklore claims was constructed by the devil!
We then head south east via narrow lanes and then over the remote moors to the small village of Croesor which is located at the foot of Cnicht (know as the Welsh Matterhorn). From here we climb up via Cwm Croesor to the Croesor and Rhosydd old quarry workings. Towering above us will be the peaks of Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach. We continue into Tanygrisiau via the old Cwmorthin mine workings and quarries.
Finally we head through Blaenau Ffestiniog with the huge Ffestiniog and Llechwedd slate quarries in our sights before dropping south via Cwm Bowydd to the end of day 3 at Llan Ffestiniog.
- Distance 14.6 miles / 23.5 km
- Time 8 hours
- Height Gain 1260 m
Day 4 – Friday 1st October
Llan Ffestiniog to Betws-y-Coed
We begin today with a beautiful walk through the Cwm Cynfal gorge which is part of Ceunant Cynfal Nature reserve. Along the way we will pass by the dramatic waterfall of Rhaeadr Cynfal which is hidden away in the wooded valley of the Afon Cynfal.
Next we cross the very remote and large expanse of moorland knows as the Migneint, one of the largest areas of blanket bog in Wales that covers over 77sq miles (200sq km).
This leads us onto Manod quarries (effectively a quarry in the side of Manod Mawr) just east of Blaenau Ffestiniog before heading to Cwm Penmachno. Along the way we will pass a series of old quarry workings such as Blaen-y-cwm, Cwt-y-bugail and Rhiw-bach before arriving at Rhiw-Fachno which first opened in 1818.
From here we wind our way through Penmachno and Gwydir forests to arrive at the village of Betws-y-Coed, known as the gateway to Snowdonia, our final nights resting place!
- Distance 18.2 miles / 29.3 km
- Time 10 hours
- Height Gain 1280 m
Day 5 – Saturday 2nd October
Betws-y-Coed to Bethesda
The final day has arrived. 66 miles have been completed with only 17 miles left to go! This morning we wander through the lovely village of Betws-y-Coed, following the Afon Lugwy, past the spectacular Swallow Falls.
From here we walk the forest tracks of Gwydir forest before popping out onto the moors above Capel Curig with mind blowing panoramic views of the Snowdon horseshoe, Moel Siabod, Tryfan and the Glyders and the Carneddau mountains to the right.
Just after this we will stop at the famous Moel Siabod cafe, in our opinion the best cafe in North Wales that has cakes to die for!
After our refuel we then head down the Nant Ffrancon valley, possibly one of the best linear walks in North wales with spectacular mountains all around us and the shallowest ribbon lake in Britain, Llyn Ogwen. The whole valley was created just over 10,000 years ago during the last ice age and Llyn Ogwen is the remains of the glacier that formed the U-shaped valley that we see today.
The final section of our walk returns us to Bethesda via the Lon Las Ogwen cycleway with Penrhyn quarries once again looming above us.
Then That’s it! Congratulations, you have completed the Snowdonia Slate Trail where you will receive your commemorative bronze medal. 🙂
- Distance 17.0 miles / 27.3 km
- Time 9 hours
- Height Gain 951 m
This challenge is a test of physical and mental endurance and you must be comfortable walking long back to back days over varied terrain. Days will range from 8-10 hours with over 1000m of ascent on some days.
You must be aged 18+.
If you are not sure about fitness levels but are committed to put in some training over the next few months we have specially designed training plans to help you along the way. We recommend the ‘Challenging’ training plan for this event.
Sorry, no dogs allowed.
28th September – 2nd October 2021