Snowdonia, the old Welsh Eryri, or “place of the Eagles,” is the vast area of mountain and river, pass and lake, roughly enclosed in the quadrant of Bethesda-Capel Curig – Beddgelert – Llanberis. It is bounded on the north by Nant Ffrancon, and on the west by the Caernarvon – Beddgelert road, on the east by Nant Gwynant. It includes the lakes of Peris, Ogwen, Mymbwr, Gwynant,Ddinas and Llydaw, as well as many smaller tarns, fed by the rivers Llugwy, Glaslyn and Colwyn, and the peaks of Y Wyddfa (3560), Carnedd Ugain (3492), Crib Goch (3023), Lliwedd (2947) and Yr aran (2541), all these being included in the general name of Snowdon. On the north of Nant Ffrancon are Carnedd Llewellyn (3484) and Carnedd Dafydd (3426), while on the south of the same pass, and bordering Llyn Ogwen are Tryfan (3010), Glyder Fawr (3279) and Glyder Fach (3263), Y Garn (3104) and Elidyr (3029). Finally, to the SE. of Beddgelert are Cynicht (2263) and Moelwyn (2527). Snowdonia was the ancient stronghold of the Welsh, a sort of inner retreat into which they retired when attacked, and from whose fastnesses they salled out to wreak vengeance upon the English armies. In much the same way as Hitler planned a last stand in the Austrian mountains, the Welsh Princes time and again held out in the peaks of Eryri. The stronghold was strongly guarded. If you look at a map you will see that all the approaches to Eryri are barred by great castles block:ng the passes; by Deganwy Castle across the river from Conway; by Dolbadarn on the neck between Llyn Padarn and Peris; and by Dolwyddelan on the road from Bettws. It was no easy feat in those days to force a passage into Snowdonia. But now times are changed, and “foreign” visitors are welcomed into the former stronghold. There they will find excellent roads for motorists, good hotels and inns in all the villages, and a wealth of splendour and rugged majesty of mountain and pass, enticing the walker and climber, angler and sportsman, hiker and tourist. Everyone, probably, has their own Snowdonia. To the sportsman it may mean a crisp winter evening on one of the lakes, after duck, or a summer afternoon stalking trout. To the climber it means the feel of firm rock on one of the buttresses of Tryfan, the final pull to the great, boulderwashed summit, and the leap from “Adam” to “Eve,” the giant rocks crowning the hill, in celebration of victory. Perhaps it is the thrill of the towering cliff of Lliwedd above the “Slanting Gully,” the finest height of sheer rock-face in these islands, or, for the very few, the last, toughest, nerve-straining pitch of Twll Ddu, the “Devil's Kitchen,” above the waterfall. Or maybe it is a sudden break through the dull heavy mist of the valleys into brilliant clear sunshine, with half the peaks of Wales floating above the flat cloudtops; or the memory of an evening round the fire in Ogwen or Pen-y-Pass. For walker, cyclist, or motorist, Snowdonia offers each its unique enchantment, something found nowhere else. It is a land of bare, barren moorland and rocky peaks. In the valleys of the Glaslyn, and round Beddgelert, there are pleasant copses, and the two national park areas of Beddgelert and Gwydir forest are fresh with young pine and spruce, but the land for the most part is treeless. Its beauty consists in its clean cut outline, its dark, crag-ringed lakes, its vast sweeping distances of hills. It makes ideal walking or motoring country. Let us start in the north. The centre farthest to the north and yet convenient for both hiker and holidaymaker is BETHESDA, on the Bangor - Capel Curig road. The town lies at the north end of the Nant Ffrancon, a bare, winding pass of great beauty. Bethesda itself is a rather unattractive little town, dominated by the grim slate quarries on the hillside opposite, but it makes u convenient centre for the two Carnedds, Llewellyn and Dafydd, the next highest hills to Snowdon. Carnedd Dafydd, (3426) can easily be ascended by way of the NNW. ridge, which the climber can attain by way of Cwm Llafar; the ridge runs straight and without difficulty to the summit. An alternative route is by the Braich Ddu ridge. This comes out on the saddle betweenPen-y-Oleu-Wen and the summit. The easiest approach to the ridge is by the track at Ty Gwyn. Carnedd Llewellyn (3484) can also be ascended from Bethesda. The route is first by Cwm Caseg and then by Foel Grach. Bethesda is a good motoring centre, convenient for a trip through Nant Ffrancon and by Llyn Ogwen to Capel Curig, or, if petrol allows, one can continue down the Llanberis road and back by Bangor, something under 70 miles of the finest scenery in Britain. A more convenient centre for the climber and walker is at OGWEN, where there is a Youth Hostel at the Nant Ffrancon end of the famous lake. Here there is God's Plenty of hills and peak. One of the first things to do on arriving at the hostel is to climb up the stream past the shoulder of Tryfan into the magnificent Cwm Idwal, the finest of all Welsh Cwms. You are in a vast amphitheatre of cliff and ridge. Tryfan cuts out the view on the left hand. Beyond it, to the right of the Nameless Cwm, the sloping smoothness of the Idwal Slabs, a kindergarten for climbers - yet not for the completely uninitiated - mounts up to the base of the difficult Cherry Tree Wall. Farther round, the Gribin Ridge thrusts out, with the Glyders behind, while beyond the lake the chasm of the Devil's Kitchen, Twll Ddu, snakes deeply up the rock face. Y Garn ends the great circle of hills. TRYFAN (3010), however one approaches it, is a noble peak, and has a wider range of climbs, from easy to severe, than most hills. Just about 10 minutes down the lakeside from the Hostel there is Milestone Buttress, a leaping face of splintered rock with a whole handful of different climbs, again only for initiate. But there are several easy ways up the mountain. The easiest isby the South Ridge, or by a combination of Heather Terrace and South Ridge. The Heather Terrace is best reached from the Capel Curig side of the hill. Just beyond the farm of Gwern there is a sharp hillock called Little Tryfan - it makes a good scrambling ground for beginnners - and beyond this the heather terrace is visible as a track high up the hillside, running its entire length just below the great rock buttresses. It can be reached by a path rising from beyond Little Tryfan. By following the Terrace round to the left one eventually comes out on top of the South ridge, and the way to the summit is open. Another interesting climb from Ogwen is of Glyder Fawr by way of the Nameless Cwm. Climb up to Llyn Idwal, and keep round the left of the lake till you come to the stream, on the near side of the Idwal Slabs. A stiffish climb up the stream brings you over the lip into the Nameless Cwm, and from here the ridge can be reached by a scramble to the right, and on to Glyder Fawr itself. One can descend by the same route, but make sure of your descent before you start climbing. Continuing along the lakeside, and the road beyond, one at length reaches Capel Curig. This is quite a convenient centre for ascents of Snowdon, which I shall treat under the heading of Pen-y-Pass. Capel Curig is a good spot for a climb on Moel Siabod (2860), to the south-east of the village. Walk down the Capel Curig-Bettws-y-Coed road as far as Pont Gyfyng. Here a track, once used in mining, climbs up 1000 feet to a spine of rock that eventually joins the mile-long summit ridge. The going is rough but safe. Moel Siabod can also be ascended from Dolwyddelan, by way of Llyn-y-Foel. About 5 miles past Capel Curig, on the road past Llynau Mymbwr, is Pen-y-Gwryd, with its famous Inn, with its tradition of hospitality to climbers going back over a century. Ahead, Snowdon looms up magnificently. SNOWDON is the name given to a range of hills culminating in the central peak of Y Wyddfa (3560). The name means 'the Tomb.' Half a mile to the north, the peak of Carnedd Ugain is less then 200 feet lower. From the two peaks ridges radiate out to all of the compass point. To the south-east of Y Wyddfa sweeps the great arc of Lliwedd (2947). To the south a ridge ends in Yr Aran (2541). East from Ugain lies the knife edge, and the pinnacles of Crib Goch - the Red Crest - (3023). To the north-west a ridge sweeps down to Llanberis, while farther to the west the terrifying face of Clogwynn d'yr Arddu ends in Foel Goch. The most imposing view of Snowdon, however, is from the Nant Gwynant side, looking into the famous “horseshoe” made by the encircling arms of Lliwedd and Crib Goch. A short distance up from Pen-y-Gwryd, on the Llanberis road, is Pen-y-Pass, an inn by the roadside, and a convenient start point for three ascents of the mountain. The Capel Curig route starts here, and goes south towards little Llyn Teryn. From here the track cuts across the rough ground to strike Llyn Llydaw at the narrow part of its neck. Here there is a causeway running across the lake. The track then follows the shore of Llydaw as far as the stream of the Glaslyn, then follows the Glaslyn past the old copper works to the little lake - here Snowdon towers up superbly - which it circles for a short time till it eventually veers off to the right up the slope of Crib-y-Ddisgl, joins the Pig Path, and zigzags to the col under the summit of Y Wyddfa. An alternative route is by the Pig Path - why so called nobody seems to know - which also starts from Pen-y-Pass. It keeps over to the right, and climbs up the ridge that juts off from Crib Goch, crossing it by the Pig Pass, Bwlch Moch, 500 feet above Llyn Llydaw. From here it follows the curve of Crib-y-Ddisgl, and into the zigzags up the face. The views of Y Wyddfa from the Pig Path are superb. From Yen-y-Pass there starts the most famous of all Welsh hill-walks, the Snowdon Horseshoe, called “the finest ridge walk in Europe.” The route is by the Pig Path to Bwlch Moch, then up some stiffish screes to the Crib Goch ridge. From here one can walk either along the narrow top or, for safety, just below on the south side. The Crazy Pinnacle should be avoided by all non-climbers. Thence the route winds up the ridge of Crib-yDdisgl and Carnedd Ugain, and round to the summit of Y Wyddfa itself, with the hotel on top. From the summit, follow the South Ridge for about 200 yards and then bear left into the col, and so along the path just below the summit ridge of Lliwedd, which has three peaks. When the last of these is about half a mile behind, cut down to Llyn Llydaw, and so home - after about 6 hours walking - to Pen-y-Pass. This is ma a route for the inexperienced, should not be done alone, and, if there is any doubt at all about the strength of any of the party, it is safer to rope up along the Crib Goch ridge. The next centre for Snowdon is Llanberis. From here, though the view is spoiled by the slate quarries in the foreground, there is a spectacle of much grandeur. The route up Snowdon follows fairly closely beside the railway, running 5 miles up to the summit. From Llanberis, too, there are many other good walks, either up the Pass, or over to Ogwen by the Twll Ddu route - which does not involve descending Twll Ddu itself. BEDDGELERT is perhaps the pleasantest spot in Snowdonia for a holiday. It lies at the junction of the rivers Glaslyn and Colwyn, and not far from the famous Pass of Aberglaslyn. It is convenient for an ascent of Snowdon, either by the Ranger Path or the Pitt's Head route, both of which will be fully described in any climbing guide. But perhaps the most interesting Snowdon ascent from Beddgelert is by the Watkin Path. Take the road up Nant Gwynant, and turn up the track to the left just before the bridge, less than a mile beyond Llyn Ddinas. When the road reaches the chalet, bear left to the Afon Arlain, and follow the bank as far as Cwm-yLlan house. Cross the stream here, and the track follows round the north of Cwm-y-Llan, till it finally bears right under the north side of Lliwedd and ascends the scree to the col between Lliwedd and Y Wyddfa. Beddgelert is also a good centre from which to attack Cynicht and Moelwyn, the two big hills to the south-east. A pretty route up Cynicht (2265), is made by following the Glaslyn to Llyn Ddinas, keeping to the south of the river. About midway along the lake the path veers off to the right, and eventually crosses the lane up Nant Mor. From here there is a fair path to Llyn Llagi. The immediate route ahead looks difficult, but when you reach the lake take the dip to the left, and in a quarter mile swing round again to the right to Llyn-y-Adar. Do not follow the stream between the two lakes. From beyond Llyn-y-Adar one can get on to the ridge of Cynicht, abandoning the track that leads down to the Croesor quarries. From the summit there is a lovely view over all the low ground around Tremadoc. Just to the south-east of Cynicht is Moelwyn (2527). Possibly the best ascent is from Tan-y-Bwlch, but it can be climbed from Beddgelert after a good stretch of walking. Take the Aberglaslyn road from Beddgelert, and just beyond Pont Aberglaslyn take the track to the left - the old road from Beddgelert to Tan-y-Bwlch. It peters out in places, but keep going, and soon it crosses the line from the Croesor Quarries. About half a mile beyond this - Point 851 on the Ordnance Survey - a track goes off on the left, and climbs into Bwlch Trwstyllon Climb up the stiffish ridge that comes down on the left, and the summit comes into view.