The Southern Horseshoe

Far less well known than the Snowdon Horseshoe is the Southern Horseshoe, also called the Alternative or South Snowdon Horseshoe. The loop largely encircles Cwm Tregalan and Cwm Llan, to the south-east of the summit, an area passed through by the Watkin Path. Y Lliwedd features in both the Snowdon Horseshoe and this Southern Horseshoe.

Snowdon summit and Y Lliwedd with Cwm Tregalan, part of the Southern Horseshoe

This route starts on the lower Watkin Path and is usually undertaken anti-clockwise. After a mile of the Watkin Path the route crosses the slab waterfall bridge at the waterfalls to ascend the western side of Cwm Merch, past the old Lliwedd copper mine, which is reached after a further 1¼ miles. The good path ends at this point, but there is a vague track up to the head of the valley, and another one up to Gallt y Wenallt, if you wish to include that summit. From here the route then heads across Lliwedd Bach and Y Lliwedd down to Bwlch Ciliau before ascending the last part of the Watkin Path towards Snowdon summit.

Here you join the Rhyd Ddu Path, and you can either turn right for the short distance to the summit, or head left over Bwlch Main.

The route then goes down Allt Maenderyn (the South Ridge) to Bwlch Cwm Llan quarry. From here you can either continue up to Yr Aran, or descend to the old tramway, to rejoin the Watkin Path a little above the waterfalls, a mile from the road.

This route is long and challenging. The total distance (excluding Yr Aran) is some 8 miles, and there is over 4,000 ft of ascent.

Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2024

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