Dinorwic Quarry

A key lesson learnt during this mini trip to Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa): Taking all of your camera gear up the side of a mountain is a dumb idea.

Apart from this key lesson learnt, this was a nice little jaunt up to the hilly north of Wales. It was also the first trip I took with the D800, which arrived the morning we left.

Day 1 involved exploring Dinorwic Quarry. Dinorwic is a former slate quarry that closed in July 1969 due to a decline of the industry. Slate is difficult to quarry with only about 1% of quarried material taken to market. From my understanding the reason for this is that dynamite is used and slate is a brittle rock. The waste material also caused issues with falls in the quarry. An enormous fall occurred in the Garret area of the quarry which was the final nail in the coffin for commercial operations. Dinorwic is the second largest slate quarry in Wales and in the world. The area is a fascinating explore, from the abandoned workhouses to the tunnelled cutaways. The views west across to Llanberis and Mount Snowdon are also stunning. And from this side of the valley the view of Crib Goch was clear, and made it very small. Which, well, it wasn’t.

Yr Wyddfa & Cribb Goch

Day 2 involved a climb up and across Crib Goch before proceeding to Crib y Ddysgl, before progressing around to Yr Wyddfa peak. Crib Goch is a knife-edged arête with the highest point on the arête at 923 metres (3,028 ft) above sea level. During winter the route is considered a mountaineering route and during summer it is classed as a scramble. Fortunately the weather was good when we attempted it. The route starts off at the Caffi Gorphwysfa Cafe and then heads up the pyg track before taking a savage right turn up what I called at the time Mount Doom. Now, it isnt a hard ascent, but when you bring all of your equipment instead of what you actually need then it turns into a savage workout. I almost turned back until the others offered to take some weight off my shoulder, for which I was extremely grateful. Lessons were learned.

Stopping at the top of the first ascent and having lunch is one of the most epic places to eat food. From this vantage you can see the entirety of the surrounding area. We were also very fortunate to be there on a quiet day. I’ve seen photos of the route packed out and it looks like a horrific experience. After you pass over Crib Goch its then onto the Crib Y Dydsgl. The climb up this peak is significantly less difficult. We stopped for some photos at the top before heading onto the Yr Wyddfa peak. Now, before I started I was conflicted about the café at the top of the mountain. When I got there I was grateful for a cup of coffee, even if I had to scramble for cash because of the card fees. The walk down was a little difficult. Im not used to having my toes jammed into the front of my shoes and halfway down I was ready for bed. Before making our way back into Llanberis we stopped off at Pen Ceunant Isaf Tea House.

As with all activities of this nature please exercise caution and common sense. If the weather deteriorates on the ascent, do not continue. Even the easiest of routes up a mountain or through an abandoned quarry can be dangerous. If you do want to attempt Crib Goch go with a small group and take your time. UK Scrambles have a guide covering Crib Goch should you require extra information.
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