“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” – Greg Child

This idyllic mountain lake is hidden amidst the mixed fir and broadleaf woodlands of the Gwydyr Forest and lies high above Betws-y-Coed. Head for the crescent around St Mary’s Church and take the forestry track at the back following the black/white foot way markers which are sporadically placed along the route. The walk climbs steeply through the woods until you reach the lake. If you turn right at the water towards the Ancaster Memorial you are rewarded with wide ranging mountain views of Snowdonia.

I will never be the girl with the flat stomach, I will never have abs! My stretch marks may fade but will always be there! My scars will be a constant reminder not of the time I almost died but the time I survived! And it’s taken me 34 years to realise this might be the case but… I am the girl who orders the whole dessert menu, likes her tummy rubbed after eating the whole dessert menu! I am the girl who’s rounded tummy protected her vital organs, who’s tummy jiggles when she laughs! 
For the first time in my whole life I hiked in my sports bra unafraid of people’s judgement! I stopped and chatted to other walkers without the urge to breath in! I didn’t quickly cover up when I felt people looking! I didn’t feel the need to apologise or hide away! I happily hiked with a smile on my face because honestly I was bloody hot! Age and perspective are beautiful things! #bodypositivie

Start: There are a number of car parks available in Betws-y-Coed. Begin the walk at the old stone bridge carrying the B5106 over Afon Llugwy (opposite the ‘Pont-y-Pair Hotel’). Grid ref. 791 568 (Ordnance Survey Explorer OL17).

Cross the river and take the first road on the left immediately after the bridge. After about 50 yards there is a pay and display car park on your right; bear left opposite this onto the riverside footpath (‘Mynydd y Coed All Ability Trail’). The first section of the path is a raised wooden walkway followed by a surfaced path. This leads to picnic tables close to the river (in about 350 yards) after which the paths swings right.

Go ahead at this point off the surfaced path and past the picnic tables to locate a ladder stile hidden behind rocks immediately adjacent to the river. Go to the left of the rocks to reach the stile. Follow the path through fields close to the river on the left.

After the fields, enter woods again and continue ahead on the riverside path to a large wooden footbridge spanning the river known as the ‘Miner’s Bridge’.

Cross the bridge and climb the steps out of the rocky bed of the river. Take the path ahead which shortly brings you to the A5. Cross the road and take the access road opposite turning right almost immediately. A short rise brings you to a parking/turning area behind a row of stone cottages.

Turn left off the road here and follow the path beside the stream on your left. The path soon bears right just before a small waterfall and makes a rise to a T junction with a prominent forestry road.

This weaves through the woods to emerge in a small field (stile) with spoil heaps from disused mine workings on your right. Walk ahead through the field and cross a stile in the lower right-hand corner. Turn right, then immediately left passing the ruins of mine buildings on the right, to cross a stream which issues from an old adit.

At the top of the rise bear left by the fence and in about 75 yards, turn right at a footpath T junction. Follow the prominent path which soon bends sharp left by a deep quarry on the right to a gate and ladder stile over the wall. Follow the path up through a small field to an old barn.

Climb over the stile immediately before the barn, turn right and continue the climb along a farm track/path with views of the valley and the eastern Carneddau to the right.

At the top of the rise turn sharp left onto a path which skirts the conifer plantations to your right. (This is shortly before a stone farmhouse and a gravel access road.) A little further on, a stile on the right takes you into the trees. Follow the obvious footpath to a forestry road and cross over taking the footpath ahead to a T junction with a good footpath. Turn left here and follow the path to the memorial stone overlooking Llyn Elsi.

This elevated lake surrounded by woods, makes a fine foreground for panoramic views of Snowdonia’s highest summits, but not Snowdon itself which is hidden behind Moel Siabod, the most prominent peak in the view.

To the right the bulky Glyder ridge can be seen, with Tryfan’s serrated outline peeping over the shoulder of Gallt yr Ogof. Across the Ogwen valley, rise the rounded and often snow covered slopes of the Carneddau.The memorial stone was erected to commemorate the opening of a new water supply from Llyn Elsi, by Betws-y-Coed UDC on June 18 1914.

Stand with the memorial to your back and, facing the path which you have just used and take the next well-worn footpath in a clockwise direction (at about 2 o’clock and almost due north).

At a junction of forest tracks go ahead across the first track then bear right almost immediately along a good forest path. Follow this through the woods to cross over a second forest road about half way down the hillside. The path begins to steepen now and there are a few tantalising glimpses of what at one time must have been superb views down to Betws-y-Coed and up the valley to Llanrwst. Unfortunately the tree cover now obscures much of the view.

Almost at the A5 and within earshot of the traffic, turn left at a T junction with a forest track and after about 30 yards turn right onto a narrow footpath which soon brings you to the road. Turn right now and walk back through Betws-y-Coed to your starting point to complete the walk.


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