Cwm Pen-Llafar Horseshoe from Bethesda (Welsh Marilyn)

A classic mountain circuit of the northern Carneddau with some fine ridge walking taking in three of the Welsh Three-thousanders including Wales’ second highest peak, Carnedd Llewelyn (Welsh Marilyn)


21 April 2024

No dogs allowed

From the Bethesda FC carpark, a series of well-made footpaths lead up to join the minor road from Gerlan to the waterworks where the view opens up and the circuit starts properly.

We initially follow the south bank of the Afon Llafar on a path gently uphill before it begins to climb more steeply up the slopes up Mynydd Du. Continuing the ascent S and then SE, the first summit of Carnedd Dafydd (1031m) is eventually reached.

From here, we head east above the cliffs of the Black Ladders (Ysgolion Duon) for 1.5km before the ridge narrows to cross Bwlch Crfryw-drum and climbs to the highest peak of the day, Carnedd Llewelyn (1064m, Welsh Marilyn).

We now head NW down and over another fine ridge to the rocky summit of Yr Elen (962m). A steep, loose descent follows to the gentler slopes of Foel Ganol before a gradual and increasingly boggy, pathless descent leads back to farmland at Gwaun-y-Gwiail and we rejoin our outward route at the bridge over the Afon Llafar. From here we reverse the paths through the town back to the car park.

Parking is £6 per day (card only if I remember correctly) at the Bethesda FC off the main A5 in the town. *** DO NOT park in Gerlan or on the minor road to the Waterworks ***

Rough and rocky mountain paths steep in places, some steep loose descent, boggy and pathless rough ground in descent, wet, muddy farmland and a short section of tarmac and well-made paths through Bethesda.
OL17 Snowdon
Starting Point:
Car park for Bethesda FC off A5 (£6 all day – card only), Grid reference SH625663 Nearest postcode: LL57 3NT
Walk Starts:
Walk Finishes:
Highest Point:
1064m Carnedd Llewelyn


Let the walk leader know of any relevant medical conditions

Refer to the Handbook for walk related information and specifically for recommended walking equipment and safety information

Remember you are responsible for being properly equipped

Ensure you have the walk leader’s phone number in case of an emergency

If you become detached from the group STOP, call out; try contacting group by phone or text. If no contact return to the last place you were with the group. Wait 30 mins repeatedly trying to make contact. After 30 mins seek help and/or make your own way safely.

The Google map below is the location of the walk start point.