top of page

The Red Dot path...

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

A classic journey in Snowdonia is a traverse of the Glyderau, often completed from the Ogwen Valley and incorporating Tryfan, indeed the Bochlwyd Horseshoe is a bit of a gem to be honest.

I seem to remember breaking my cherry on this range via the Devil’s Kitchen, I was on my own and ventured up into Cwm Idwal wondering how the hell you walked up the cliff at the back. The map showed a black dash path, so confidence grew and as I wandered through the big boulder field below Twll Du I actually missed the bit where you head up to the big imposing slot in the cliff above, map out, some head scratching and a bit of an adventure I eventually reached the base of Twll Du and made my way to Llyn y Cwn. I hated the scree slopes protecting Glyder Fawr, it seemed like trying to walk on a bed of marbles on a concrete base …and I still hate them, although these days I avoid them with a sneaky little bypass.

I honestly can’t recall what my first impressions were of the landscape on reaching the first summit, it had to be good though and as all these early ventures moulded my decision to move here many years ago. I heard stories of folk wandering around in circles in poor visibility and it was easy to see why - I can probably add myself that to list now!

It’s a very alien world compared to anything else in the Park, something that’s been shaped over millions of years and quite breathtaking, add a little cloud swirling around and it offers an atmosphere that is both unnerving and stunning at the same time. Some of the best cloud inversions I’ve seen are from up there.

I do recollect going over Castell y Gwynt as I thought that was what you did and arriving at Glyder Fach I couldn’t at first find the famous postcard Cantilever - it took a while- I’ve always wondered how many people have walked right past it without realising they’ve done so and some have probably never found it!

Cantilever, Glyderau

It must have have been beer o’clock or something as I decided on descending the back dash path down the side of Bristly Ridge, without swearing it’s hard to describe how s%@t it was and still is!

Then the next day with bold confidence I was straight back up Twll Du and and heading north along the ridge to the quieter sections of the Gylderau which are just as enjoyable, but in a very different way.

The Miners Track that goes across the flank of Glyder Fach into Cwm Tryfan always caught my eye, especially as an alternative way up onto the Glyderau and then someone mentioned a separate way off to create another circular walk - the Red Dot Path.

Parking near the Pen y Gwryd Hotel you can choose to do this route in either direction. Heading up the Miners Track having immediately crossed the Nant Gwryd is, I think a nice gentle introduction onto the tops, it’s a steady gradient, never particularly steep and then you hit the plateau at the top which is more like a moorland peaty summit. The best option here is to cross over the plateau to look down into Cwm Tryfan and the better path heading up onto Glyder Fach. The views across Tryfan, Bristly Ridge, down into Ogwen and over to the Carneddau are worth it, probably the best summer sunsets are from here as it creeps behind Tryfan. As you ascend, the landscape starts changing dramatically, you even pass your first vertical spires of rock, until near the top you pass over a large boulder field to access the summit area, there are easy and less easy ways through this!

From this direction it’s dead easy to walk past the Cantilever and miss it, however after the obligatory photo, pass Glyder Fach on the Northern side it’s much easier. To scramble over Castell y Gwynt or around is probably dependent on weather and time, but well worth it.

There’s now a decent path or 2 heading towards the next summit and once again it’s well worth taking the time to gaze all around, peer down into Cwm Cneifion and across to Snowdon.


The terrain changes once more and it can be tricky underfoot before you reach Glyder Fawr for far ranging views across Anglesey and an amazing 360’.

From here you head south west down a broad stubby spur leaning into the Llanberis Pass and then south towards the 2 small ponds and 646 spot height, you will undoubtably pick up the well worn path in places. As you descend further towards Pen y Pass you may see small painted red dots on the rock every so often, easier to pick out if you’re ascending. I remember joking with someone once that they were a rare lichen and managed to continue the story for some time behind a stifled snigger!

They’re fairly faded with time, but are still visible. Apparently put there by someone who’s job was to ascend the Glyderau regularly to ensure they didn’t get lost if the weather was poor….if you want to know more, you’ll have to come out with me!

More painted dots appeared only a number of years ago, allegedly put in place by a race event and if the rumours are true who did it, then (vandalism aside) it’s actually quite ironic and funny!

On getting down these days you can choose between a celebratory drink in Mallory’s Bar in Pen y Pass YHA or a nostalgic pint in the Pen y Gwryd, what a better way to end a great mountain journey….

Lastly if you’re heading down to your vehicle near the PYG from Pen y Pass, then it’s well worth using the permitted right of way from the PYP car park and avoiding cars & buses often driven at warp speed!

Ordnance Survey map

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page