Llyn Idwal (Lake)

A walk in Snowdonia national park through the valley of Cwm Idwal, Wales.

Cwm Idwal
Here our afternoon hike in Snowdonia startred
Cwm Idwal
My great friend Yvonne

We were pushing our luck going for a hike in Snowdonia on such an overcast day. Chances were that we would not make it around the lake before getting soaked but the rain clouds did make for a very dramatic scenery. I had my own “personal guide” in the form of my friend Yvonne for this wonderful hike.

Cwm Idwal
My first view of the Mountains of Snowdonia
Cwm Idwal
What a magnificent place to hike through
Cwm Idwal
The rocky walkways of Cwm Idwal

This walk offered some of the most dramatic mountainous scenery that I have ever seen on a hike. It took us through the beautiful ice-sculpted Cwm Idwal – a bowl-shaped hollow filled with the crystal clear waters of Llyn Idwal.

Llyn Idwal
Llyn Idwal (Lake)
Llyn Idwal (Lake)
Llyn Idwal (Lake)
Cwm Idwal
I can see why Cwm Idwal is one of the natural wonders of Britain

Cwm Idwal is a hanging valley in the Glyderau range of mountains in northern Snowdonia, the national park in the mountainous region of North Wales. In a 2005 poll conducted by Radio Times, Cwm Idwal was ranked the 7th greatest natural wonder in Britain.

Cwm Idwal
Such an amazing view
Cwm Idwal
Walking through the mountains of Snowdonia

Through Yvonne I learned that Cwm Idwal comprises volcanic and sedimentary rock which was laid down in a shallow Ordovician sea, and later folded to give rise to the distinctive trough-shaped arrangement of strata known today as the Idwal Syncline. This fold in the rock is visible today, thanks to the layering of the sedimentary rocks. The area was then eroded by glacial action to form the classic semicircular valley.

The spectacular hanging valley of Cwm Idwal
The spectacular hanging valley of Cwm Idwal
The spectacular hanging valley of Cwm Idwal
Looking out over the hanging valley of Cwm Idwal

The spectacular hanging valley of Cwm Idwal, surrounded by the high peaks of Y Garn and Glyder Fawr  is a classic example of a landscape which was dramatically sculptured by ice thousands of years ago.

Llyn Idwal (lake)
Llyn Idwal (lake)
Llyn Idwal (lake)
The rain clouds move in over Llyn Idwal (lake)

At Llyn Idwal (lake) we chose a clockwise route around this nature reserve. As we started this circular walk the rain clouds came rolling in thicker and faster with the arrival of some very strong gusts. I would like to say gale force winds but have to admit that it was just very strong gusts, although I was nearly blown over while posing for a photo.

Llyn Idwal (Lake)
I nearly got blown over by a strong gust of wind
Llyn Idwal (Lake)
Such a beautiful sight

As we started along the footpath we were greeted by a collection of large fractured rocks known as Darwin Idwal Boulders.             

Llyn Idwal (lake), is named after Idwal, the son of one of the ancient Princes of Wales, Owain, Prince of Gwyneddd, legend relates Idwal was murdered by being drowned in the lake by his uncle. Tradition further states that no bird flies over the lake, as a result of Idwal’s terrible fate. It was too windy that day for any birds to be flying about so I couldn’t test this myth.

Cwm Idwal
Feeling the first drops of the comming rain….
'The Devil's Kitchen'.
‘The Devil’s Kitchen’.
'The Devil's Kitchen'.
Behind me is ‘The Devil’s Kitchen’.

Look up to our left were the sheer cliffs which form the headwall of Cwm Idwal, known as ‘The Devil’s Kitchen’.

Walking along the pebbled lake shore around to the east the weather did start to turn a little and we felt the first warning drops. As we arrived at the slate bridge that crosses Afon Idwal as it drains out of the lake it started dripping and we started hurrying towards the car. Our luck for the day held and we made it to the car without getting soaked and before the heavens opened up releasing a cold hard torrent of rain. 

Llyn Idwal (lake),
The pebbled beach of Llyn Idwal (lake)
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44 comments

  1. Beautiful pictures, Janaline! I spent the first two days of my honeymoon in Wales but for obvious reasons didn’t get to see too much of the countryside. Upon reflection, I wish I’d spent more time hiking!

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  2. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the walk with you. 🙂
    Hubby has plans for Snowdon again in May, I think I’ll take the train up and join him for just the walk down this time. 😀

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  3. Thank you for the wonderful impressions and magnificent pictures. But this is definitely a place for a relaxing walk. Certain it is wonderfully quiet there.

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  4. Gorgeous. How I miss a good hike (which is a little challenge to come by here in Chiang Mai), wide and easy to walk, with lovely rocks and more rocks. Cheers 🙂

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