#315 – The Precipice Walk near Dollgellau

Precipice –

  1. A cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
  2. A situation of great peril.
The Precipice Walk – yep, looks like a precipice!

For the best viewing experience, left-click the images and maps to zoom in to a new window, then exit that window to go back – go on, it really does work!

North Wales – the Precipice Walk is at the small flag, near the bottom of the map
Map showing the surrounding terrain – route in the middle

The Precipice Walk had been on the ‘to do’ list for a couple of years.  It sounded like an interesting little route, but the ‘little’ part of it was the problem – a drive of nearly two hours for a walk of 5½ kms.  We do more than that at home on the daily dog walk!  However, we hadn’t been out for a hill day for several weeks and the short hours of daylight in January wouldn’t allow time for a long hike, so perhaps it was time to visit the Precipice Walk.

The Precipice Walk – anti-clockwise from the start point

There was a time when mentioning a walk with a precipice would have been an instant no-no from Chris – our day on Crib Goch back in 2002 had done nothing to encourage her to try another precipice, but this precipice walk sounded more benign.  A bit of research even found a 5-Star review on TripAdvisor, with not a single ‘Terrible’ comment; in fact, the punters seemed to love it!  It had to be worth a two-hour drive.

Setting out on a sunny morning
Llyn Cynwch with Cadair Idris beyond in the distance
Things start to get steeper

We arrived on a cold, crisp January morning, with frost still lying on the grass in places, a result of the clear skies overnight.  I’m usually moaning in this blog about dull, flat light for photography, but not today – in fact, the day was sunny and bright, but the low January sun was to cause different problems for photos on the way round, with the sun often shining right into the lens.  Ho hum, another challenge then. 

The view across to Rhobell Fawr
Heading out towards The Precipice ….
…. accompanied by ‘shadow people’

The route passed near to the small lake of Llyn Cynwch on the way out, but that would have to wait until our return.   Although the route isn’t especially high, it gave some great views out onto surrounding hills including Cadair Idris (see posts #150 and #300) and Rhobell Fawr (see post #205) and the low sun gave us a bit of company in the shape of two humans and a dog – our own shadows!

About to turn the corner ….
…. to look down to the Afon Mawddach, over 200 metres below
Afon Mawddach and the A470 road (the small white dot in the centre is a motorhome!)
Into the shade, with the big drop still below
Out into the sun again – big drop still there
Chris on the precipice section with the valley over 200 metres below

We soon turned the northern corner of the route to head south along the ‘precipice’ bit, with the Afon Mawddach and the A470 road 200 metres below us in the valley.  We also had the sun directly in our eyes, apart from the short sections where bends in the path put us back in the shade.  Sun or shade, the drop to the valley was ever present, adding a bit more interest and drama.

Off the steep ground, looking out to the Mawddach Estuary
Foel Faner ahead
The small summit cairn of Foel Faner with the moon rising
The view to the Mawddach Estuary from the summit of Foel Faner ….
….and the view in the other direction, with Rhobell Fawr (far left) and the Aran Mountains (far right)

The precipice didn’t last for long though and soon we were off the steep ground, looking out to the Mawddach estuary.  We briefly abandoned the return section of the Precipice Walk to include the short climb up to the small summit of Foel Faner, an ancient hill fort.  The 360° view was enhanced by the bright sun, but the moon rising to the east reminded us that the day would soon be slipping away.

Heading back by the shore of Llyn Cynwch
Reflections across the lake

Llyn Cynwch was included on the way back, with hardly a ripple on the water, but the lengthening shadows told us that it was time to head back to the car, and our two-hour return drive.  It was time to head for home.

Mid-afternoon and time to head for home

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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2 Responses to #315 – The Precipice Walk near Dollgellau

  1. Always wanted to do that so I suppose I’d best get on with it soon if it’s popular before it falls down! Quite a few of my favourite rakes around here are falling down to the point where I don’t think they’ll be there another year. I’ve done the other walk at Barmouth – something like ‘the Panorama Walk’?

    Liked by 2 people

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