Betws-y-coed and the Watkin Path

Every year I get a chance to shoot in Snowdonia, arguably one of the most beautiful places in the British Isles.  It is however always in winter, when visiting relatives in the area - so it's cold!!  Last year we went to the Llyn Idwal/Tryfan area on New Year's Eve at sunrise - you can see the result of this little trip in an earlier post.


Fairy glen is an often-photographed location just outside of Betws-y-coed.  It is a little hard to find, but there is a small car park just after a turning for the local hotel.  It is on the edge of a farmer's land, and he does have an honesty box at the start of the gated walk.  There is a pleasant walk around the fields and river, but the climb down to the gorge itself is pretty steep, and at this time of the year there are many slippy patches of leaves and moss to negotiate.

Watkin Path

We only had the one day for photography during this trip, and climbing Snowdon would not have been realistic.  However, there are many routes up Snowdon which have plenty of opportunity for making images.  The Watkin path is considered one of the harder ones, as it starts from the lowest altitude.  It winds up the hillsides surrounding Snowdon, passing and traversing different streams and waterfalls.

The conditions were overcast, which actually were perfect for this type of photography, as there was nice even, soft light across the whole scene.  Clouds were rolling in over the mountains in the distance, which can just be seen in some of the images.  For the shot above I used a polariser to cut the glare from the clear water in the stream, and reveal some colour and detail from the rocks sunken in it.

After this point the path started to veer more severely upwards!  A further hike of 20-30 minutes led to a levelled off area where some kind of weir or hydroelectric installation cut across the stream.  Again, I used a polariser to cut through the water and reduce glare.  This revealed some vivid coloured moss and rocks below the surface which I feel added some nice foreground interest to the scene.

Clywedog valley

This trip I was mainly focusing on water - I was testing a polariser (Hoya), and I had just invested in a pair of wellington boots!  Sometimes long exposure shots of water are cliche, but I enjoy showing the motion of the water, and the power it has.  We just had time for one more visit, to the Plas Power area in the Clywedog valley.  This is near Wrexham, easily accessible, with good parking.


I hope you enjoyed my images from our winter trip to Snowdon.  If you would like any further details about the locations, or the images themselves, please get in touch.