Landscape Photography in Snowdonia, Top 10 Locations
So you’ve bought your new Digital SLR Camera and now you want to get out there and take some great landscape pictures. Well there’s no better place to start than Snowdonia. Here’s a selection of my favorite locations along with a couple of suggestions from guests to our holiday cottages here in North Wales.
Cregennen Lakes : Latitude, Longitude: 52.710897, -3.987650
Two beautiful lakes between the Mawddach Estury and the slopes of Cader Idris. Chose a calm day, free of any wind to visit this spot so as to give you the opportunity of capturing the reflections of the surrounding mountains in the water. You can get up to the lakes via a very steep road from Arthog or take the longer but more gradual route from Dolgellau town centre. If your legs are up to it, when combined with the Mawddach Trail, this route makes a lovely circular cycle ride from Barmouth.
Cwm Orddin : Latitude, Longitude: 52.995060, -3.969454
If the weather isn’t so great, Cwm Orddin might be the place to go. Once home to a comunity of hardened slate miners, this abandoned valley is now slowly being reclaimed by nature. There’s a haunting beauty here and a cloak of cloud and mist can often add to to the atmosphere. A chance to play with the black and white images perhaps. From Tanygrisiau, which is just south of Blaenau Ffestiniog, drive up out of the village on Cwm Orthin Road. There’s a small parking area at the far end.
Goodnes Gracious Corner: Latitude, Longitude: 52.844201, -4.119315
Well that’s what we used to call it as children. It’s what we imagine people say as they sweep round this corner of the A496 travelling north towards Harlech. Pointing and staring as they race to their next destination. The wiser among us will naturally take the time to stop and admire the panorama a bit longer. The rolling dunes of Harlech beach sweeping up towards Harlech Castle and the mouth of the Glaslyn eastury. Snowdon and her sisters forming the backdrop. Turn as if you were heading towards Llandanwg beach before parking almost immediately on the wide grass verge on the left. Walk back onto the main road and head towards Harlech. After 200yds you’ll see a footpath on your left leading down to the beach.
Slidy Rock: Latitude, Longitude: 52.857461, -4.110447
Again, not an official name, but it’s what we called this spot when we congregated as children to slide down the smooth face of this rocky outcrop. After capturing Goodness Gracious Corner jump back in the car and head 1 mile north towards Harlech. Fork right towards the upper part of town. Eventually the road bends to the right and you’ll see a footpath to your left. This spot gives you the classic view of Harlech Castle which has appeared on hundreds of postcards, but it’s worth capturing your own take on it I think.
Afon Llugwy: Latitude, Longitude: 53.102733, -3.846459
The Llugwy River flows east from Capel Curig down towards Betws Y Coed along the same route as the A5. Popular locations include the impressive Swallow Falls and magical Fairy Glenn but the entire stretch of the river is beautiful. There’s also a wheelchair friendly walkway along the river bank from Betws Y Coed. A time to play around with a tripod and slow shutter speeds to get that silky movement of the water.
Ogwen Valley: Latitude, Longitude: 53.124010, -4.019536
If you travel a little further up the A5 you’ll enter the Ogwen Valley. Flanked by the Glyderau mountains on one side and the Carneddau mountains on the other, sightseers are surrounded by classic Snowdonia landscapes in every direction. The more adventurous might like to head up Tryfan, a mountain to the south of Llyn Ogwen to get a shot of Adam and Eve, two monoliths which dominate the summit.
Castell Y Gwynt: Latitude, Longitude: 53.105001, -4.008572
Other interesting rock formations include Castell Y Gwynt (Castle of Wind) and the Canteliver Stone. Both of which are near the summit of Glyder Fach. Again the weather can play it’s part when visiting these remote locations. But the thrill of the hike is worth the effort in it’s own right.
Rhinogydd: Latitude, Longitude: 52.849748, -4.002370
Further south, the Rhinog Mountains dominate the skyline. These mountains are amongst the most remote in the whole of the UK. Their stark ruggedness ensures this area remains a true wilderness perfect for night photography.
Mach Loop: Latitude, Longitude: 52.735823, -3.774275
If you’ve got a nice long lens you might like to head down the A470 towards Dinas Mawddwy and try and catch fighter planes as they practice they’re low flying skills on what is known locally as the Mach Loop. If you sit up on the ‘Bwlch’ you can often take pictures looking down at the planes as they streak past in the valley below. But timing is everything, the planes don’t fly that often.
Dysynni Valley: Latitude, Longitude: 52.658046, -3.971364
The Dysynni valley is a landscape of gentler hills and rolling fields. This glacial valley basin is a fertile agricultural region flanked by interesting rocky outcrops including ‘Craig yr Aderyn’ (Bird Rock) home to inland nesting cormorants. Foreground interest can be added by visiting the remains of Castelll Y Bere or the popular Tal Y Llyn steam railway.
by +Gwion Llwyd