A leisurely walk above the northern hills of Y Bala
The Snowdonia National Park conjures images of craggy mountain scenes, but this walk will show you the gentler, greener aspect of Snowdonia.
The route will take you through Y Bala, which has the highest percentage of Welsh speakers in the National Park. A great wealth of history and culture is associated with the Bala area.
Why this path?
Craig y Fron is a reasonably easy walk, which involves a steady climb at the outset, then levelling out for a gradual descent across grazing land. It offers views of Y Bala town, an old quarry, and nearby mountain ranges.
The path’s proximity to Bala makes the town a perfect place for a post-hike refreshment in one of Bala’s many cafes and pubs. Or, on hotter summer days, a dip in Llyn Tegid itself might be the best way to cool off after the hike.
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Snowdonia National Park Authority has categorised this route as a leisurely route. It is suitable for people with a reasonable/moderate level of fitness. The terrain may include unsurfaced and undulating rural paths. Walking boots and waterproof clothing are recommended.
Llyn Tegid foreshore car park off the A494
Relevant OS Map
OS Explorer OL18 (Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala)
Y Bala is an old market town that received its charter in 1324. The town’s Tomen (Tump), a Norman motte-and-bailey site, points to an earlier settlement due to its position at the head of the River Dee.
In the 19th century, Y Bala became the focal point of the religious revival in North Wales. It was led by the Methodist, the Reverend Thomas Charles (1755-1814), founder of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
Thomas Charles founded the Bible society after being inspired by the story of Mari Jones. Mari was a young girl who, in 1800, walked 25 miles barefoot to Y Bala from her native Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to obtain a Welsh language Bible from Thomas Charles himself.
The strong religious tradition continued to influence the town. Coleg y Bala, the Presbyterian Theological College, was built in the 1860s using stone from nearby Craig y Fron quarry.
The town’s many statues are also a memorial to the political leaders raised here. Today, the Y Bala area continues to be a bastion of Welsh cultural tradition. It has one of the highest percentages of Welsh speakers within the National Park.