No Room at the Car Park…


No matter how much you plan a day out, even after getting up at 5.30am and driving for two hours, sometimes things just don’t go to plan. That was what happened to David and I recently, as we ventured to Pen-y-Pass car park, Snowdonia.

The plan was to walk the Miner’s Track to Snowdon and take in three swims, Glaslyn, Llydaw and Teyrn. However on arrival at 8am, staff were putting out orange bollards with signs saying full! Other car parks along the A4086 were also full. We were not the only disappointed visitors that day. There were many cars trying to park on verges as we drove to a new destination.

I had to think fast. Perhaps I should have suggested Idwal and Ogwen, (still llyns I’ve not swam in), but I thought the Idwal car park would be just as busy as Pen-y-Pass. So I decided we should drive on towards Llyn Dinas and see if there was any available car park spaces. There was! We paid £2.50 for the privilege of four hours. In hindsight we could have had free car parking further up the road, but we were going by my memory and that’s not the best at any time.

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Llyn Dinas

From the car park there were free toilets, only one for women, (be prepared to queue), the men fared better. We then walked south west along the A498 towards Llyn Dinas. Llyn Dinas boasts an all accessible pathway but that was further up the road and I had no map. There were many accessible routes from the road to the llyn but none with a good lake-shore until I found a site with a wide shingle beach. Not totally secluded but closest to, we decided to make this our camp.

Llyn Dinas is named after the nearby hill fort Dinas Emrys, which has mythical connections to the Arthurian figure Merlin. Merlin is reputed to have been recruited by king Vortigern who having fled the Anglo-Saxons was constructing a fort. Vortigern asked Merlin ‘why after building the fort would the construction come crashing down the next day’.

Merlin said that there were ‘two dragons or vermes who lived in a pool’ where the fort was being erected. It was they who destroyed the building. Once the dragons were freed the fort was constructed. In 1954 and 1956 the area was excavated by Archaeologist, Dr H. N. Savory who indeed discovered a pool inside the fort. Whether the myth has some foundation is debatable. Vortigern himself was supposed to have hidden the Throne of Britain beneath a stone at Llyn Dinas. Though this story seems to tally with a stone that was set to mark the boundary between three land cantrefi or borders.

On my swim I did not meet any dragons nor many people. The llyn was peaceful at 9am. The sun was warm and the water notched 20-22°C. It was the warmest wild swim I had ever experienced. I stayed in the water over half and hour and in hindsight I could have stayed in longer. I emerged from the water before the canoeists arrived. It was a most pleasurable swim.

I don’t seem to be as successful with my Welsh swims as I have been with my Lake District swims. There are so many llyns I have not attempted yet. Perhaps when the weather gets cooler I can reattempt the Miner’s Track?

Have you traversed the Miner’s Track to Snowdon? What were your impressions of the area?

Thanks for reading,

Christine x

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12 thoughts on “No Room at the Car Park…

  1. Glad you found a less crowded place to swim. Looks lovely. Must have been nice to enjoy such temperate waters. Is Davis never tempted to go for a paddle? I think I remember you saying he doesn’t swim. The video is great. X

  2. That’s the problem with honey pots like Snowdon. Lots more visitors than car parking spaces. An earlier start next time!
    (Been swimming in Lynn Dinas myself – not intentionally though – but when kayak capsized!)

  3. It looks like a lovely spot 🙂

    I’ve found out this evening the next photo an hour day is 18th August (that’s the one Saturday this month I have absolutely nothing planned!) – just in case you want to join in.

  4. Oh, I know these Welsh folk tales, my Dad grew up in a guest house on the beach at Dinas Dinlle, he moved there when he was seven and used to swim all the time in the sea, even Christmas Day one year. I thought he grew up in Llandudno because that’s where I remember going the most when I was little. The good weather sends lots more tourists to North Wales but I’m glad you found a peaceful spot.

  5. The Pen-y-pass car park does get packed. Staying at the YHA there can be a good option. I took my children up Snowdon in early June and indulged myself on the way down with a swim in Glaslyn. It was really cold but the scenery as you swim out in this great rock bowl with Snowdon towering above you is stupendous. I hope you manage to get to Glaslyn next time.

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