Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wild Swimming in Snowdonia- The Watkin path waterfalls



I think the best wild swims are those that you have to earn. You know, those that require some uphill walking, or a fight with brambles/fern. The harder the struggle, the sweeter the reward. And if you can find dipping or swimming spots which are of superb standard with water so clear that you can drink it, you know that you are in for the winner. And there is a spot just like that nowhere else than en route to the top of the mighty Snowdon. By taking a less trodden path to the top through the Watkin Path, you will be rewarded by a series of crystal clear plunge pools and waterfalls. On the way there to wake you up and on the way back to give your body a much needed ice bath! 
One of the amazing dipping spots at Watkin path waterfalls

I always have this exciting feeling in my belly when I am ''on the hunt'' for a wild swimming spot. Sometimes I discover it randomly and sometimes I have heard about a place and I go to find out what the fuss is all about. But you never know what you are going to find so it is really exciting! With the Watkin path waterfalls I was expecting a couple of dipping pools and instead I have discovered a long stretch of the river with a dipping pool in every corner of the bendy path that the river carved over the years into the rocks. 

                                 There are different pools at each corner of the river

As you are walking up trailing the cascading river, you think that you have seen all of the pools already and then another one comes into view making you regret that you didn't jump into this one instead! 


                                Some of the pools are even deep enough to jump in!


After spending the last few months wild swimming in mostly the Peak District where the spots are often dark and peaty (I love it as it is just synonymous with the rest of the Peaks) I was really surprised to discover how clear the water was. You could see all the rocks below and the water had this beautiful color to it. 


                 The water is so clean that you can see every tiny rock at the bottom

On a beautiful summers day, the grassy banks turn into the equivalent of a beach holiday with people having picnics and sunbathing in between jumping into the crystal clear water.


The hill equivalent of that British thing of putting your towels on a sun loungers to mark you spot

A bit of sunbathing when you have a heat wave in the UK is a total must! I love the UK hills. I know the weather can be a bit challenging at times but when you get a good spell there literally isn't a better place to be.



                  When the sun is out there is only one thing left to do - get some casual sun tan

How to get there 


  The pools are really easy to find but are best enjoyed as part of Snowdon walk- as the experience will be even nicer if you have earned it first!

I would say that the plunge pools are best enjoyed as part of a Snowdon walk but if you are pushed for time, the waterfalls are easily accessible from the road. You will still have to work for it though as the walk is at least 30 minutes from the nearest road! You can park just off A498 at the Watkin Path car park and pick up the path which starts at the road junction with Nant Gwynant. The waterfalls are marked on the OS Map too so they will be easy to find. 



               Not quite a fight with the fern but there is definitely some uphill to get to the waterfalls

After about half a kilometer you will pass a National Trust campsite after which it is up the hill for a short while before you will be rewarded with good views over the plunge pools. You can't miss it as the path goes directly above the river.


                               The Watkin path goes directly above the pools

The pools are completely visible from the Watkin Path but I kind of really like that about this spot. It is so inviting and friendly, with kids and dogs running around everywhere. There are plenty of secluded wild swimming spots out there where you can enjoy a bit of 'al natural' swimming and so it is lovely to share a bit of an adventure with other people for a change.


                                  The pre-plunge excitement is real!
I get the impression that even if people are not that much into wild swimming, this place is so inviting that it is difficult to resist a quick dip! 



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