‘A tour that combines two Celtic Nations to make one great hiking adventure!’
We combined two of our most successful hiking destinations, the Wicklow Mountains and Snowdonia National Park in North Wales, into a spectacular 8-day guided walking experience of two cultures, two histories, and two landscapes. This is a great opportunity to observe the differences as well as the similarities between these two ancient Celtic regions and all they have to offer.
For our time in Wales, we will stay in Old Colwyn Bay, right outside of the Snowdonia National Park. The National Park is the second largest in the UK with 2,171 protected square kilometres (838 square miles) of oak woodlands, wild flowing rivers, cascading waterfalls, tranquil lakes, rocky mountains and moorland. The Park has some of the best walks in Britain, all dominated by Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in England, Ireland, and Wales at 1085 m (3560 ft). Whether you love nature, the great outdoors, culture or history, Wales has it all.
Our second half of the adventure takes place in the Wicklow Mountains. We will be staying just outside of the famous and majestic Glendalough, a seat of ancient culture and education and one of the most visited sites in Ireland. Wicklow holds a proud tradition of walking aided by the presence of the “Wicklow Way”, the oldest way-marked trail and the largest National Park in Ireland. The National Park protects some of Europe’s oldest peat bogs, heather-clad mountains, broad-leafed woodlands and native mammal species. After a few days of walking here, you will understand why the county has earned the title ‘The Garden of Ireland’.
Prices / Dates
Price: €1,118 per person sharing
Sunday to Sunday
Single Supplement: +€350
Tour Dates: Sunday, 1 August to Sunday 8 August 2021
Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate
Accommodation: Family Operated Guesthouse
Included / Excluded
We will meet you at Dublin Airport at 12.00 pm and then drive to Dublin Port for the ferry journey to Holyhead in Wales. Alternatively, you can meet us in Wales. Travel time on the sea is approximately 3hrs 15min. Once we reach Holyhead, we drive for approximately 50 minutes down through North Wales to our accommodation in the lively town of Old Colwyn Bay.
Our first walk begins in the coastal town of Llandudno, one of Britain’s finest Victorian seaside resorts and takes us around the Great Orme peninsula for fascinating views of mountains over the ocean. We will explore the world’s only publicly open Bronze Age copper mine, first mined over 3,500 years ago and visit one of the finest examples of fortress architecture in the world at the walled town of Conwy. Conwy Castle, with 22 towers and nearly a mile of battlements wall, was built by Edward the 1st in 1283 during the conquest of Wales. We will stay overnight in Old Colwyn Bay.
Distance: 10 km/6 miles, Ascent: 207 m/620 ft
Beginning at the foothills of Moel Siabod, Y Glyderau and Y Carneddau in the cosy village of Capel Curig, we follow an old pass through the mountains and down into the peaceful valley of Cornel. We will walk through Hendre Forest and walk around to the once natural lake Llyn Cowlyd. In the 19th century, the lake was made into a reservoir for the region. Our homeward track is along the water, around the base of Pen Llithrig and back to Capel Curig. We will stay overnight in Old Colwyn Bay.
Distance: 16 km/10 miles, Ascent: 580 m/1740 ft
The climb up the tallest mountain in Ireland, Wales, and England is quite a challenge but you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment on arrival at the summit of Mount Snowdon. We make our ascent on the Pyg Track, an old miner's track which is well maintained by the National Trust. From the summit on a clear day, we will enjoy incredible sweeping views in all directions. We descend using the old sightseers’ railway track. The railway has been running for over 100 years, a modern replacement for the ponies previously used to carry visitors to the summit. We will stay overnight in Colwyn Bay.
Distance up the Pyg Track and down to Llanberis: 13 km/6.5 miles, Ascent: 727 m / 2181 ft
Our final day in Wales includes a short nature walk to the famous and lovely Swallow Falls in Betws-y-Code. Here the river Llugwy rushes down from the mountains. Crags and jagged rocks divide the stream into a number of foaming cascades. We will take a guided tour of the Trefriw Woollen Mills where you might even have an opportunity to try your hand at weaving. We then head back to Holyhead to catch the ferry to Ireland and drive South to our new accommodation in Laragh village, nestled in the Wicklow Mountains.
Distance: 5 km/3 miles, Ascent: 150 m/450 ft
We start the day at the famous Glendalough Monastic Settlement founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. We will have a guided tour of the area to learn its regional and global significance as a former hub of learning in Europe. Its fully intact round tower overlooks the two lakes that gave Glendalough (“Gleann Dá Loch”, The Glen of the Two Lakes) its name. We will follow part of the Wicklow Way, onto Lugduff Mountain for spectacular views of the lakes and surrounding wild hills. Our trail crosses The Spinc, down through a deserted miners’ village and back to Glendalough. We will stay overnight in Laragh village.
Distance: 11.5 km/7.2 miles, Ascent: 410 m/1230 ft
Starting from our village accommodation, our trail leads us through Ballard Forest and up onto Trooperstown Hill. This hill is a hidden gem and on a clear day almost every peak of the Wicklow range and some of the Welsh mountains are visible. At the base of Trooperstown is our Footfalls Walking Holidays headquarters but our trail moves the opposite direction to the beautiful Vale of Clara for lunch on the banks of the Avonmore River. After lunch, we will follow the Avonmore River through the Vale’s Oak Forest into the town of Rathdrum. We will be picked up in Rathdrum and go to visit the world-famous Avoca Woollen Mills original location. We will stay overnight in Laragh.
Distance: 12.5 km/7.8 miles, Ascent: 430 m/1290 ft
After a hearty Irish breakfast, we will depart for Dublin Airport, arriving at 12.30 pm.