**** UPDATE 21/05/2019 The entrance to the Blue Lake has been blocked – the dragon’s nostrils. You can still do the climb but you cannot now swim in the lake. ****
The Blue Lake occupies high ground in the old Goleuwern Slate Quarry above Fairbourne and is one of Snowdonia’s secret gems. Whilst most of our attractions are well sign-posted, the Blue Lake is hidden away without even a sign at the start of the path which leads to the lake. All you get is a fairly nondescript public right-of-way sign; that’s it. I know people who have been coming to this part of Wales for 20-years and did not even know it existed. It’s not surprising that the Blue Lake has found its way on to the BBC’s Secret Britain, especially when the Welsh tourist board merely hint at its existence. Have a look for yourself at how VisitWales leave you hanging.
We stumbled on the lake by chance when planning a journey to Fairbourne using Google Maps. What drew our eye was a little blue spot to the south-east of Fairbourne, in Friog, labelled ‘Blue Lake’. Our curiosity peaked, we googled and came across tripadvisor reports together with a few images of an eerily blue lake. Diggiing further for something that resembled ‘directions’, we discovered that there was a path to the lake half-way down a side road to the A493. We were on our way.
What’s there to see?
Once you have made the climb there are fantastic views of Fairbourne to the west and Barmouth to the north. There is plenty to explore with abandoned old mining equipment scattered around the site as well as the Blue Lake itself.
How to get to the Blue Lake
The footpath leading to the lake is on Ffordd Panteinion (SatNav LL38 2TJ). There are very few places on Panteinion where you can pull-over without causing an obstruction and your best bet is to park-up in Fairbourne and make the 10-minute walk. When walking keep an eye out for a Texico garage on your right. 500-metres past the garage is a BT Telephone box, again, on your right; Ffordd Panteinion is directly opposite.
Once you are on Ffordd Panteinion you will pass several cottages before you reach the footpath on your right around 500-metres from the junction with the A493. Don’t be fooled and pick the wrong path: there is a 5-bar gate on you right just before the actual path which is decorated by rather unfriendly-looking barbed wire; this is not your destination. The actual path has the ubiquitous public footpath sign, a kissing gate, together with a seemingly padlocked 5-bar gate.
Once you are on the path keep on going up and as to the right ignoring any left forks. The path is quite steep at the start but does get easier as you ascend. Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can pull-over and take a breather whilst pretending to take in the views (as we did).
After about 5-minutes into the climb you will come across a fork in the track. You need to take the right-hand fork under a high vaulted slate archway. When we visited in June, this meant carefully stepping through a small trickle of a stream which kept the stones nice and slippery.
Update: you don’t need to take the right fork. We visited with our children in July 2016 and decided to go off piste and took the left fork. This route is easier to navigate – you don’t need to tackle the stream – but isn’t as picturesque. If you’re a regular visitor, then you will take the left fork but if this is your first trip, then I recommend the right fork! If you do decide to take the left fork, then just follow the path as it climbs and curves to the right.
Once you are passed this bit the worst of the climb is over and the path opens out into a level grassed area buttressed by slate heaps to the east and cliffs to the west overlooking Fairbourne and Cardigan Bay.
The path continues under another slate archway which is ahead of you and to the left.
For the rest of the directions together with pictures of the Blue Lake click on Page 2