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Hikers exploring Snowdon's northern flank mostly base themselves at LLANBERIS, a former slate-mining town on the shores of Llyn Padarn and near the picturesque ruins of the thirteenth-century Dolbadarn Castle (unresricted access). The former slate quarries which carved away the hills to the north of town are the setting for the Welsh Slate Museum (Easter–Oct daily 10am–5pm; Nov–Easter daily except Sat 10am–4pm; free) where former quarry workers demonstrate their skills at turning an inch-thick slab into six, or even eight, perfectly smooth slivers.
This is the nearest you'll get to an alpine climbing village in Wales, its single main street thronged with weatherbeaten walkers and climbers, and with the less hardy making the ascent by rail. At the same time, Llanberis is very much a Welsh rural community.