#90 – Elidir Fawr and the Northern Glyderau

Elidir Fawr with Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir below

It would seem that Elidir was a big bloke – apparently his stallion could carry seven riders, and if an ancient British chieftain wanted a memorial, something really big that would carry his name down through the centuries, then the mountain we now call Elidir Fawr would seem to fit the bill.

Elidir Fawr seen from Nant Peris

I’m currently catching up on some Welsh mountains I haven’t yet walked.  It’s always easier to go for the local area – as a teenager in North Lancashire I got to know the Bowland Hills well, and living in Cumbria for 25 years gave me a cosy familiarity with the mountains of The Lake District.  After seven years in West Yorkshire, I know the Yorkshire Dales and South Pennines pretty well, and now I’m living in North Wales and catching up with the mountains that I have been driving past for years, including Elidir Fawr.

Quite a lot of ‘up’

Viewed from the north, Elidir Fawr looks big, and seems to dwarf everything else around – seen from my start point at Nant Peris it looked a heck of a lot bigger!!  Elidir Fawr is 924 metres high (3031 ft) making it the 13th highest mountain in Wales.  From Nant Peris the height gain is 815m, and it’s up all the way.

Slate quarry spoil heaps on the way up

The Snowdon Range, with the Crib Goch Ridge very obvious in the centre

Close-up of the Crib Goch Ridge

From Llanberis and Nant Peris, the west side of Elidir Fawr looks like one big quarry tip, but the mountain is so big that the relics of an old industry are soon left behind.  To the front the view is a relentless grassy slope, but behind there’s a great view of the Snowdon Range.  The view also starts to extend over the mountains of the Glyderau, Carneddau and Snowdon Ranges, and out to the Llŷn Peninsula.

The Glyderau, with Foel Goch and Y Garn in the middle ground and Tryfan, Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr in the background

Carnedd y Filiast (left) and Mynydd Perfedd in the middle ground, with the Carneddau behind

Looking southwest towards the Llŷn Peninsula

I didn’t spend too long admiring the view from the summit though, as I had to lose 185 metres down to Bwlch y Marchlyn before starting up yet again to the next peak, Mynydd Perfedd at 812 metres.  We English often mangle this in translation to ‘The Perfect Mountain’, but all the Welsh dictionaries I’ve read go for Perfedd meaning ‘Entrails’!  It obviously takes guts to walk in Wales!

Start of the descent to Bwlch Marchlyn

The reservoir of Marchlyn Mawr

‘Mist’ on the descent to the bwlch

“Hmm … still a way to go…”

On the way to Mynydd Perfedd there were great views down to the Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir (‘The Big Lake of the Stallion’).  It’s part of the amazing ‘Electric Mountain’ power station, and the original idea behind it was that cheap ‘off-peak’ power would be used to pump water up to the reservoir, to be released at times of greater demand, generating electricity as it flowed down to Llyn Peris Reservoir below.  The power station is now used as a ‘fast response’ generator, used to augment the National Grid at times of sudden surges.

The view towards Y Garn …

… but I’m going the other way …

… for the view to the sea from Carnedd y Filiast

From Mynydd Perfedd my route back was via Y Garn (‘The Cairn’) but before that I had a diversion to Carnedd y Filiast (‘The Cairn of the Greyhound Bitch’) at 821 metres.  This involved a height loss and gain of a mere 40 metres, but once back on track I had to lose another 100 metres before heading up to Foel Goch (‘the Bare Red Hill’) at 831 metres.  This meant a height gain of 120 metres before another loss of 80 metres then the final ascent of the day – 200 metres height gain to Y Garn.

Looking back to Elidir Fawr before heading up Foel Goch

Foel Goch and Y garn – “Up and down like a fiddler’s elbow …”

My mate John Bamber would have said “It’s up and down like a fiddler’s elbow”, and so it was. (He has a more risqué version of that saying that I won’t share!)  It was a roller coaster ride but one with views, with the Snowdon Range on one side and the mountains of the Carneddau on the other.  Just before Y Garn there were great views down to the Ogwen Valley.

The Snowdon Range, dead centre

The Carneddau with (r to l) Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn and Yr Elen

The view down to Ogwen

Looking back up to the final descent to Nant Peris

After all the ups and downs there was one final down, back to the valley at Nant Peris, a drop of over 830 metres.  The dog was asleep almost as soon as she was back in the car.  Good job it was my turn to drive, then!

Elidir Fawr and Marchlyn Mawr

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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15 Responses to #90 – Elidir Fawr and the Northern Glyderau

  1. johndburns says:

    Another nice blog. Like the photo walk idea. Snowdon is a really good hill, pity it’s not in Scotland, I’m sure there is a corner of the West coast we could fit it in if you’re not using it.


  2. Thanks for the kind words, John 🙂

    How about we take some of your surplus Scottish peaks, and drop ’em off in East Anglia – it could do with ‘livening up’ a bit!


  3. John Bamber says:

    Good blog Paul,wished I could have been on that one,the phrase you were looking for was something to do with a “brides nighty” I think but I don’t suppose they wear them these days.
    ps your boots are in the car.


    • Cheers John – yes you’re probably right about brides 😀

      Just about to check the forecast for the next few days – you may need YOUR boots with a bit of luck 🙂


  4. lanceleuven says:

    Congratulations on another successful summit!


  5. LensScaper says:

    A great read and some nice photos of a cluster of peaks I have yet to visit. Done the other end of the Glyderau numerous times. Looking at the map it looks quite a long slog up, presumably up Cwm Dudodyn.


    • Hi Andy, yes I approached from Cwm Dudodyn, but there’s a direct line (and a faint path) going up from the footbridge at SH 608 596.

      Long slog wasn’t the half of it! I kept checking progress by the altimeter on my watch – a depressing business 😦

      Beyond Elidir Fawr it’s delightful!


  6. nittylizzyrozzy says:

    A good set of photos indeed. I’m intrigued by ‘cairn of the greyhound bitch’


    • I think the Welsh call a spade a spade – I thought of translating it as ‘Cairn of the female greyhound’ but thought that sounded a bit too coy 🙂

      Anyway, a male greyhound is ‘milgi’, a female is ‘miliast’, but the ‘m’ mutates to ‘f’ (probably ‘cos it’s preceded by ‘y’ but my Welsh grammar is almost non-existant) so you get ‘filiast’.

      Simples! (Wonder what the Welsh is for meerkat?)


  7. I love that narrow ridge up onto Elidir Fawr (or down in your case) above the reservoir! A really lovely set of hills, I’m really missing them. I think Mynydd Perfedd is ‘The Perfect Mountain’ – it certainly has a perfect shape when you come along the A5 heading from Gerlan to Idwal – a proper pyramid.


  8. smackedpentax says:

    excellent – I loved reading every word of that, and the photos are again superb! What a jaw-cracker that Welsh language is…and I think your dog must be one of the luckiest there is…what with all that amazing scenery and constant walks…


    • Hi SP, thanks for that and sorry for the delay in replying – we’ve been on the road doing various things!

      My Welsh vocabulary is growing and it’s fine if you want to know words like ridge, mountain, valley, etc, but I’m not very good on abstract concepts, or even getting the shopping if it comes to that 🙂

      If the dog is lucky, then so are we – ‘Mist’ is my fifth Border Collie, and she is an absolute star – she’s lying fast asleep at my feet as I write this, but as soon as I stand up she will fly downstairs in expectation of the morning dog-walk 🙂


  9. Pingback: #156 – Y Garn and Foel Goch in the Glyderau | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  10. Pingback: #283 – Elidir Fawr revisited | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

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