#96 – A romp in the Rhinogs (Day 2)

Rhinog Fawr (left) and Rhinog Fach, seen from the Cwm Nantcol road

In the UK, the summer of 2012 has been largely regarded as one of the wettest in recorded meteorological history, with a month’s rain falling on one single July day.  This hasn’t been reflected in the photographs of my hill-walking days, probably because I’ve finally learned enough sense not to go out when it’s raining!  However, the light has often been dull, with mist on the tops, not very interesting for photography.  So, I couldn’t believe my luck when two days after our misty day on Rhinog Fawr, the forecast was for sun – my rucksack was packed in minutes!

The start from Cwm Nantcol, looking towards the first summit of Rhinog Fach

Looking back to Moelfre (right) with my return route over the saddle dead centre

The plan was a circuit starting at Cwm Nantcol, walking over Rhinog Fach (712 metres), Y Llethr (754 metres) then the Crib y Rhiw Ridge leading to Diffwys (750 metres).  From there the easiest return route was to descend to the reservoir at Llyn Bodlyn, then to cross the 430 metre high saddle to the east of Moelfre before descending to the valley for an easy road walk back to the start.  A grand total of about 18 kilometres and getting on for 1100 metres of height gain.

Looking across to Rhinog Fawr, hidden in the mist on our last visit two days previously

The final grassy slopes to the top of Rhinog Fach

The stony plateau at the summit of Rhinog Fach ….

…. and the summit cairn (Orienteering markers in evidence again)

The route started by heading up the valley running between Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach.  At the col between the two peaks, the way to Rhinog Fach took the ‘full-frontal’ approach, heading straight up – a couple who were walking a shortened version of my route stared in disbelief as I pointed out the line of ascent, but they gamely tagged on behind as I set off upwards, but the going eased as height was gained, leading to a stony plateau.

Looking across to Y Llethr from Rhinog Fach

The rocky descent to the lake of Llyn Hywel

Looking back to Rhinog Fach from near Llyn Hywel ….

…. and a final look at Rhinog Fach and Llyn Hywel from the slopes of Y Llethr

If the ascent had been steep and stony, then so was the descent to the col next to the small lake of Llyn Hywel.  The height lost had now to be regained to the summit of Y Llethr, the highest peak in the Rhinog Mountains.  From here there was a complete change of atmosphere with steep, rocky slopes replaced by rolling grassy ridges.  Easy walking demolished the remaining distance, and apart from Border Collie ‘Mist’ and a couple of wild goats, the soaring grass ridge was all mine.

‘Mist’ on the summit of Y Llethr, but the right kind of mist today!

The undulating ridge of Crib y Rhiw Ridge (left) leading to Diffwys (right)

Wild goat on Crib y Rhiw Ridge ….

…. and a nearby friend

Looking towards the final section of the route over the Moelfre saddle (centre) ….

…. but the ascent of Diffwys to come before that

The undulating Crib y Rhiw Ridge led to Diffwys, with its stone Trig Point and a cracking view down to estuary of the Afon Mawddach.  This was followed by a long descent to the Llyn Bodlyn reservoir – although man-made, the lake appears to be totally natural, and is completely in character with its surroundings.

The Trig Point on Diffwys ….

…. and the view to the Afon Mawddach estuary

Moelfre – my return route was over the saddle to the right of the summit

Llyn Bodlyn reservoir

After Llyn Bodlyn I had my final height gain of the day, crossing the saddle to the east of Moelfre.  On the descent to the valley the atmosphere changed yet again, as views of Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach opened up.

Rhinog Fawr seen from the Moelfre saddle ….

…. and Rhinog Fach, the first summit of the day

It had been a good week – a good section of the Rhinog Mountains covered over two days, with plenty left to inspire other visits.  As I dropped down to the road for a final easy stroll to the car I was already thinking about the next hill day.  But not here though – I had a pre-arranged appointment with Dartmoor to look forward to ….

Rhinog Fawr (left) and Rhinog Fach

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

p.s. Apologies if I’m slow in replying to comments this week – as you read this I will still be in Devon, drying out my boots from the Dartmoor trip as I search for a Broadband connection !

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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9 Responses to #96 – A romp in the Rhinogs (Day 2)

  1. What a fantastic looking day!

    • It was one of the outstanding days of the year – the ‘summer’ of 2012 will be remembered for many things (Jubilee, Olympics, etc) but hill-goers will remember the rain!

  2. You missed out poor ol’ Moelfre! I went the other side of the wall on Crib y Rhiw once – it was pretty scary in places!

    • I know – a bit mean to miss out Moelfre, but I had to get home for ‘me tea’ 🙂

      I know what you mean about the ‘other side of the wall’ – when I got to Diffwys trig point I walked another two metres, looked down, and walked quietly backwards….. 😀

  3. LensScaper says:

    Finally the sun shone for you! A great selection of images and a good write up. I’ll now go an find the map and take a second look at the route on the map.

  4. Pingback: #101 – Arenig Fawr – A Welsh mountain gem | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  5. Pingback: #102 – Arenig Fach – Another Welsh mountain gem (or should that be a rough diamond?) | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  6. Pingback: #221 – Moel Ysgyfarnogod in the Rhinogs. | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

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