Welsh is a poetic language, and a language of poets. Names of mountains, valleys and lakes have a magical sound to English ears, and learning a little of the language opens a door towards understanding. A mountain name like “Slippery Hill of the Witch” (yes, it does exist – see post #77) demands some kind of attention, but how about Mynydd Mawr? Not much poetry there I’m afraid – it just means ‘Big Mountain’!
We were last here three years ago (see post #30) with me recording the route for the ‘Walking World’ website. The route eventually went live as Walk ID 6086, and to make it convenient and easy to follow I had written the walk description as a linear walk, using the same route up and down.
Sometimes an ‘up and down’ route does the trick, but I much prefer a ‘Point A to Point B’ walk if it must be linear – that way it feels more like a journey. The challenge was to find a way that wasn’t going to be unpleasantly steep for Chris, but a close look at the contour lines on the map indicated a way off to the northwest that wasn’t likely to leave me apologising for the next week about the crap choice of route!
The route might have been OK, but it had been a crap choice of weather for our first outing six months earlier, with a wind so strong that walking on exposed ground was unpleasant. This time things were much better – the plan was to leave the car at Betws Garmon and to take the bus to Rhyd Ddu – from there we would walk back over Mynydd Mawr.
In the event all went well. The day was a little cooler that it had been in 2011, but the visibility was reasonable for photos. My assessment of the ground from viewing the map proved to be spot on, and despite the slight inconvenience of juggling with bus times, I thought that this route was better that my original ‘Out and Back’ approach for Walking World.
There were only two slight niggles. Firstly the route started and finished with a section of forestry, not my favourite – some like to walk amongst the trees, but rows of dark conifers don’t do it for me. The second niggle was far more serious – no pub at the end! Perhaps we will have to go back and do it in reverse.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
One i’ve never done! Looks a good walk and quite varied too.
Cheers Pete, yes it’s a good trip out that could be extended to make a circular walk.
I think I’ve got a lot of exploring to do in Wales, as soon as I get the opportunity!
We’re currently enjoying what is know as summer in these parts!! Long may it continue 🙂
I like Mynydd Mawr – I used to stay at Castell Cidwm hotel at the end of Llyn Cwellyn – it was superb and I was friends with the people there. Then, they suddenly upped and left and I turned up to book once and was turfed off the property as it was a ‘private house’ (and 8 bedroom one at that! 😮 )
I used to do that route sometimes (and that climb is very steep at the point you mention) and then used to walk back along the road from Betws Garmon – that road is pretty lethal for walking traffic-wise as you can’t be seen in advance a lot of the way… I also used to ride at Betws Garmon in my much younger days – was great.
When I was at Castell Cidwm once, I paddled across the dam there and went up the waterfalls route – quite exciting. Came out on Foel Rudd up the steep left-handside of your photo looking back at it. You won’t really be able to get to that now though with the land being private 😦
Carol, your knowledge and experience of our native hills never ceases to amaze me – now you have your Munros completed perhaps it’s time to share some more of your English and Welsh exploits in your blog 🙂
Errr – it will have to wait until after the Munro TOPS now! 😉
Haha … I should have guessed 😉
When I first saw the name of the mountain, I thought you had no money to buy a vowel.. haha! Yes, you for sure need to end at the pub or start there with a full flask! 😆
Haha … yes, Welsh can be very sparse, and a few words can say a lot – If it was “The Big Mountain” you would say “Y Mynydd Mawr”.(Lit. ‘The Mountain Big’).
But why waste a perfectly good ‘Y’ 🙂
The pub at the start point of the walk (‘Rhyd Ddu’, otherwise ‘Black Ford’ in English) is well worth the detour.
I’m sorry I didn’t include a map this time – I do occasionally and I guess it would be useful when (in your case) you’re reading about a place on the other side of the Atlantic. I’ll try to remember to include maps more often. 🙂
The beers in the Cwellyn Arms in Rhyd Ddu are good. They have (or had) Leffe on tap! I took the same route up as you, Paul, but descended same way. Is the route finding easy down to Betws Garmon? I had the idea one day of going over Mynnydd Mawr and then on over the Hebog range, finishing in Beddgelert. The link between Mynnydd Mawr and the range is straightforward although it involves another forest trail and finding the right exit point at the far end!