#152 – A walk up ‘Big Mountain’

Approaching Mynydd Mawr by Foel Rudd

Approaching Mynydd Mawr by Foel Rudd

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’!

Setting off through the forest

Setting off through the forest

Above the forest now, with Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in the background

Above the forest now, with Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in the background

The view south towards Moel Hebog

The view south towards Moel Hebog

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.

Foel Rudd ahead ….

Foel Rudd ahead ….

…. and Yr Wyddfa behind

…. and Yr Wyddfa behind

“Come on, it’s not that steep!”

“Come on, it’s not that steep!”

But it feels steep!

But it feels steep!

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!

Above the steep section, with the lake of Llyn Cwellyn below

Above the steep section, with the lake of Llyn Cwellyn below

The last slope to Foel Rudd

The last slope to Foel Rudd

On the ridge to the summit

On the ridge to the summit

Looking back on the ridge towards Foel Rudd

Looking back on the ridge towards Foel Rudd

Further along the ridge with Yr Aran on the far left and Cnicht and the Moelwyns in the distance

Further along the ridge with Yr Aran on the far left and Cnicht and the Moelwyns in the distance

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.

The top!

The top!

…. and the way off

…. and the way off

Still heading down

Still heading down

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.

Looking back to the descent route and Craig Cwm Du

Looking back to the descent route and Craig Cwm Du

Craig Cwmbychan

Craig Cwmbychan

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.

And to finish – more forest!

And to finish – more forest!

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

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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11 Responses to #152 – A walk up ‘Big Mountain’

  1. Pete Buckley says:

    One i’ve never done! Looks a good walk and quite varied too.

  2. I think I’ve got a lot of exploring to do in Wales, as soon as I get the opportunity!

  3. 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.

  4. 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! 😆

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. LensScaper says:

    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!

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