#280 – Rhinog Fach and Llyn Hywel

Llyn Hywel with Rhinog Fach standing above

(For the best viewing experience, left-click the images and maps to zoom in, then use your browser return arrow to go back – go on, it really does work!)

The Rhinogydd and surrounding mountains

Our first period of Covid-19 lockdown had finished at the beginning of July, and Chris and I (plus Border Collie ‘Mist’) hadn’t wasted any time getting back to the Welsh mountains (see post #277).   We even grabbed a trip to the Lake District (see post #279) but it was now time to do some more exploring back home in Wales – where better for a day out than the Rhinogydd (the Rhinog mountains).

Closer view of the route, clockwise from Nantcol

The Rhinogydd is an area avoided by the masses – you won’t find a queue to get to any summits here, as happened recently on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), nor will you find piles of litter, abandoned tents and discarded portable BBQs.   The reason is simple – these are rough, gnarly hills that won’t tolerate being mucked about with!   It is possible though, to have a great day out without any undue distress, you just have to pick your ground.

The view of Rhinog Fach starting out from Nantcol

The last time I was here was unbelievably as long ago as 2012 (see post #96) when I’d had a great day out with ‘Mist’ on the best that the Rhinogydd has to offer, which included just about all the high ground starting at Rhinog Fawr then heading south.    I didn’t think Chris would appreciate a long, rough day after our Covid-enforced break from the higher hills, but I had a route up my sleeve that would take us into the heart of the action – the lonely lake of Llyn Hywel.

Heading up towards Bwlch Drws Ardudwy ….

…. with Border Collie ‘Mist’ out in front as usual

The great thing about walking out to a lake is that you get the feel of the area without necessarily having to commit to a big mountain day, though ‘Mist’ looked ready for anything as usual.    We started out from the farm at Nantcol, where the farmer charges a reasonable (in my view anyway) £2 to park up for the day – good value compared with the £10 for the car park at Pen y Pass at the start of the most popular routes up Snowdon.  And that’s if you can find a space!

Looking back at the progress made

Approaching the bwlch

From Nantcol,  a steady path leads up to Bwlch Drws Ardudwy  (in Wales, a bwlch is a mountain pass)  between Rhinog Fach (the Small Rhinog) and its slightly higher neighbour, Rhinog Fawr.   The path isn’t used a great deal and is totally unlike the manicured trails found in the tourist areas.   It’s a route that gives plenty of time for looking around, without the danger of falling off anything or being hit by a carelessly lobbed bottle.    It’s wild, but in a sort of easy-going way.

Passing the small lake of Llyn Cwmhosan ….

…. then the ascent starts for real!

Well, that’s ‘easy-going’ until it’s time to start heading upwards – this might not have been a route up a mountain, but it was certainly a route in the mountains.   The path obviously doesn’t get a load of use, and it soon disappeared in steep heather and boulders.   It would have been easier to find the path in descent, looking down on it, but going up it was easy to lose the route by straying no more than a couple of metres.   It was hard work all round, especially for ‘Mist’ who couldn’t get a run-up at the boulders and rock steps, and it was with some relief that we emerged a couple of hundred metres short of the lake. 

Out of the rough stuff at last!

It was there we saw the only other humans we saw all day – we had a pleasant chat with the guy and his female companion, talking about photography amongst other things.   He mentioned that he had videos on YouTube, and I thought his name sounded familiar, and so it should have done!   Nick Livesey is a well-respected professional photographer (and thoroughly nice guy) – his book ‘Photographing the Snowdonia Mountains’ is a great inspiration to those of us who try to capture images of the mountains, but is also a great read for lovers of mountain photos.   Get it on your Christmas present list!

Llyn Hywel and Rhinog Fach

Passing Llyn Perfeddau on the way back

The view out to the coast

Llyn Hywel is a beautiful, quiet spot, and we lingered for a brew and a bite to eat.   From there, an easy and gradual descent across open hillside and tracks took us back to the valley at Pont Cerrig.   A short walk up the quiet road led us back up to Nantcol and the car, with a great view on the way of Rhinog Fach and Rhinog Fawr, with Bwlch Drws Ardudwy in between.   The only view ‘Mist’ was interested in was the contents of her dinner dish back home!

Rhinog Fach (left) and Rhinog Fawr, with Bwlch Drws Ardudwy in between

Time to head for home

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

p.s.   The last post previous to this one was at the end of August, but with good reason – we took advantage of a temporary improvement in the Covid situation to get away in the camper, with a six-week trip to Scotland.   We probably would have returned a bit earlier until we got the news that if we headed home to Wales, we would be locked down locally in Denbighshire, so we stayed on the road instead!    Now, as I write this, all of Wales is locked down again for two weeks, but that should give me a chance to sort out about 1000+ photos!

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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4 Responses to #280 – Rhinog Fach and Llyn Hywel

  1. My photos don’t enlarge any more when you click on them and haven’t since a couple of WordPress ‘upgrades’ ago – not sure why yours still do. Have you been changed to the new editor yet away from the classic one? I have and I haven’t got a clue how to post now so there may well be a huge time gap in my blog while I try to figure it all out 😦

    Llyn Hywel looks like a fish from Rhinog Fach! I like the Rhinogs but they are tough. I used to start from Cwm Bychan (very expensive parking) and walk up the Roman Steps, round the back of Rhinog Fawn and back down that pass quite often – lovely walk. Nantcol is much cheaper to park though and I don’t mind paying farmers!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. *Fawr I meant!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree more about the new block editor – I took one look before starting this post and thought, “Oh well, that’s me finished with blogs!” The answer is to persist, and keep looking for ‘Classic Editor’ – I go into edit via ‘My Sites’ then ‘WP Admin’. I open a post, and as well as the ‘Edit’ option, there is also a ‘Classic Edit’ as well.

    That’s on a PC – I also got in on an Android pad, but it was a bit of a pain. Can’t remember how I did it in the end, but I found the ‘Classic Edit’ eventually. If that doesn’t help, get back to me and I’ll try screenshots or summat. I’m really hoping that they don’t impose this new editor on us without the Classic option.

    For the photo enlarge, click on the image in ‘Classic Edit’ and go to the ‘edit’ option for the image – look for display settings and link to ‘Media File’. I can’t remember who told me that trick, I thought it was you 🤔🙄 Ho hum!

    I like the sound of your Rhinog Fawr circuit – Chris isn’t all that bothered about reaching a summit, especially if it involves steep, stony descents, so I try to find her more ‘user-friendly’ hill days and save the heroics for days when I’m out with just the dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #281 – Bryn Cader Faner | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

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