#298 – Maesglase

Maesglase, with the true summit of Maen Du (674 metres) on the right

For the best viewing experience, left-click the images and maps to zoom in to a new window, then exit that window to go back – go on, it really does work!

The Maesglase route (just to the right of centre) with Cadair Idris nearby
A closer view of the route ….
…. and even closer

“So, where’s Maesglase” I hear you say?  If you have ever driven on the A470 from Dolgellau towards Machynlleth , you have driven past it.  If you are a military pilot on the low-flying ‘Mach Loop’, you will have flown past it (though if you blinked you might have missed it).  It’s ‘sort of’ an outlier of the Aran Ridge – but isn’t.  It’s near Cadair Idris, but has no connection with that mountain.  It’s Maesglase!

The start – 180 metres steep ascent through a gloomy fir wood   
The view emerging from the wood – Maesglase on the left  

Chris and I, plus Border Collie ‘Mist’ of course, set out from the village of Dinas Mawddwy on a cool April day to find Maesglase.  Looking at the map, I realised that a price would have to be paid first – a 180 metre ascent through gloomy forestry with no view of the mountains to give a little relief – I really don’t like walking through forests, especially gloomy forests!  So, it was a relief to finally emerge from the trees to see Maesglase ahead.

The broken crags of Craig Maesglase in the centre
What the cascades of Craig Maesglase look like after rain ….   (© Unknown)        
…. but not much water on our trip

Looking towards the bulk of the mountain, the main features of interest are the broken crags of Craig Maesglase, which have one of the most dramatic waterfalls you could wish for.  Well, wishing was the best we could hope for on this trip – the key feature of a waterfall is water, and it soon became apparent that there hadn’t been much rain around here during April.

Approaching the pass of Bwlch Siglen, looking like a narrow ridge on first viewing
Closer to the bwlch, with the headwall still looking like a ridge
Looking back to our route across Foel Dinas ….
…. with the narrow path more obvious in close up  
Nearer to the bwlch now, with the ridge feature on the left      
Looking back down the ridge – not as narrow as it appeared on the approach

In front of us, and leading to the higher ground above the waterfall, was a narrow path clinging to the side of Foel Dinas, heading towards the pass of Bwlch Siglen.  From a distance, the route beyond the bwlch looked like a narrow ridge, but as we got nearer it soon became obvious that this was an illusion, and the only thing that was going to raise pulses was a steep little ascent from the bwlch to the top of the crags.

Looking down the line of the Nant Maesglase stream towards the A470 road    
Above the crags of Craig Maesglase, with the stream in the dip and Maen Du summit in the distance

Things got easier above the steep ascent, though we were still going up – on our right, the view opened up down towards the A470 and straight ahead was the escarpment of Craig Maesglase, with its crags tumbling down to the valley below.  Along the way, the route descended to the Nant Maesglase stream that feeds the waterfall – the amount of water in the stream was quite low, a legacy of the long dry spell we had been enjoying ion Wales.

Is that it?!  Low rainfall over the previous weeks meant just a small waterfall     

I lay down on the edge at the top of the falls and peered over the edge for a view (and a photo) but the cascades were as unimpressive from above as they had been below.  I thought I was being a bit of a ‘wuzz’ for not standing up for a better look, but every photo I have seen since from the top of the falls uses the same ‘lying down’ viewpoint, presumably based on using using the same survival instinct.

Looking back towards the Nant Maesglase, on the way to Maen Du summit      
After the summit, it’s the start of a gradual descent to the valley

Beyond the falls, the route carried on pleasantly to Maen Du summit, before heading down by taking a bit of a wander to the west, then turning north followed by east.  A steady descending track took us back to the valley and a short road walk back to the car – it had been a pleasant exploration of an area we don’t visit much, but it was time to head for home.

Time to head for home    

Text and images © Paul Shorrock except where stated otherwise.

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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10 Responses to #298 – Maesglase

  1. That looks a seriously nice walk on a seriously nice day! The crags and waterfall are very impressive. I don’t remember ever seeing that from the A470 which is unusual for me as I normally spend more time looking at the surrounding hills than the road!

    No YHA at Dinas Mawddwy now? 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • You would be forgiven for missing it as it doesn’t look like much at all from the road. It was indeed a seriously nice day but the waterfall would have been more impressive after a good rain storm.


      • I remember walking under the Steall Falls when it was flowing well and looking up into the sunshine through it – it looked just like diamonds coming down!


  2. ms6282 says:

    Looks like a good walk and quiet I guess with everyone making their way up Cadair Idris


  3. Pingback: #299 – Dduallt and the source of the Afon Dyfrdwy (River Dee) | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  4. Pingback: #300 – Cadair Idris by the Minffordd Path | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  5. Dave Wayman says:

    Walked this on Saturday with MrsW. Absolutely stunning, if very hot. The path alongside the bwlch up toward the high forest was largely obscured by 4′ high bracken, but well worth the slog. An absolute treat of a walk and we saw no one else from the moment we entered the forest by the A470.


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