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“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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock except where stated otherwise.