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Rhinogydd Moel Ysgyfarnogod Wild Camp

By Dave Roberts   

on August 11, 2014    No ratings yet.

Posted in Wild Camp

Rhinogydd Moel Ysgyfarnogod Wild Camp

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Rhinogydd Moel Ysgyfarnogod Wild Camp

The Rhinogydd are tough, notoriously so. In fact, while I’ve walked these hills countless times, I was yet to walk them all in one trip. So the weekend was set, and typically heavy and prolonged rain was forecast. Being the hardy souls that we are at Mud and Routes, we decided that the weekend was still on but that we’d move in the windows of fine weather. That just happened to mean a dawn start!


We set off from Trawsfynydd, not Maentwrog as initially intended, so the route (of sorts) is outlined – here – though who knows what twists and turns we were lured into on the way. So within a couple of hours, we’d set up camp on Moel Ysgyfarnogod with the only difficulty being the finding of water.

Friday evening started off peaceful with little indication of what was to follow. The sunset was initially glorious, but petered out as it should have reached its crescendo. Moel Penolau looked somehing akin to a battleship in the evening gloom. Cheerful testing of products and eating most of the weekend’s sweeties was the order of the day, and we slept early to prepare for the early start.



The morning was disappointing, the mist had closed fully in and this would make the going exceptionally tough. Fortunately, once we’d descended a 100m or so we cleared the mist and the view onwards to Rhinog Fawr was perfectly clear. So we dashed across the Rhinogydd Badlands in what was exceptionally good time, but not sufficiently so to avoid the low cloud on Rhinog Fawr.


Ascending Rhinog Fawr from Bwlch y Tyddiad is quite straightforward as there’s a wall that leads you most of the way, then you can pick one of many paths to your left as the wall reaches it’s highest point. We managed to find one somewhere in between the main paths, as we could see the intended path far below us, but it was easy going for these hills and it soon joined another clear path to the summit.DSC_0520

This was yet again smothered in cloud and again I was denied any sort of view. This was made worse by the rain that had now started, and would not cease for another eighteen hours or so, and that I had to descend Rhinog Fawr into Bwlch Drws Ardudwy. There’s hardly a proper descent route, and as it’s not marked on the map you can’t navigate in the usual sense. We ended up following cairns and what felt like sheep tracks, which eventually led us to a bouldery scramble directly into the bwlch.

Being barely lunchtime, and the fact that once we were camped we’d be cooped up in the tent until morning, we headed on up past the diminutive Llyn Cwmhosan and eventually up to Llyn Hywel to camp. The distance on the ground was a measly 10k or so, but both of us were adamant that this was as far as we were going to move today. Yet another exmple of how tough these hills could be, as we certainly felt as hill fit as we’ve ever been. Obviously there’s hill fit and Rhinogydd/Knoydart fit, which on another level completely.DSC_0525 DSC_0524 DSC_0523

And so followed an eternity in the rain. Pretty sure I slept for most of the afternoon, ate a pudding and then slept till breakfast. While the tipi Shangri-la isn’t ideal in the rain as it lacks a porch, it coped admirably with the stormy weather despite not being guyed down.

It was a bit of an anti-climax on the sunday, the weather was still gloomy, but at least we could see the lake we’d camped next to. So it was a zombie-like yomp up Rhinog Fach and finally across Y Llethr (which has to rank as one of the more disappointing range high points?), Diffwys and finally following the coach road down Braich and eventually into Barmouth. So even if the full traverse was completed, and a few interesting byways explored, the final ridge down to Barmouth remains to be explored on another trip.

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