Mynydd Mawr from Rhosgadfan
|9.53 km||426 m|
Activivity Type: Moderate Walk
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Mynydd Mawr from Rhosgadfan
This walk is a Simple out and back from a backroad between Waunfawr and Rhosgadfan up one of the outlying peaks. You cross the heathery moorland of the Gwyrfai Common and you can appreciate why the locals on one side of the mountains call this Mynydd Grug – Heather Mountain. From this walk, unlike from Rhyd Ddu, you can find out why the mountain has a third (and arguably the most used) name of Mynydd Eliffant – Elephant Mountain.
It’s also worth doing for the uninterrupted view of Snowdon’s western aspect.
The Route This starts from what I call the Kate Roberts memorial on the back road between Waunfawr and Rhosgadfan (SH 514583), I’ll do the walking but I’ll let you work out how to get there. You can easily get to this walk from the Snowdonia Park Inn in Waunfawr via the route described in this walk.
This is a very straightforward trip in clear weather. Very much a case of pick a path, any path, so long as it’s vaguely in the right direction. Ideally you’ll leave the minor road up a concrete road and follow this as far a farm (on the right) and an enclosure (left). Cross between these and there’s a path that leads uphill through the heather.
It’s best to take the path uphill left and then right along the trees, but you can easily cut across the heather to get there. Once you’ve got the stone wall and conifer plantatin to your left then you’ve got the first bit sorted. Yr Wyddfa is seen clearly over these trees, and the imposing cwm of under Mynydd Mawr dominates the view ahead. You may also notice why it’s better known locally as Mynydd Eliffant (Elephant Mountain).
There is an easy track to follow, which takes you after a few km to a slight drop and what seems to be a drying up lake (SH 528 558 ). The path is a little boggy here, but only for a few steps before it pulls steeply up the heather. This is NOT marked on the map, where the path stops at the labelling Sheepfold and turns south west. It levels a while, before joining another, larger track on an obvious path up the mountain.
Unfortunately, illegal scrambler bikes have made an absolute mess of the first section of path that used to snake gently upwards. You can still follow the snaking path, but must cross the destruction left in the wake of the motorbikes. See this blog entry for further information on how to stop illegal scrambling in the National Park. The first steep pull ends at an old mineshaft, and thankfully, the path beyond is reasonably good (but how long before this too is destroyed?) and goes straight and steeply upwards.
The cliffs dominate the view to the left, and this really is a hidden gem. I think that the evening light that this cwm will receive does make it much more scenic. So think of doing this later in the day for best impact.
The path becomes fainter as you reach the top, where you will need to bear right to find the summit (check map for a bearing in mist). Being so isolated, probably the most solitary summit in Snowdonia, the views are superb. The Nantlle dominate one aspect, while the taller summits of Northern Eyri form a horrizon so crammed with mountains it could be Scotland. Today they were snowcapped, and reasonably clear. The new building on Snowdon also has its glass in, as that reflected in the evening light.
Descent is by the same route, but you can follow a line of cairns directly from the summit, presumably to keep you on a bearing away from the cliffs. In poor visibility, you’ll be wise to take a bearing just in case!
Finally, you can follow the path to the very minor summit of Moel Smytho, a decent viewpoint for such modest height, before following the obvious track back to the farm and to the minor r
More Posts By This Author
- Snowdonia’s Best Kept Trail Running Secret? Uwchgwyfai Common - 0.0km
- Mynydd Mawr from Rhosgadfan Trip Report - 1.1km
- Pompren and Tryfan Junction from Waunfawr WHR Station - 1.2km
- Waunfawr Circular Walk from the Welsh Highland Railway - 1.2km
- The Bryngwyn Path from Tryfan Junction to Moel Tryfan and Waunfawr - 1.5km
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