Nantlle Ridge


Three Dad’s with a day off and all of Snowdonia to choose from. Well…we promised we’d be back for lunch so a shortish walk on the western edge of the hills seemed sensible. Fortunately the Shandy Sherpa was a man with a plan – a way to make a circular walk out of part of the Nantlle ridge. I’d never walked any of the ridge before, so was very excited by the prospect.


I was slightly less excited, however, when we climbed out of the car, parked just above Rhyd Ddu, and I saw how steep the initial climb was going to be. Distractions abounded in the hedgerow fortunately – like this navelwort or wall penny-cress. As we set off, on a good path, across the edge of a moss which borders Llyn y Gader, a bird of prey flew over, about the size of a buzzard, but it seemed to me much paler than a buzzard, or at least unusually pale for a buzzard. We saw it again, or another very similar bird, much later as we were dropping down from the hills towards forestry. It was hovering over the hillside, then flew, on raised wings like a buzzard does, over the trees before landing and perching in one of the trees. I took lots of photos, none of them are very clear or definitive, but they show a fairly long rounded and barred tail, long narrow primaries (not like a buzzards ‘fingers’) and I think that it was a female or juvenile hen harrier – which would explain why I didn’t know what it was at the time, since I haven’t knowingly seen one before.


Llyn y Gader and Yr Aran




The Adopted Yorkshireman and The Shandy Sherpa. Moel Hebog behind.


Mynydd Mawr.

The view of Anglesea beyond Mynydd Mawr was excellent but the photo doesn’t really capture it. In fact the views in every direction were fabulous. The fact that both of my companions seem to have an uncanny ability to reel-off the names of distant hills seen from any hill-top anywhere certainly helps. Away from the Lakes I’m pretty useless. I’m not so gullible as to think that they are always right (especially as they will correct themselves as the day goes on and new vistas open up) but at least they can express an opinion. The air was clear and we could pick out hills on Ireland.

We drove beneath that pale brown square on the slopes of Mynydd Mawr later and improbably a tractor with huge wide chunky-tyred wheels was dragging a plough or a harrow or something of that ilk down the very steep slope. It looked worryingly like more forestry might be being planted here.


The Nantlle Ridge.


Mynydd Drws-y-coed

Although I haven’t been this way before I knew that the Nantlle Ridge has a reputation as a fine walk and it is a very well deserved reputation. After the broad summit of Y Garn, Mynydd Drws-y-coed was, for me, the highlight. There was nice easy scrambling to be had, if desired, and some dramatic situations of the ‘ethical line’ was pursued (see top of post).


English stonecrop.


Looking back to Y Garn.


This moth was clinging to the soil between to rocks on the path. I can’t find anything quite like it in my field guide.


Trum y Ddysgl


 Snowdon (again).


Approaching the top of Mynydd Drws-y-coed.

Lengthy stops are always a feature of any walk with the SS and the AYM. This walk was no exception. We’d lunched (an early one – perhaps brunch) on Y Garn. On Mynydd Drws-y-coed the boys tried to put names to all of the hills in the Rhinogs, I lay down and enjoyed the sunshine.


 Looking back at Mynydd Drws-y-coed.


 Carnedd goch and Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd – we left these for another day.


 Another view of Y-Garn and Mynydd Drws-y-coed.


 Picking bilberries on the descent.


 Juicy fruit.


The stream which flows down Cwm Marchnad – not named on the OS map – might make an interesting alternative approach.

Nantlle Ridge

12 thoughts on “Nantlle Ridge

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It really is a great walk. The bilberries were so plentiful too – we’re just back from a trip to France, partly spent in the Voges, where bilberries are a local speciality and all fo the bushes seemed to have been virtually stripped bare.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks Martin – I used to visit Snowdonia a lot and it’s pretty criminal that I haven’t been this way before – it’s a spectaculalry good route.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Yes – we didn’t try the pub at the bottom – our promise of ‘back for lunch’ had become ‘back for 4 o’ clock’ already. We made a tactical decision that arriving back later still with a whiff of booze on our breaths might not have been diplomatic…
      Still – it means I feel duty bound to go back to investigate!
      (Any excuse)

      1. The pub is definitely a “stay for a while” pub – log fires, local real ales and excellent food. Whiled away many a happy hour there! Going back to investigate is definitely your duty!

  1. Twas a fine day indeed and an excellent route. I still think we should have followed the advice given by the Daylight Gambler and had a cheeky beer in the pub – might have ended they day with my appendages in a jar on the mantlepiece though. I had a cracking meal in there when I first did the ridge in 1984 – might have changed hands a few times since then! My post is coming to a surfnslide blog near you shortly.

  2. […] ED in his post has accused me and EWO of just making it up – I’m outraged. I may not have a bloody clue but I never make things up. Well almost never. Actually I make alot of stuff up. My kids don’t believe a word I say any more. Never forgiven me for convincing them that Trig Pillars have salami inside them. […]

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