Around Rhaeadr-fawr

On Saturday we had planned a hill walk in North Wales but the weather forecast was for thunder, lightening, heavy rain and strong winds in the early part of the day clearing up by the afternoon as the weather front progressed northward.

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As we sat in the cafe in Abergwyngregyn we watched a mini torrent flowing down the street as driving rain continued to fall.  By 12.30pm we decided to brave the weather and do a less ambitious walk skirting around the head of Rhaeadr-fawr better known in English as the Aber Falls.

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It is suggested that Llywelyn the Great, one of the last native Prince of Wales who was born in 1194, held court around Abergwyngregyn.  The village’s name translates into English as ‘The Mouth of the River of White Shells’.

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We took the path from Bont Newydd through a forest by the fast flowing Afon Rhaeadr-fawr and then a rising track along a wide span of scree around 300 feet high.  The screes are said to date from the last ice age formed following frost erosion of Bera Mawr and Bera Bach which translate as the ‘Large Haystack’ and Small Haystack’.

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Following the scree slope the path carried on through boggy and rock scattered valleys with mosses and rough grasses.

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Ahead of us were an expanding view of the northern Carneddau mountain range – Foel Fras, Drum, Bera Bach and Drosgl.  These are more ‘grassy’ mountains with rocky outcrops unlike many of the more rock strewn peaks elsewhere in Snowdonia.

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Had we kept on the path you can climb all the way to the major peak of Carnedd Llywelyn some five or so miles away.

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Looking northward there were good views of the Irish Sea and the south eastern tip of the Isle of Anglesey.

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We took a bearing right crossing a number of streams draining off the hillsides and up and down over a couple of minor valleys.

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The slopes were covered with bilberry and bracken which sapped our energy as we traversed the slopes emerging to the right of the Aber Falls or in Welsh Rhaeadr-fawr which means ‘Big Waterfall’.

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The water falls 120 feet (36.5m) over the hard igneous rock of granophyre at Creigiau Rhaeadr-fawr.

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By the time we got here it was the best part of the day with warm sunshine on our backs as we headed down the valley back to Bont Newydd.

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