The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday 31 December 2014

Rhobell Fawr and Craig y Castell

31 December 2014

Rhobell Fawr (SH787257; 734m)


I completely missed Rhobell Fawr when I was planning for this trip and even when I did notice it on the map a couple of days ago, I dismissed it as being too difficult to get to. Looking over to it from yesterday’s tops, it didn’t look far away at all, and when I looked more closely at the map last evening, I realised that we were, in fact, almost perfectly placed to pop up it today. Even better, an exploration of the 1:25k map told me that there is only one obvious route up it* (accessible from two local road-ends) and, with that route following a wall, I guessed that there would be good trodden line, making it a relatively easy walk.

Starting out from Llanfachreth (where there’s a good public car park, which isn’t marked on the map; it’s next to the school at SH756225), a bridle way then a by-way gave us good views of our warty-looking objective…


… and took us up to Bwlch Goriwared, where a broken (but still useable) stile gave us access to the wall which runs all the way up to within a stone’s throw of the trig point. As expected, there was a trodden line (not an eroded scar; just an obvious trod), and as an added bonus there was only one small boggy bit. Not only an attractive hill, but another one which has proved to be a joy to walk too!

Even though the wind had picked up another notch or three today, we were sheltered most of the way, and it wasn’t until we reached the trig that the real staggering around started:


The cloud was a bit lower than yesterday too and although we counted ourselves lucky that our top (which stands at 705m) was well below the cloud, it did curtail the views which would have been stunning on any of the last three days. This snap is looking in the same direction as the one in yesterday’s post – towards the mouth of the Mawddach.


Our return route bore a remarkable resemblance to our outward one and (thanks to our earlyish start, designed to avoid the strongest of the winds, which were forecast for the afternoon) we were back at Colin (being accosted by chickens who pecked at my shoes; maybe they knew I was having eggs for lunch?) before noon.

Craig y Castell (SH698162; 321m)


With the day still young and the cloud still high (even if the wind was getting stronger), after lunch we headed over to Craig y Castell, where I left Mick in Colin** as I nipped out to visit this little summit, which stands at just 321m.

My slight handicap was that I had intended walking to this top from Dolgellau, and thus had pored over aerial photos to find a feasible route from the east. In the event, I found myself starting immediately south of  the summit, with no knowledge as to how best to approach.

After I’d walked around to the west side of the hill in search of a way up, I counted myself lucky that no-one stopped me from trespassing across a field so as to get from the bridleway to the access land, and that no-one witnessed me stepping over a fence a short while later. I’m also pretty sure that no-one saw me climb over a wall at the top (for the avoidance of doubt, I was very careful not to cause any damage to any of those obstacles). A mile after setting out, I was on the top, looking over to Foel Offrwm (yesterday afternoon’s top) and Rhobell Fawr (that’s the highest bit, just right of centre in the snap below):


I was also being blown all over the place, so without further ado (and having failed, despite my best efforts, to spot any proper crossing point) back over the wall I went, then back over the fence, followed soon after by a repeat trespass across the field. I did meet the farmer on my way from there to Colin and he proved to be a friendly chap, so I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded my actions.

The stats today were 7 miles walked with 2000’ of ascent this morning and 2.1 miles with 600’ of up this afternoon.

(*Well, it seemed to me that there was only one obvious route up. I’ve now looked at and it seems that it’s not the route taken by the majority of baggers on there!

** The car park in question has a charge of £5. I was only going to be an hour! Fortunately, Mick needed no persuading to stay behind with a cup of tea and his book.)


  1. It's sometimes difficult to know around that part of Wales, whether you're trespassing or not, or whether you're on the path you planned to use.

    By coincidence, I once walked Rhobell Fawr from Llanfacreth: went wrong on the way up but got to the top eventually; came down by a different route and went wrong again. Next time I was in the same area, I walked across to Dduallt and made another error on the return and nearly couldn't find the car.

    I'd like to go back and try again but I'm not so sure it would have a happy outcome. Happy New Year.

    1. Happy New Year to you too.

      As I had a 1:25k map on my person (which is rare, for me), showing both the rights of way and the access land, I would have struggled, if challenged, to claim that I didn't know that I was trespassing. Of course, knowing where the access land and field boundaries lie is all very well, but it doesn't help with knowing where the gateways/stiles (if any) lie!

  2. Finding routes up Marilyns often proves to be a bit of a challenge which is part of the attraction for me. The 1:25000 map is a great help if you have it but I am usually relying on the 1:50000.

    Like you, I have sometimes researched other people's routes on the hill-bagging site, but they can be vague. I'm glad to see you are getting the Ms bug and look forward to your future exploits.

    1. Whilst the descriptions on hill-bagging are generally short and vague, I'm finding those which give a start-point and general direction are sufficiently helpful (even if I do then look at the map and decide to go a completely different way!).

      I'm also looking forward to my future exploits ... I've been researching the Isle of Wight ferry this afternoon!

  3. Been there - done the Ms. See my post, 23rd April 2013. Watch out for diabolical road surfaces.

    1. Your reference to 'the Marilyns' (plural) had me go and revisit the Isle of Wight. I'd only spotted the one, thanks to a cluster of potential-Colin-parking markers on my map covering the other. Good job you commented, or I might have gone to all the expense and trouble of getting to the Isle only to find that I'd left one unticked (I would say 'unclimbed' except that I see that it's next to a road!).

  4. Nice one Gayle. I've not been to either of those summits. Does Craig y Castell have a new 23 metre cairn on its summit? [Must be impressive.]
    Enjoy the IoW...

    1. The Craig y Castell I was on has absolutely nothing on its summit.