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Secret Mountains Series | Moel Ysgyfarnogod

Published on 31 May 2021 by Gwion Llwyd

Step into the wild heart of Snowdonia to explore this hidden gem. Off the beaten track, and a great alternative to Snowdon & the busier peaks of North Wales. Moel Ysgyfarnogod is the most northerly of the Rhinog mountains.

Introducing Moel Ysgyfarnogod

Translated into English, the name of this remote Snowdonia peak means bare hill of the hares. It is rugged, heathery, grassy terrain, cut by streams and lakes. You can see why the hares might like it.

The Rhinogs are notoriously wild and tricky mountains, and a Rhinog mile typically takes twice as long as you might expect it to. That said, Moel Ysgyfarnogod is definitely one of the easier Rhinog peaks to conquer.

The uphill effort is worth it. From the summit, you will have the most uplifting panoramic views.  Look north to Snowdon and the Nantlle ridge, east to Llyn Trawsfynydd, south to the rocky Rhinog summits – as far as Cader Idris on a clear day, and west down to the Llŷn peninsula and the coast.

Moel Ysgyfarnogod is within striking distance of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Harlech, Criccieth and Beddgelert.

Secret Mountains Series | Moel Ysgyfarnogod

Moel Ysgyfarnogod and the Rhinogs

The Rhinogs are a chain of low mountains which stand sentry at the south western edge of Snowdonia. One of the most rugged upland landscapes in Britain, it is beautiful, remote and very, very peaceful.

It could also inspire a new Farrow and Ball palette with the lilacs, greys, mossy greens and big blues offered up by the heather, rock, grasslands, skies and sea.

The word ‘rhinog’ translates as ‘threshold’, but this is no man-made passing place. The hills are notoriously quiet and uncrossed by any road. Most of the vegetation management is done by sheep and a population of wild goats.

Yes, you might see a few remote farmsteads, and now and then you might walk along the remains of old drovers’ or miners’ routes, but it’s quite possible to spend a whole day up here without seeing another human soul.

Men and women have walked these hills for millennia. To the north west of the Moel Ysgyfarnogod summit lies Bryn Cader Faner, one of the finest examples of a Bronze Age cairn in Britain. It is thought to date from the third millennia BC.

Route up

The easiest way up is from the hamlet of Eisingrug, to the west of Moel Ysgyfarnogod.

Start from ‘road end’ near the small hamlet of Eisingrug. From here, you can follow a gently ascending grassy track most of the way up to the summit. The track twists between a series of small lakes or llyns (Llyn Eiddew Mawr, Llyn Eiddew Bach and Llyn Du) and continues up to the craggy face of the peak. The last part of the walk is a steepish scramble up grass to the summit. Follow the same route for your descent.

Alternative routes start from the east of the summit, close to Llyn Trawsfynydd.

Mountain Safety

All the usual safety advice applies: never go into the mountains without the right gear. Our bare minimum recommendations would be waterproofs, spare layers, food, water, gloves, hat / sun hat (and sun cream if you are climbing in summer), map, compass, mobile phone and whistle. Make sure you check the weather before you depart, and if possible, tell someone at home which route you intend to take and what time you expect to finish. You should always thoroughly research your route so that you have the best possible idea of what to expect.

Stay in a cottage near Moel Ysgyfarnogod

Looking for somewhere to stay nearby? Check out our selection of beautiful holiday cottages near Harlech. Alternatively, Moel Ysgyfarnogod is a short drive from Blaenau Ffestiniog, Criccieth and Beddgelert.

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