Rhobell Fawr (a volcanic walk)

Rhobell Fawr (a volcanic walk)

Rhobell Fawr, one of the ancient volcanoes of North Wales, makes for an enjoyable and scenic mountain walk. This ancient extinct volcano stands a little over 2400 ft high. The ascent took us about 2 hours, so leave between 4 and 5 hours for this complete walk, including the bridle-path loops. Our walk starts from the village of Llanfachreth, just north of Dolgellau. Whilst there are no particularly exposed climbs on this walk, you will still require good mountain attire and decent navigational skills.

Sometimes the mountain views are obscured by the weather, which often changes in a few minutes – so have hope 🙂

Sometimes the weather locks those views away from you - but that might change in an instance.
Sometimes the weather locks those views away from you – but that might change in an instance.

Park at Llanfachreth, we used the car park on the eastern side of the old school. Walk back to the other-side of the school and on to the bridle-path. This bridleway is in good condition and any horse riders might like to explore this and the old mountain path through Bwlch Goriwared – providing they don’t mind the many gates. Back to our walk, follow the bridleway uphill, across a stoned drive section and in to woodland before exiting again on to the old Bwlch Goriwared lane (now a non-maintained path). Proceed northwards along the path until cresting the rise by some sheepfolds. Cross the wall on your right by way of a ladder stile just north of the sheepfolds. Now head uphill along a lightly used path, keeping the well maintained stone wall to your right. The summit of Rhobell Fawr is initially obscured from your view, but stick with the path and wall for about 2 miles as it climbs its meandering way up the mountainside.

Meandering up Rhobell Fawr
Meandering up Rhobell Fawr

You are nearing the summit as the wall starts to kick to the left and soon afterwards you should spot the summit trig point on your left. By way of a reminder about the need for mountain-wear; when we walked in mid-December it was 5C with the lightest of breezes in Llanfachreth village – on the summit the wind chill was -12C, definitely worthy of a woolly bonnet, etc!

The summit of Rhobell Fawr -12C windchill and still a smiling Tamsin.
The summit of Rhobell Fawr -12C windchill and still a smiling Tamsin.

Descend from Rhobell Fawr by the way you ascended, back to the track at Bwlch Goriwared. The views around are extensive with Cadair Idris to one side, Snowdon in the distance on the other side; between the two, views over Coed y Brenin to the Rhinogs and even the west coast. Definitely worth taking a moment to stand and stare.

Coed y Brenin, Rhinogs and beyond from Rhobell Fawr
Coed y Brenin, Rhinogs and beyond from Rhobell Fawr

Once back at the old track, do not retrace your earlier route, instead turn right and descend a little way in to Coed-y-Brenin. Keep left where the track splits and soon after turn left, steeply up a way-posted path. Whilst marked as bridle-path, the combination of rough going combined with later bogs would dissuade me from venturing up this section with an equine friend. After a short sharp climb the path emerges from woodland on to the open and sometimes boggy mountainside of Cerniau. The indistinct path heads almost directly southwards towards the corner of further forestry. We were lucky enough to spot two groups of deer whilst crossing this section.

Rhobell Fawr from Cerniau
Rhobell Fawr from Cerniau

The views ahead towards Cadair Idris, Nannau & Precipice walk can be quite striking too.

Llyn Cynwch (precipice walk) from Cerniau
Llyn Cynwch (precipice walk) from Cerniau

Now descend, continuing southerly and keeping the stone wall / fence-line to your left. Eventually the path will become a stoned track and then finally emerge on to a tarmac drive that will lead you back down to Llanfachreth. In the village turn left and follow the road back to your starting position. A pleasant walk of 7 to 8 miles and over 2000 ft of climb. We had certainly built up a good appetite for our lunch when we got home; perhaps this is a good walk for Christmas week.

Altitude:

RhobellFawr-walkprofile
RhobellFawr-walkprofile

Map:

Gallery:

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