From the outside the Rhinogau (or Rhinogs) can easily be missed. the craggy valleys and deep heather offer a great challenge for the most seasoned hill walker, some say the heather is so deep you could even lose a person in it! So what makes the Rhinogs so appealing? For many its the quiet tranquility of the range, its certainly not uncommon to go two days without meeting a single person. That being said the range is growing in popularity for Mountain Leaders and wild campers, its not hard to see why!
The single platform of Talsarnau train station marks the beginning of the adventure. Heading east you will find a number of good paths that lead to Cwm Bychan and the roman steps, there you will start to get a feel for the Rhinogs and why they are so popular.
For me Llyn Ddu is where the beauty of the Rhinogs really starts to become apparent. Scree slopes, wild heather and slabs of rock are found at every angle providing a great spot to grab a break before the going gets tougher.
The summit of Rhinog Fawr is a small rocky plateau marked with a trig point, from this marker you head east following a path down to easier ground, about halfway height you turn south and head into Bwlch Drws-Ardudwy. From the Bwlch you can choose your approach. The easier approach is to follow the path south towards Llyn Cwmhosan and walk up towards Llyn Hywel. The tougher way is to move South-East and take the more direct approach to the summit of Rhinog Fach, the path is much harder going and the deep heather can bring even the strongest of walkers to a standstill.
At the foot of Rhinog Fach you will find the stunning Llyn Hywel, flanked by two 700m peaks you will be treated to a great spot to wild camp and rest for the night. The next day is going to be just as big so ensure you get lots of rest.
The walk out to Yr Llethr is hard going on the legs and after a number of miles the day before you will certainly be feeling the weight of your pack. At the summit of Yr Llethr stay on the wall and follow it to Diffwys (750m). Looking north from the summit of Diffwys you get a great view of Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach
From Diffwys the going is much easier and a wall will lead the way to the end. In bad weather it is possible to get disorientated and follow one of the many sections of wall that lead away from the true path, keeping your map handy will be essential.
At the end of the Rhinogs you will reach Barmouth. The noisy streets and traffic of the town are a sharp contrast to the tranquility of the Rhinogau and will be a shock to the senses.
Barmouth train station will mark the end of the serenity and the end of your journey, after two days of stomping through heather and camping in the wild you come down a slightly calmer person, that is providing you don’t miss your train.
Note from the Author – The Rhinogs are a beautiful range of mountains that offer some of the most adventurous walking and wild camping available, this however is always under threat from man and woman kind. Ensuring that you leave no trace when out in the hills must always be at the forefront of your decision making and you should never leave litter or light fires while in the mountains. I’m sure you would agree that the views would not be the same with an energy bar wrapper blowing in the wind or a fire circle branded into the floor at Llyn Hywel. Please respect this ethos when visiting our beautiful mountains.
About the Author.
My name is Matt Cooper and I am a Mountain Leader and Climbing Instructor based in the Midlands. I offer guided walks, navigation courses and climbing/scrambling courses in North Wales and the Peak District. Follow my page for more information or visit www.mountainmatt.co.uk.