Walking the Rivals   14 comments

On our trip to Towyn last year I fashioned an escape plan for ED, EWO and myself to take on a walk in Snowdonia. We had a superb day on the Nantlle Ridge and so on this years Towyn trip we hatched plans to do the same again. We were up early at 7am but the weather was dank, grey and dreary, ED and me discussed the possibility of it clearing and whether we should go for it anyway but seeing as the normally mad keen EWO was nowhere to be seen (he later “claimed” he was awake and just waiting for us to knock on the door of his van – yeah right!) we bailed out and went back to bed. The day wasn’t a total loss as we went to Beaumaris castle later in the day which turned into a mighty fine day.

With our walking itch remaining unscratched we needed another plan. On my last day before I went home we decided to take the keen kids out for a walk. In previous years we’ve always been up Carn Fadryn, a storming little hill that the whole posse including the little ones have climbed. This year we decided it was time to try The Rivals as they dominate the view to the east and by all accounts are fabulous hills.

Leaving some of the kids to play on the beach and some to visit Portmerion with one of the Beach Funsters a small select band set off for the hills.


Yr Eifl from the car park

We parked up at the large parking area just beyond Mount Pleasant on the road to the Welsh National Language Centre. It’s pretty much 1000 feet up so less than 1000 feet to the top, ideal for a gentle stroll with the kids (and more importantly to allow lots of time for stops and lazing about which is my want these days). Rather than head straight to the main summit of Yr Eifl we thought we’d take in the smaller summit of Tre’r Ceiri first. We (well me and EWO) headed off up the slopes and made a line for this lower summit.


On the right path


Going wrong…

Well that’s what we told ourselves. Neglecting to bring a map we soon discovered we were in fact on a path to the main summit and what we originally thought was Tre’r Ceiri turned out to be the somewhat insignificant pimple of Caergribin. An easy mistake to make of course even if doesn’t posess a contour to call its own. ED was marshalling the kids at the back and as is his way took the pish mercilessly and grumbled bitterly at the 1/4 mile of deep heather and bog we had to traverse to get to the path we should have been on in the first place.


Off piste

All part of life’s learning curve is my excuse and I’m sticking to it along with blaming EWO as he never reads my blog so he can’t argue 🙂

Once we were back on track we could see that Tre’r Ceiri is a significant presence with around 400 feet of ascent to the top and it looked mighty interesting.


Tre’r Ceiri

There was a good albeit steep path through the broken rocks and scree that smother these hills. I’d read it had and iron age hill fort on the top but what I hadn’t read was how magnificent it was. There is similar settlement on Carn Fadryn but all that remains are a few low remnants of walls. Here the walls were, in a word, massive, at least in girth being  a good couple of metres thick and nearly the same in height in places. The whole summit area is covered in numerous lines of old buildings and enclosures with the whole summit enclosed by the massive outer wall. The information boards said the wall was up to 4 metres high originally, although how they know that is a mystery. Whatever, this is a truly breathtaking site and yet it seems pretty much obscure. I’ve paid hard cash to visit iron-age monuments a whole lot less impressive. Echoing the comments in EDs report of the day you really need to see this place so make sure you take it in on any walk in these hills and take time to explore, its awesome.


ED and A scrambling on the ramparts


Gyrn Ddu, Gryn Goch and Bwlch Mawr

We had an early lunch amongst the summit rocks before pressing on to the main summit. After exiting the walls through a hole which may or may not have been an original entry/exit way, we found a very thin path through the rocks.


Yr Eifl main summit


The main outer wall

It turned out to be an excellent path all the way to the summit of Yr Eifl threading its way through the rocks and boulders.


Looking back to Tre’r Ceiri

The weather had promised good things but it had been intermittently grey all morning with even a few spots of rain but at the summit some hazy sunshine appeared and the views were just magnificent.


Approaching the summit, Lleyn Peninsula behind

There is nothing to beat coastal mountains and Yr Eifl is spectacular in this regard. Perched immediately above the sea the views straight down to Trefor are magnificent and those out along the Lleyn Peninsula with both coasts and of course Carn Fadryn even better. The views extended across the whole of Snowdonia so we could play the timeless game of peak spotting/naming and across Cardigan Bay to the Pembrokeshire coast.


Across Cardigan Bay to the Rhinogs

The nearby hills of Gyrn Ddu, Gryn Goch and Bwlch Mawr looked intriguing for another walk in this neglected area. The small un-named peak next to Yr Eifl promises an even better coastal viewpoint but we decided to save that for another day (there is an excellent video on youtube here of a stroll over that one if you’re interested)

We had an extended lunch just down from the summit trig pillar intriguingly topped with a “4” not unlike those Channel 4 graphics, no idea what it was for.


The Trig Pillar “4”

ED enlivened and amused the event by sitting on an ant’s nest and getting several formic nips in his unmentionable regions for his trouble. I can sit on summits for hours with food and good company. Alas the kids get restless pretty quickly and wanted to be off down and back to the beach for more play.


The summit party

We strode back down to the car the walking itch scratched, even if EDs ant bites needed more. A super outing and one enjoyed by all the kids as well as the adults. Thank you for the days……

14 responses to “Walking the Rivals

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  1. Grumble? Qui moi? Surely not. I’m well-known to be of a sunny disposition and with unflappable optimism.
    I really like the summit panning video in your slideshow. My camera only seems to produce really grainy blurred videos. Might help if I actually read the instructions, however.
    Top quality hills those.


  2. I just love that song 🙂
    Your days out always look like loads of fun, but I suppose there’s always one who’ll grumble about anything…


  3. A splendid outing. The Eifls have been on our to-do list for several years now, including Bwlch Mawr and Gryn Ddu, trouble is it’s not easy to devise a good natural route including them all.
    The view of Yr Eifl from the coast at Nefyn is superb.


    • Can’t belive I’ve been 15 minutes away from these hills for the past 7 years and only just got round to them. A trip back in time and some stupendous and airy coastal views, what could be finer.

      A long traverse across The Rivals and Bwlch Mawr/Gyrn Ddu would be a magnificent trip but probably need a car at each end or some useful public transport. The summit of Yr Eifl would make a fine summer bivvy site to watch the sun go down


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