I have been fortunate enough to visit Snowdonia on multiple occasions, but each time, unfortunate with the weather forecast. I think it was my 6th visit before I actually had decent hiking conditions there, however, it was pretty damn worth the wait. While a must-do climb to the top of Snowdon is one of the highlights of a typical trip to Snowdonia, the place is so vast that there is so much more to see than climbing the world's busiest mountain.
I recently came back from a multi-day hike on the tops, what turned out to be a 'peak-bagging' first day, beginning and ending at the Ogwen Valley. I was remarkably surprised how amazing it was, it reminded me of certain hikes I had done over in New Zealand and just as scenic. I was due to return home after this first overnight, but with the weather forecast looking so good and promising, I refused to leave, packing my essentials once more for another overnight somewhere lesser-known.
I wanted to see a part of Snowdonia that was 'off-the-grid' so to speak. I had been researching for weeks on images taken around Snowdonia and a place that had really stuck with me was the Rhinog Mountains. Located in Mid-wales, the Rhinogs provided a challenge in the form of 700+m peaks, with fantastic views out to the west and alpine lakes at their base; a perfect final night to end my trip.
Beginning the trip off the main road, driving across farmland through gateways and entrances, I reached a quiet car park and began walking. My route began through thick pine forest, until heading into the valley separation Rhinog Fach and Rhinog Fawr. I looped round the back of Rhinog Fach, reaching the shores of Llyn Hywel, a scenic alpine lake situated at the mountains base. From here I still hadn't decided whether to ascend Rhinog Fach and camp at the summit or to the lesser-known, Y Llethr which is some 30m higher than Rhinog Fach. I opted for the latter, a gutsy 30 minute climb in heat I hadn't known possible in these parts, until finally reach the crest of the top. More like a table-top, the summit provided incredible views of both the rhinogs, an aerial view of Llyn Hywel but more so incredible scenes out to the West Coast of Wales. I pitched my tent and set camp up for the evening, hoping the sunset would top off what has been an incredible trip thus far.
Sometimes, just sometimes you are in the right place at the right time; that evening just happened to be the case. I'd been told that sunsets in Snowdonia are some of the most incredible you can see in the whole of the UK; I can now vouch for that statement. I won't say anymore, I think the images say more than I ever could.
An early morning start, descending down from Y Llethr and then ascending Rhinog Fach, the last summit before making the homeward-bound journey. It was pretty epic seeing the opposing view of LLyn Hywel and Y Llethr from where I had camped that previous night.
If you are looking for somewhere different and perhaps a Snowdonia-based trip, the Rhinog Mountains could be the answer! There are some amazing places to see and visit throughout Snowdonia, research is key and I'm sure you will find somewhere different from the well-known!
Until next time...