Rough walking in glorious scenery. This is how the Rhinogs are normally described and this walk, which includes Rhinog Fach and the highest mountain in the range Y Llethr, typifies this.
I do think walking in the Rhinogs is for the more experienced walker. It is largely trackless and where there are paths they are often of little help. Being able to navigate is important but even more is a confidence in your own ability not to worry if things feel wrong. I first walked the Rhinogs on a school trip in the ’80s and my memories are of a slog. I seem to remember the weather was not great either.
Having said that the Rhinogs offer a memorable day and for an experienced walker a day that is a mountaineers delight. I only tackled two of the three main mountains in the range, Y Llethr and Rhinog Fach, but they make for a memorable circuit of the desolate but beautiful Llyn Hywel. Rhinog Fawr does stand on its own to the north with a low col between, but for those keen to complete them all on a single visit I have marked the route.
Y Llethr is a pleasant grassy summit area. It is completely different to the rest of the walk and perfect for a leisurely lunch.
It is very easy on rocky, steep slopes to underestimate how long it will take and end on a wrong facing slope. It is also important to look carefully at the map and look for slopes that look too steep. Certainly where any contours merge on the 1.25,000 O/S maps these slopes are to be avoided. Even where you can see a gap on the contours look for the rocks marked and scree slopes. At best such slopes are difficult.
Using a compass will keep you in roughly the correct direction but not necessarily the safest. Much of the navigational work is done ‘on the ground’. Micro navigation.
The walk details do not include the climb and return of Rhinog Fawr. It is an extra 400 metres from the bealach. Choose the route carefully over the steep ground and rocky outcrops.
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