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Title: Climbing in The British Isles, Vol. II - Wales and Ireland
Author: Hart, H. C., Smith, W. P. Haskett
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Climbing in The British Isles, Vol. II - Wales and Ireland" ***

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  CLIMBING IN THE BRITISH ISLES
  _WALES AND IRELAND_



  CLIMBING IN THE BRITISH ISLES

  _3 vols. 16mo. Sold separately._


  I.--ENGLAND. By W. P. HASKETT SMITH, M.A.,
    Member of the Alpine Club. With 23
    Illustrations by Ellis Carr, Member of the
    Alpine Club, and 5 Plans. 3_s._ 6_d._


  II.--WALES AND IRELAND. By W. P. HASKETT SMITH,
    M.A., and H. C. HART, Members of the Alpine
    Club. With 31 Illustrations by ELLIS CARR and
    others, and 9 Plans. 3_s._ 6_d._


  III.--SCOTLAND.

[_In preparation._]


London and New York: LONGMANS, GREEN, & CO.



  CLIMBING
  IN
  THE BRITISH ISLES

  _II--WALES AND IRELAND_

  =WALES=

  BY W. P. HASKETT SMITH, M.A.
  Member of the Alpine Club

  =IRELAND=

  BY H. C. HART
  Member of the Alpine Club; Fellow of the Linnean Society
  Member of the Royal Irish Academy, etc.

  WITH THIRTY-ONE ILLUSTRATIONS BY
  ELLIS CARR
   Member of the Alpine Club
  _and others_
  AND NINE PLANS


  LONDON
  LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
  AND NEW YORK
  1895

  _All rights reserved_



PREFACE


The present volume is intended to deal with all parts of the British
Isles except England, which was the subject of Vol. I., and Scotland, to
which Vol. III. will be devoted. Nothing is here said about the _Isle of
Man_ or the Channel Islands, because it would, no doubt, be considered
absurd to advise anyone to visit those islands whose main object was the
acquisition of mountaineering skill. Pretty as the former island is, its
hills are nothing more than hills, except where they are also railways
or tea gardens; and even on its cliffs, which are especially fine at the
southern end, comparatively little climbing will be found.

In the _Channel Islands_, on the other hand, the granite cliffs, though
very low, being usually only 100-200 ft. high, abound in instructive
scrambles. Many such will be found in Guernsey, Jersey, and especially
in Sark, but the granite is not everywhere of equally good quality.

The _Scilly Isles_, again, are by no means to be despised by climbers,
especially by such of them as can enjoy knocking about in a small boat,
which is almost the only means of getting from climb to climb. The
granite forms are somewhat wilder and more fantastic than those in the
Channel Islands. Peninnis Head is only one of many capital scrambling
grounds. An article by Dr. Treves[1] gives a very good idea of the kind
of thing which may be expected. If anyone should think of proceeding,
under the guidance of this volume, to regions with which he is so far
unacquainted, he will naturally ask how the climbing here described
compares with the climbing in other parts of Britain or of Europe. How
does Wales, for instance, stand with regard to Cumberland or the Alps?
On this point some good remarks will be found in the _Penny Magazine_,
vii., p. 161 (1838), where the writer assigns to the more northern hills
a slight superiority over Wales. An impression prevails among those who
know both that the weather of N. Wales is, if possible, more changeable
than that of the Lakes. Climbers will notice this chiefly in winter,
when the snow on the Welsh mountains less frequently settles into sound
condition. Perhaps sudden changes of temperature are partly to blame for
the greater frequency in Wales of deaths from exposure. Winter climbing
is very enjoyable, but proper precautions must be taken against the
cold. A writer on Wales some 300 years ago observes that 'the cold Aire
of these Mountainous Regions by an Antiperistasis keeps in and
strengthens the internall heat;' but a good woollen sweater, a warm cap
to turn down over the ears and neck, and three pairs of gloves, two
pairs on and one pair dry in the pocket, will be found quite as
effectual. Dangers, however, cease not with the setting sun, and many
who have defied frost-bite during the day fall an easy prey to
rheumatism in bed at night. A groundless terror of the Welsh language
keeps many away from Wales. The names are certainly of formidable
appearance, and Barham's lines are hardly an exaggeration.

  [1] _Boy's Own Paper_, May 5, 1894.

    For the vowels made use of in Welsh are so few
    That the A and the E and the I, O, and U
    Have really but little or nothing to do.
    And the duty, of course, falls the heavier by far
    On the L and the H, and the N and the R.
    The first syllable PEN is pronounceable; then
    Come two LL and two HH, two FF, and an N.

But appalling words like 'Slwch Twmp' or 'Cwmtrwsgl' lose half their
venom when it is explained that W is only a way of writing OO. In spite
of its apparent complication the language is so simple and systematic
that anyone can learn enough in a quarter of an hour to enable him to
pronounce with ease and moderate accuracy any place-name with which he
is likely to meet. Irish is less regular, but wonderfully rich in
expressions for slightly varying physical features, while the Manx names
are more interesting than the hills by which they are borne.

In comparison with the Alps what was said in Vol. I. of Cumberland
applies equally well to Wales, and nearly as well to Kerry or Donegal.
The most striking peculiarity of Irish mountains is, next to the size of
the bogs, the large amount of car-driving which has to be done before
and after the day's work. But this is an intrusion on the province of
another. Old Thomas Fuller, on sitting down to write a detailed account
of Wales, which he had never seen, genially remarked that 'it matters
not how meanly skilled a writer is so long as he hath knowing and
communicative friends.' That precisely describes the Editor's position,
especially with regard to Ireland, to the treatment of which no other
man could have brought knowledge at once so wide and so accurate as Mr.
Hart. Unfortunately he, like his own 'carrabuncle,' was somewhat
elusive. After months of mysterious silence he would glide into sight,
great with solid mountaineering matter, gleaming with pearls of botany
and gems of geologic lore; but, alas! in another moment the waters of
bronchitis, or influenza, or inertia would close over the mysterious
monster's back, and he would glide away into unknown depths where the
harpoon of the penny post was harmless and telegrams tickled him in
vain. Now the carrabuncle is caught at last, and readers will be well
repaid for a few months' delay. They will be astonished that one pair of
eyes could take in so much, and that one pair of legs could cover so
much ground.

Among many other 'knowing and communicative friends' the Editor would
especially dwell on his indebtedness to Mr. F. H. Bowring and to Mr. O.
G. Jones. The latter has contributed the whole of the section dealing
with the Arans and Cader Idris, and his minute knowledge of that region
will be evident from the fact that the quantity which our space has
allowed us to print represents less than half of the matter originally
supplied by him.

For most of the sketches we are again indebted to Mr. Ellis Carr, for a
striking view of Tryfaen to Mr. Colin Phillips, and for the remainder
(taken under most cruel conditions of weather) to Mr. Harold Hughes of
Bangor.

                                                  W. P. H. S.

  _August 1895._



CLIMBING IN THE BRITISH ISLES



WALES

WHERE TO STAY


=Aber.=--This station on the Chester and Holyhead Railway is in no sense
a centre for mountaineers, though a good deal of work _may_ be done from
it. We ourselves 'in our hot youth, when George the Third was King,' and
a dozen miles extra tramping at the end of a day was a mere trifle,
managed to do many of the mountains of North Wales from it.

Its only attraction is a pretty valley, at the head of which are some
not very striking waterfalls. The surrounding rocks have, however, been
the scene of a surprising number of accidents. Most of these have been
caused by slipping on the path which crosses the steep slope of the
eastern bank and leads to the head of the main fall. Such was the fatal
accident on April 13, 1873, to Mr. F. T. Payne, a barrister. His sight
was very defective, and this fact goes far towards accounting for the
accident.[2]

  [2] The _Times_, April 16, 1873, p. 6.

In 1876 a very similar case occurred. A young man called Empson, who was
staying at Llanfairfechan, was killed in descending, apparently at the
very same spot.[3]

  [3] The _Times_, September 9, 1876, p. 8.

In April 1885 Mr. Maitland Wills, described as an expert mountaineer,
while walking with two friends from Capel Curig to Aber, fell near the
same spot, and was instantly killed.[4]

  [4] _Ibid._ April 7, 1885, p. 7.

In August of the same year Mr. Paget, the Hammersmith Police Magistrate,
fell and was severely hurt.[5] And these by no means exhaust the list of
casualties, which is, perhaps, only second in length to that of Snowdon
itself. It may be mentioned that there is a climb or two on the west and
steeper side of the falls.

  [5] _Ibid._ August 3, 1885, p. 10.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Bala=, reached from London in about 7 hours by the Great Western line,
is a very pleasant place to stop at on entering Wales, being situated at
the foot of the finest natural sheet of water in the Principality, and
having railway facilities in three directions. By the aid of the rail
Cader Idris, the Arans, and the Rhinogs can be easily got at. For the
first mountains Dolgelly, for the second Drwsynant and Llanuwchllyn, for
the third Maentwrog would be the best stations. This is also the best
place for Arenig Fawr, which can be done on foot all the way, or better
by taking the train to Arenig station and returning by rail from
Llanuwchllyn after crossing the hill. Lord Lyttelton made Bala famous
last century. What he said of it will sufficiently appear from some
lines (long since erased by the indignant ladies of Bala) which were
once to be seen in a visitors' book here:--

    Lord Lyttelton of old gave out
    To all the world that Bala trout
    Have all the sweetness that pervades
    The laughing lips of Bala's maids.
    Which did his Lordship mean to flout?
    For fact it is that Bala trout
    (Ask any fisherman you meet)
    Are bad to catch, but worse to eat.
    O Maid of Bala, ere we part,
    'Tis mine to bind thy wounded heart;
    And in thy favour testify--
    Though seldom sweet, thou'rt never shy!

There is, however, one objection to this epigram, for the poet talks of
trout and the peer of Gwyniad; let us, therefore, hope that in regard to
the fair as well as the fish the poet's harsh judgment was equally
unsound.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Barmouth=, a capital place from which to visit the Rhinog range and
Cader Idris; and the Cambrian Railway extends the range of operations in
three directions, so that even Snowdon is within the possibilities of a
single day's excursion. There is excellent climbing practice to be had,
not only just outside the town, but actually within it.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Beddgelert= (i.e. 'Gelert's Grave') is one of the gates of Snowdonia,
and it is the gate by which the judicious will enter. It is, moreover,
perhaps the prettiest mountain resort in Wales. Penygwrhyd is more
central for climbers pure--and simple--but has no pretensions to beauty
of situation; Llanberis has its railway facilities, its quarries, and
its trippers; Bettws y Coed is delicious, but it is right away from the
mountains. For combination of the beauties of mountain, water, and
wooded plain Dolgelly is the only rival of Beddgelert. Snowdon on the
north, Moel Hebog on the west, and Cynicht and Moelwyn on the east are
enough to make the fortune of any place as a mountaineer's abode, even
if there were no Pass of Aberglaslyn close by.

The nearest station is Rhyd-ddu, on the Snowdon Ranger line, nearly 4
miles off, and it is uphill nearly all the way. To Portmadoc, on the
other hand, the distance is greater, 6 or 7 miles, but the road is
fairly level, and nearly every step of it is beautiful, both in winter
and in summer. Indeed, there was a time when winter in this romantic
village was more enjoyable than summer, for in warm weather the eye was
much obstructed by the hand which held the nose; but that was many years
ago. The ascent of Snowdon from this side used to be the most
frequented, but in the race for popularity it has long been distanced by
Llanberis. It is a good path, and easily found. The start is made along
the Carnarvon road for some three miles to the Pitt's Head; then up the
hill to the right to Llechog, and across the once dreaded Bwlch y Maen.
A more direct and very fine route leads straight up and over the ridge
of Yr Aran, joining the regular path just short of Bwlch-y-Maen. By
going up the Capel Curig some 3½ miles, and taking the turn to the
left more than half a mile beyond Llyn y Ddinas, Sir Edward Watkin's
path up Cwmyllan may be utilised; but at the cost of 3½ miles' extra
walking along the same road the far finer ascent by Cwm Dyli may be
made. This is the same as that from Penygwrhyd, but with the advantage
of including the lowest portion and waterfalls of Cwm Dyli, which are
extremely fine. The classical climbs of Snowdonia are within reach for
good walkers, but others will find abundance of opportunities for
practice within a mile or two, and for the Garnedd Goch range (which has
in it some choice bits) there is no better base. The road to Portmadoc
on the south and to Penygwrhyd on the north are not only among the most
beautiful in the kingdom, but present the most alluring of problems to
the rock climber within a stone's throw. There is a corner of the road
about 6 miles from Beddgelert where Crib Goch shows over a foot-hill of
Lliwedd, and a rocky ridge runs down from the east almost on to the
road. This ridge, though broken, bears some very choice bits, including
a certain wide, short chimney facing south.

A separate guide-book to this place (by J. H. Bransby) appeared in 1840,
and there have been several since, among the best being one published at
the modest price of one penny by Abel Heywood.

The place plays a great part in Charles Kingsley's _Two Years Ago_, and
it was at the 'Goat' Inn here that George Borrow was so furious at the
want of deference with which his utterances were received by the
company.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Benglog=, at the foot of Llyn Ogwen and the head of Nant Ffrancon, is
only second to Penygwrhyd as a climbing centre, but, unfortunately, the
accommodation is so very scanty--Ogwen Cottage, the only house, having
no more than two bedrooms--that the place is little used. For Tryfaen,
the Glyders, the Carnedds, Twll Du, and the Elider range it is
preferable to any other place, and beautiful problems are to be found by
the climber literally within a stone's throw of the door. It is about 5
miles from Bethesda station on the north and the same distance from
Capel Curig on the east, all three places being on the great Holyhead
Road. Penygwrhyd is 2 hours away, whether by road (9 miles) or over the
hill. In the latter case the shortest route is by the col which
separates Tryfaen and Glyder Fach, and then over the shoulder east of
the latter mountain. To Llanberis the way lies by Twll Du and Cwm
Patric, and though much longer than the last could probably be done in
nearly as short a time.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Bethesda= is 5 miles from Benglog, and that much further from all the
best climbing. See, however, p. 18.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Capel Curig= (600 ft. above sea level) is 5½ miles from Bettws y
Coed railway station, 4 miles from Penygwrhyd, and 5 from Benglog, is a
very good centre for strong walkers. Most of the best climbs are within
reach, but none very near. For Snowdon Penygwrhyd is much nearer;
Benglog is better for the Glyders and the Carnedds; so that, while being
pretty good for nearly all, Capel Curig is not the best starting-place
for any. It has no exclusive rights, except over Moel Siabod on the
south and the wild unfrequented district in the opposite direction,
which lies at the back of Carnedd Llewelyn.

Hutton, who visited it at the beginning of the century, calls it 'an
excellent inn in a desert.'

The Alpine Club had a meeting here in 1879.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Dinas Mawddwy=, reached by rail from Machynlleth, is a pleasant,
secluded spot amid mountainous surroundings, but not conveniently
situated for climbing anything but Aran Mawddwy. All the advantages of
the place may be equally well enjoyed from Machynlleth. Old Pennant
records how in his rash youth he used to toboggan down the peat paths of
Craig y Dinas, 'which,' says he, 'I now survey with horror.' A Welsh
bard, whose poems must have been neglected in the place, declares that
it was notable for three things--blue earth, constant rain, and hateful
people.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Dolgelly=, which ends in _-eu_ in many old books, in _-ey_ on the one
side and in _-y_ on the other of the modern railway station, and is
commonly pronounced by the residents as if it ended in _-a_, is said to
mean 'hazel dale,' a name which the place can hardly be said to live up
to. There is, however, no doubt that it is one of the prettiest places
in Wales and one of the pleasantest to stop at. In the first place the
communications are very good, for by the Great Western Railway there is
a capital service to Shrewsbury and London, while on the seaward side
the Cambrian Railway puts Barmouth and Portmadoc on the one side, and
Machynlleth and Aberystwith on the other, within easy reach. There is
good scenery on all sides of it, while for Cader Idris, the Aran
Mountains, and the Rhinog range there is no better centre. Many people
have an objection to going up and down a mountain by the same route, and
have an equal horror of the long grind round the foot of it, which is
the result of going down a different side of the mountain if you want
to return to your starting-point. At Dolgelly you enjoy the advantage of
being able to take a train to the far side of your mountain, so as to
come back over the top and straight on down to your sleeping-place. For
instance, a very fine way of doing Aran Benllyn and Aran Mawddwy is to
go by the Great Western to Llanuwchllyn and then come back along the
ridge of both mountains. In the same way one can begin a day on the
Rhinogs by rail, walking from Llanbedr or Harlech to Cwm Bychan, and so
over the Rhinogs and Llethr, and down to Dolgelly again. Even Cader
Idris is rendered more enjoyable if the train be taken to Towyn and
Abergynolwyn, whence the walk by Talyllyn and up to the summit by way of
Llyn y Cae is in turn pretty and impressive. As a rule it is far better
to go out by train and come back on foot than to reverse the process,
and for two reasons--first, by taking the train at once you make sure of
your ride, and have the remainder of the day freed from anxiety and the
fear of just missing the last train a dozen miles from home, with less
than an hour of daylight remaining; secondly, if you don't miss the
train it is because you have come along at racing pace. You are in
consequence very hot, and have to stand about in a draughty station till
the train (which is twenty minutes late) arrives and then follows half
an hour's journey with wet feet, for wet feet and walking on Welsh hills
are very close friends indeed.

There used to be a saying about Dolgelly that the town walls there are
six miles high. Of course this refers mainly to the long mural
precipice which forms the north point of Cader Idris. Abundant climbing
is to be found on this 'wall,' which, with a small part of Aran Mawddwy
and a few short, steep bits along the course of the river Mawddach,
constitutes the best rock-work in the immediate vicinity of Dolgelly.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Ffestiniog=, a very pleasant place to stay at, with good communications
by rail with Bala, Bettws y Coed, and Portmadoc. There are climbs
near--e.g. on the Manods and on Moelwyn--but on a small scale, the good
ones being mostly destroyed by the colossal slate quarries.

_Blaenau Ffestiniog_ is the more central and less beautiful; the old
village (3 miles away) is far pleasanter. The Cynfael Falls, about a
mile off, include the well-known 'Hugh Lloyd's Pulpit,' and are very
pretty, but have been almost as fatal as those at Aber. Readers will
probably remember the death of Miss Marzials at this spot.[6]

  [6] The _Times_, August 25, 1885, p. 6, and August 27, p. 8. See
  also the _Times_, October 2, 1837, p. 3.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Llanberis= (i.e. 'Church of Peris'), being a station on a railway which
has a good service from England, is the most accessible of all the
mountain resorts in Wales. As a consequence of these facilities the
place is often intolerably overrun, especially during the late summer
and autumn. The true lover of the mountains flees the spot, for the
day-tripper is a burden and desire fails. Whether the railway will have
the power to make things worse in this respect we cannot yet decide, but
it seems unlikely. It is only of late years that Llanberis has possessed
the most popular road up Snowdon. The opening of the road over the pass
in 1818 did a great deal, and the visit of H.M. the Queen in 1832 did
still more to make the place popular, and the pony path up Snowdon and
the railway settled the matter. The other mountains which may readily be
ascended from here are those in the Elider and Glyder ranges, while
climbing is nearly confined to the rocks on both sides of the pass,
which includes some work of great excellence.

As early as 1845 a separate guide-book for this place was published by
J. H. Bransby. Now there are several.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Machynlleth= (pronounced roughly like 'Mahuntly,' and by the rustics
very like 'Monkley') lies midway between Plynlimon and Cader Idris, and
within reach of both, yet can hardly claim to be a centre for
mountaineers. Of submontane walks and scenery it commands a surprising
variety, having railway facilities in half a dozen directions. This
makes it a capital place for a long stay, varied by an occasional night
or two at places like Rhayader, Dolgelly, Barmouth, or Beddgelert. The
best way of doing Aran Mawddwy is by way of Dinas Mawddwy, and the
ascent of Cader Idris from Corris railway station, returning by way of
Abergynolwyn, makes a most enjoyable day.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Nantlle=, once a very pretty place, is now little more than an
intricate system of slate quarries. A low pass (Drws y Coed) separates
it from Snowdon, of which Wilson took a celebrated picture from this
side. There are some nice little climbs on both sides of the pass and on
Garnedd Goch, which runs away to the southward of it.

Nantlle has a station, but Penygroes, the junction, is so near as to
make it a more convenient stopping-place. Anyone staying at Criccieth
can make a good day by taking the train to Nantlle, and returning along
Garnedd Goch or over Moel Hebog. Snowdon too is within easy reach.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Penygwrhyd.=--In Beddgelert Church is a monument 'to the memory of
Harry Owen, for forty-four years landlord of the inn at Penygwrhyd and
guide to Snowdon: born April 2, 1822; died May 5, 1891.'

Harry Owen it was who did for Penygwrhyd what Will Ritson did for
Wastdale Head and Seiler for Zermatt. Intellectually, perhaps, he was
not the equal of either of the other two, but there was a
straightforward cordiality about him which made all lovers of the
mountains feel at once that in his house they had a home to which they
could return again and again with ever renewed pleasure.

The house stands at the foot of the east side of the Llanberis Pass, at
the junction of the roads from Capel Curig (4 miles), Beddgelert (8
miles), and Llanberis (6 miles), and at the central point of three
mountain groups--Snowdon (the finest and boldest side), the Glyders, and
Moel Siabod. The last is of small account, but the other two groups
contain some--one may almost say most--of the best climbing and finest
scenery in Wales. Most people come to the inn by way of Bettws y Coed
and many from Llanberis; but by far the finest approach is that from
Beddgelert, and by this way the first approach at any rate ought always
to be made. Ascents and climbs innumerable may be made from here, and
many valuable notes on climbs may be found here in a certain volume
secured from the profane mob by lock and key.

In the same volume also several sets of verses occur much above the
ordinary tourist level, among them being a very smart study of the
climbing class in the style of Walt Whitman, and a few telling
alphabetic distichs of which _habitués_ will recognise the force.

    K--for the Kitchen, where garments are dried;
    L--for the Language we use when they're fried;
    O--for the Owens, whom long may we see;
    P--for the Pudding we call P.Y.G.
    S is for Snowdon, that's seen from afar;
    T--for the Tarts on the shelf in the bar.

The visitors' book proper also contains entries of some interest,
including some lines (given at length in the _Gossiping Guide_) written
by Charles Kingsley, Tom Taylor, and Tom Hughes, chiefly remarkable for
their breezy good temper. The lines are printed, together with a mass of
very poor stuff taken from the same source, in a little book called
_Offerings at the Foot of Snowdon_.[7] The inn and the Owens play an
important part in Kingsley's novel _Two Years Ago_. Forty or fifty years
ago there was a constant visitor at this inn who might have claimed the
invention of the place as a climbing centre. He corresponded in
profession, and also in age, to the Rev. James Jackson, the Cumbrian
'Patriarch.' He had a mania for ridge-walking, or, as he termed it,
'following the sky line.' His name I could never learn.

  [7] Tremadoc, 1875.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Rhayader= (_The Waterfall_, i.e. of the river Wye, pronounced here
'Rhay-' and not 'Rhy-,' as in North Wales) is a very convenient centre
for much scenery which is of great interest to the geologically-minded
mountaineer, though the hills are of no great height. The Cambrian
Railway has a station here, and makes an expedition to the Brecon
Beacons or to the very interesting Black Mountains a very simple matter,
while on the way a good deal may be seen of two of the most beautiful
rivers in Britain, the Wye and the Usk. Aberedw Rocks and Cwm Elan are
quite near, and so is Nant Guillt, with its memories of Shelley, beloved
of all who love the mountains, though perhaps few would have cared to be
on the same rope with that somewhat erratic genius. Where the Wye enters
the Vale of Rhayader there are some remarkably fine rocks (chiefly in
the 'Lower Llandovery' formation). Mackintosh calls it 'a deep basin
surrounded by very precipitous slopes, which on the side most distant
from the river channel present one of the finest and loftiest rocky
cliffs in the principality.' The Birmingham Water Works have influenced
the town for good in one respect only: they have introduced a barber,
who at the end of each week mows navvies' cheeks by the acre.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Snowdon Ranger=, a small inn on the west side of Snowdon, readily
reached by rail from Carnarvon or coach from Beddgelert, or again by an
easy and interesting walk over the low pass of Drws y Coed from
Penygroes station. It commands one of the simplest ascents of Snowdon,
but by no means the most interesting. Good climbing may be found near
it on Clogwyndurarddu, on Mynydd Mawr, on both sides of Drws y Coed, and
on the Garnedd Goch range, but none are on a very large scale.

In the history of Welsh mountaineering it holds a place, having long
been the most usual starting-point for the ascent of Snowdon, and all
the early travellers came here. Cradock (1770) calls it 'a small
thatched hut at the foot of the mountain (Snowdon), near a lake which
they call Llyn Cychwhechlyn (i.e. Quellyn), which I leave you to
pronounce as well as you are able. We procured a number of blooming
country girls to divert us with their music and dancing.' Even these
delights, however, could not keep travellers from drifting away towards
Beddgelert--a change which, as readers of _Wild Wales_ will remember,
had already become marked when Borrow had his interview with the Snowdon
guide forty years ago. The early accounts often speak of this place as
Bronyfedw (a name which still survives), and for many years there used
to be a kind of 'personally conducted' (Hamer's) ascent of Snowdon from
Carnarvon once a week by this route.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Tanybwlch.=--Wyndham, Pennant, and, indeed, nearly all the early
explorers of Wales stayed at this very pleasant place. At that time the
highroad from Dolgelly to Beddgelert and Carnarvon passed the door; but
the railway having now superseded the post chaise has left the place
somewhat out in the cold. It has, however, some assistance from the
'toy' line to Ffestiniog, and is a pretty little place, though Moelwyn,
Cynicht, Moel Siabod, and the Rhinogs are all the mountains which it
can command. For those coming from England the best station is Maentwrog
Road, on the G.W.R. line from Bala.



WHERE TO CLIMB


=Anglesey.=--The extreme flatness of the island perhaps gives an
increased effect to its fine rock scenery about the Stacks, which will
be respected by climbers as perhaps the earliest school of their art in
Wales. An old description of the egg-takers here contains some
interesting sentences which are not wholly devoid of point even for
climbers of the present day. 'The gains bear no tolerable proportion to
the danger incurred. The adventurers, having furnished themselves with
every necessary implement, enter on the terrific undertaking. Two--for
this is a trade in which co-partnership is absolutely necessary--take a
station. He whose superior agility renders it eligible prepares for the
rupestrian expedition. Dangerous employ! a slip of the foot or the hand
would in an instant be fatal to both. To a stranger this occupation
appears more dangerous than it really is. In persons habituated to
bodily difficulty the nervous system becomes gradually braced, and the
solids attain that state of rigidity which banishes irritability, while
the mind, accustomed to danger, loses that timidity which frequently
leads to the dreaded disaster. Fact demonstrates to what an extent
difficulty and danger may be made subordinate to art and perseverance.'

This is the voice of truth, but the solids nowadays (owing possibly to
the fluids or to the want of them) do not banish their irritability
completely.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Carnarvonshire.=--Both in the quality and the quantity of its climbs
this county leaves the rest of Wales far behind. Its superiority is even
more marked than that of Cumberland over the rest of England.

Snowdon, the Glyders, and the Carnedds would alone be sufficient to
establish this; but there are numbers of less important elevations which
would have a great reputation in almost any other county.

The chief mountain centres are Penygwrhyd, Beddgelert, Llanberis, and
Snowdon Ranger, all four lying at the foot of Snowdon, Benglog (Ogwen
Cottage), Capel Curig, and Ffestiniog.

The appearance of the county must be greatly changed since Leland's
time. He tells us that 'the best wood of Caernarvonshire is by Glinne
Kledder and by Glin Llughy and by Capel Kiryk and at Llanperis. More
upwarde be Eryri Hilles, and in them ys very little corne. If there were
the Deere would destroy it.' The destruction of this wood has greatly
injured the beauty of the valleys round Snowdon, Nant Gwynant being the
only one where it remains in any quantity.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Penmaenmawr= (1,553 ft.) is far from being a difficult mountain. The
ancient Britons had a fort on the top of it, and it was ascended 'by a
person of quality in the reign of Charles II.,' but it is scarcely a
paradox to say that it was the greatest obstacle to knowledge of Welsh
mountains during last century. The highroad from Chester crossed it,
and our ancestors used to go rolling off it down into the sea, and did
not like it. Therefore a journey to Wales was a great and a rare feat.
All the early travellers dilate upon its terrors. In 1795 Mr. T. Hucks,
B.A., gives a ludicrous account of his ascent, which was actually made
without a guide. 'We rashly took the resolution to venture up this
stupendous mountain without a guide, and therefore unknowingly fixed
upon the most difficult part to ascend, and consequently were
continually impeded by a vast number of unexpected obstructions. At
length we surmounted every danger and difficulty, and safely arrived at
the top.... In the midst of my melancholy cogitations I fully expected
that the genius of the mountain would have appeared to me in some
formidable shape and have reproached me with rashly presuming to disturb
the sacred silence of his solitary reign.' Penmaenmawr was not a
frequented tourist resort in those days. The genius would not expect
much sacred silence now. The writer knows of no continuous climb on the
mountain, though he has often had a scramble on it.

       *       *       *       *       *

=The Carnedd Group.=--=Carnedd Dafydd= (3,426 ft.), said to have been
named after David the brother of Prince Llewelyn, rises on the north of
Llyn Ogwen and on the west of the river which flows from it. The view,
looking southward across Llyn Ogwen at the bold northern front of the
Glyder group, is one of the grandest in Wales. That to the north-west is
to a great extent cut off by Carnedd Llewelyn. The usual
starting-points are Bethesda, Ogwen Cottage, and Capel Curig, though
strong walkers occasionally attack the mountain from the Conway valley
on the west and from Aber on the sea coast.

From Bethesda the most direct way to the summit is to steer south-east
and straight at the mountain, which is full in view. The distance is
3½ miles, and an active traveller, if by any accident he extricates
himself speedily from Bethesda, may reach the summit in two hours. On
the other hand he is quite as likely to find himself, at the end of the
two hours, still wandering sadly up and down the by-lanes of that
maze-like village. The natives are polite, and would willingly give any
information; but they cannot speak English, and they do not possess the
information.

There is only one street which leads anywhere in particular, only one
which can be known at sight and followed fearlessly when known. It is
the Holyhead road, and to get from one house in Bethesda to another it
is said that even the inhabitants find it safest to make for the
Holyhead road at once, and thus secure an intelligible base of
operations.

The route up Carnedd Dafydd by way of Penyroleuwen begins with over two
miles of this road, and is, consequently, a very sound opening. It is
only necessary to turn off at Tynymaes, on the left hand, and strike up
the hill and along the ridge to Braichddu, overlooking the tarn of
Ffynnon y Lloer. A sharp turn is now made to the left along the
shoulder, and the great cairn which marks the summit is soon reached.

The route from Capel Curig is very easily found. Three and a half miles
along the Bangor road, after crossing the river Llugwy, and just before
a chapel, a path strikes off on the right-hand side towards a farmhouse.
Half a mile along this path strike up the hill to the left, travelling
at first about north by compass, and afterwards, as the hill is mounted,
inclining more to the west.

A less popular route, but perhaps shorter and more easily found in mist,
and certainly more effective in point of scenery, leaves the highroad
about a furlong short of Ogwen Lake. Pass a farm and follow a stream for
a mile up to Ffynnon Lloer; from the head of the pool pick your way
through some rough ground to the left hand up on to Braichddu, when the
view of the Glyders bursts upon you suddenly with great effect, and, on
turning to the right to make the final mount to the Carnedd, some good
peeps may be had down the confused rocks of Craig yr Ysfa.

From Ogwen Cottage the last route is often the best, especially when the
party contains some weak members, as the direct line from the foot of
the lake is exceedingly steep.

The climbs on this mountain are practically limited to Cefnysgolion Duon
on the north and Craig yr Ysfa on the west, overlooking Nantffrancon.

_Cefnysgolion Duon_--i.e. 'The Black Ladders,' by which name it is
commonly known--might be forced into meaning 'The Black Schools,' and
this sense greatly bewildered a learned native, who observes, 'It is
impossible to imagine a spot less suited to the operations of the
school-master.' But we can assure him that as a school for climbers it
leaves little to be desired.

Perhaps 'Black Pinnacles' would be a better rendering, 'ysgol' being
often used in that sense, the comparison referring to a step-ladder,
seen sideways, so as to present the shape of an isosceles triangle.

The crags are on the south side of Cwm Llafar, the great hollow between
the two Carnedds, and there is nothing to do but to follow up from
Bethesda the stream which flows down it. In other words, the true line
is almost parallel to and about half a mile north of the most direct
route to the top of Carnedd Dafydd. As advance is made the slope between
the two routes becomes more and more rocky, and when the Ladders
themselves come fairly in view the scene is a very grand one. There are
two conspicuous gullies, divided by a stretch of rock which looks almost
unclimbable. The right-hand or western gully is very steep, and having
often quite a stream in it, is then decidedly hard, and requires
considerable care in winter. The other gully slopes away sharply to the
left, behind a slight projection, and has only one pitch in it, but that
is really good. Two ways here present themselves of climbing along the
left-hand wall at two different levels, neither of them too easy, or
else the gully may be deserted altogether, as the left bank forms a
ridge which offers easy but delightful climbing all over it, the hold
suddenly becoming magnificent. East of this ridge the hold is still
good, but the rocks dwindle in size, until, in the centre of the col
between the Carnedds, they wholly disappear.

This noble crag has never been much frequented by climbers, though in
1879 about a dozen members of the Alpine Club took it on their way from
Bangor to Capel Curig.[8]

  [8] _Alpine Journal_, vol. ix. p. 384.

Some years before 1869[9] a Birmingham Scripture Reader fell over it,
and was, of course, killed.

  [9] Mackintosh, p. 809.

_Craig yr Ysfa._--These rugged and in parts highly romantic rocks have
attracted but few climbers. A hardworking group of Bangor enthusiasts
have done about all the work that has been done here. In November 1894
J. M. A. T., H. H., H. E., and J. S., quitting the road just beyond the
eighth milestone from Bangor, reached, in twenty minutes, the mouth of a
gully, broad except where it narrows into a gorge, about half-way up.
The climbing on the left of the stream is quite easy, on its right less
so; but in either case the stream has to be abandoned at the first
waterfall, which is quite impracticable when there is any quantity of
water falling. One may climb out to the right by a small tributary
gully, or up the buttress of rock to the right, and thus turn the lower
fall as well as the upper fall, which is a small edition of the Devil's
Kitchen. Near the edge of the cliff, on the left of the gorge, is a
large tabular rock, which forms the postern to a narrow passage back
into the gully, which soon broadens out and leaves a choice of routes;
the left-hand branch should be taken by preference, as it contains a
rather difficult pitch, above which the ascent to the top of the ridge
is simple.

[Illustration: A GULLY ON CRAIG YR YSFA]

A second gully lies a few hundred yards nearer Ogwen Lake, and
contains, besides cascades, two distinct waterfalls, of which the first
may be surmounted by a small but not easy chimney close to it on the
left, which is also the side for attacking the second difficulty. Here a
necessary grass ledge above the level of the top of the fall was
loosened by heavy rain, and stopped the progress of the above party, who
completed the ascent by climbing out to the left.

The craggy portion is just over one mile long. Towards the head of Nant
Ffrancon the rocks come lower, and are more fantastic, affording a great
variety of fine problems, though few continuous climbs.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Carnedd Llewelyn= (3,484 ft.) is the second highest of the Welsh
mountains. The last Government Survey gave it a slight lift, and at the
same time slightly reduced Snowdon, causing a rumour to go abroad,
alarming to conservative minds, that the latter had forfeited its pride
of place. This would have been a real misfortune, as the old-established
favourite is beyond all question the finest mountain of the two. Only
imagine the feelings of a poor peak abandoned in its old age, without
cheap trippers, without huts, without a railway, without Sir Edward
Watkin. The blow would have been too cruel! The near views from Carnedd
Llewelyn are not remarkable. They consist mainly of the crags of Yr Elen
and those of the grand north face of Carnedd Dafydd, which, however,
practically conceal the Glyders, and these again cut off most of
Snowdon. But the seaward view is very fine, and with regard to the very
distant places, such as the Cumberland Fells, this mountain has a great
advantage over Snowdon both 'to see and to be seen.' Perhaps the extra
7½ miles make the difference, but it is a fact that for once that
Snowdon is to be made out from Scafell or Great Gable, Carnedd Llewelyn
can be seen half a dozen times.

For the ascent Bethesda is the nearest. Several ways present themselves,
and whichever the traveller takes he will think that he has taken the
boggiest. One way is straight up Cwm Llafar to the ridge
(Bwlchcyfrwydrum) between the two Carnedds, or inclining left one mile
short of this ridge one soon reaches the ridge connecting our mountain
with Yr Elen, on the other side of which are some fine crags. The ascent
by way of Cwm Caseg, the next valley to the north, is equally simple and
affords a good view of these crags from below. In thick weather the long
lonely walk from Aber is an education in itself to the mountain rambler,
while from Talycafn station, on the north-west, a good road comes to
within a mile and a half E.S.E. of the summit. The Capel Curig ascent is
perhaps the least interesting of all; by it the two Carnedds are usually
combined. Either the ascent or the return should be made along the Pen
Helig ridge, with regard to the terrors of which the guide-books have
used language as exaggerated as the descriptions of Striding Edge on
Helvellyn. In winter, however, there is sometimes pretty work here.

_Climbs._--A few rocks will be found round the remarkable tarns of
Llyndulyn and Melynllyn, on the north-east side of the mountain, and on
the west side of Llyn Eigiau. Better still are the rocks near where the
Talycafn road ends by a slate quarry in the rocks of Elicydu
(apparently marked as Pen Helig by the Ordnance Surveyors); but best of
all is the north-east side of Yr Elen, where there is a sort of small
edition of the Black Ladders, with the same sunless aspect, so that it
often keeps its snow in the same way till quite late in the year. In
winter, however, the grand cwm which lies due east of the Carnedd offers
splendid snow scenes and snow work.

Some years ago a quarryman was lost in the snow, and an upright stone on
the north ridge of the mountain marks the spot. One of the earliest
ascents of the mountain was that made in 1630 by Johnson, who evidently
had the spirit of the mountaineer in him, for he pressed his guide to
take him to the more precipitous places, alleging the love of rare
plants. That worthy, however, declined to go, alleging the fear of
eagles. Mackintosh too had a difficulty here with his guide during a
winter's day excursion. But his fears seem to have been entirely without
reasonable cause, and he was not so near to being robbed or murdered as
he at one time fancied. Mr. Paterson's charming book _Below the Snow
Line_ describes the route from Llanfairfechan in wild weather.

In the _Philosophical Transactions_ for 1771 will be found noted an
ascent which satisfied the climber and his water-level that the summit
was higher than that of Snowdon. Pennant too made the ascent, but came
to an opposite conclusion on this point.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Elider Group.=--=Carnedd y Filiast= (i.e. 'Cairn of the Female
Greyhound') is a feature on the west side of Nant Ffrancon, on account
of the very remarkable slabs which it exhibits on that side. A hundred
and twenty-five years ago Pennant was told here that 'if the fox in
extreme danger takes over them in wet weather he falls down and
perishes.' Certainly they are dangerous enough to a less sure-footed
animal--man--and are best left alone, especially when there is any ice
about. The nearest place from which to start is Bethesda. Another hill
of the same name lies to the north of Bala.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Foelgoch.=--A spur running north-west from Glyder Fawr forms the
western bank of Nant Ffrancon, and nearly three miles along this ridge
is Foelgoch (i.e. 'Red Hill'). It has a steep western side towards the
head of Cwm Dudodyn, and on the other side a very steep rocky recess
facing Llyn Idwal. Llanberis and Bethesda stations are about equally
distant. From the former place it is seldom visited, except before or
after the ascent of Elidyr Fawr.

On August 6, 1886, E. K. writes, 'There is excellent scrambling to be
had about this mountain, and some really difficult work.'

On September 29, 1894, a party of three climbed from Nant Ffrancon.

The break in the ridge may be reached either by following the ridge
itself or from the cwms on either side of it. The ascent thence to the
summit offers easy but steep climbing if the crest of the ridge be
scrupulously adhered to. Passing over the summit of Y Garn the descent
was made down the southern ridge of Cwm Clyd, which gives a good
scramble along its barren arête.

[Illustration: TWLL DU

(looking down through it to Llyn Idwal and Llyn Ogwen)]

       *       *       *       *       *

=Y Garn= (3,104 ft.), near the head of Nant Ffrancon, on the west side,
is little visited, but has some very good rock on it. Benglog is much
the nearest place. The well-known Twll Du may almost be said to be on
it, and is practically the division between it and Glyder Fawr.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Twll Du= (i.e. 'Black Pit'), commonly called the 'Devil's Kitchen,' is
a remarkable chasm in the line of cliff which faces the head of Llyn
Idwal on the south-west, being a northerly continuation of Glyder Fawr.
From Benglog, which is much the nearest place, there is little choice of
route; either side of Llyn Idwal will do, but the west side is rather
less boggy. Keeping well up you pass the head of Idwal until you bring
it on with the head of Llyn Ogwen, and then about 500 ft. above the
former you find yourself at the foot of this grand fissure. In dry
weather all but the highest patch can be easily ascended; after rain it
is sometimes difficult to enter the place at all. In the summer of 1893,
which was extraordinarily dry, a young fellow claimed to have done it
single-handed, but it was supposed by some that he had mistaken the
place. During the intense cold of March 1895 an extraordinary _tour de
force_ was accomplished here by J. M. A. T. and H. H., who cut their way
up the frozen waterfall, and thus accomplished what was probably the
first ascent of this formidable chasm. The height of the final pitch in
its normal condition is about 53 ft., measured from the top of the block
down to the surface of the pool below. When the climb above described
was made, no doubt much of this height was filled up by snow and ice,
yet the remainder was not surmounted in less than 7 hours, so that the
average rate of progress must have been about 5 ft. per hour. The total
time from Benglog to the top of the Kitchen was 8½ hours. The party
descended in the dark to Llanberis in 3 hours more, having left Ogwen in
the morning at 10 o'clock. Those who approach from Upper Llanberis by
way of Cwm Patric or from Penygwrhyd over the shoulder west of Glyder
Fawr, and, in fact, all who do not come by way of Benglog, have to
descend the high cliff out of which the Kitchen is cut. The only
convenient passage starts about a furlong to the south of the Kitchen,
and is very awkward at night or in mist. It begins as a wide, straight
trough (the largest and most regular of two or three), which slopes
gently downwards and towards Benglog. Presently it takes a more
northerly direction and becomes a steep, wide slope of scree following
the line of cliff to the great blocks of fallen stones which mark the
mouth of the chasm. An active man can return from the lower to the upper
exit of the chimney in ten minutes, and the descent could, of course, be
done in even less time. In dry weather there is but one slight
difficulty before reaching the grand crux at the head. It can be climbed
by passing into a cavern and up to the left, but the easier, and after
heavy rain the only practicable, way is up the side-wall just to the
left of the choke-stone on to a broad ledge. A little way above this a
huge slab, fallen from above, is seen leaning against the wall on the
right. The passage to the right of it can always be made, however strong
the stream on the left hand may be. The climb to the top of this slab is
very neat, and, besides affording a capital view of the situation, is
about all the consolation left for the ardent explorer, who will seldom
succeed in penetrating any further. There are, however, two possible
lines of advance, both on the left-hand wall, one well in under the
colossal cap-stone, which hangs 50 ft. overhead, and the other outside,
nearly opposite the great slab. By the latter route 20 ft. or 30 ft. can
be climbed with some little difficulty, but the traverse to the right
would no doubt prove a very ticklish operation. Cliffe, in June 1843,
penetrated to the foot of the final obstacle, and gives a very good
description of it.

[Illustration: TWLL DU

(looking up from within)]

       *       *       *       *       *

=Glyder Group.=--=Glyder Fach= (3,262 ft.), though called 'the lesser,'
is far finer than its brother peak, so much so that many have found
great difficulty in believing that the Ordnance Surveyors were right in
ascribing 17 ft. of superiority to the more lumpy western summit. One
might be tempted to build a 20-ft. cairn but for the fear of spoiling
the great glory of Glyder Fach, the chaos of rocks on its summit. The
present cairn was not in existence ten years ago, and must have been
built about 1887.

[Illustration: SKETCH MAP OF

THE GLYDERS

AND

TRYFAEN]

_Ascents._--From Benglog the most interesting ascent is by the Gribin
ridge, between Idwal and Bochllwyd. It involves a slight descent (about
150 ft.) after reaching the ridge, but it is less fatiguing than that by
Bwlch Tryfaen and the steep rough screes on the right hand beyond it.
From Penygwrhyd you mount behind the inn, crossing the bog as you best
can towards a wall which goes straight up the hill. When the direction
of the wall changes you make a compromise midway between the old and
the new, and very soon come on to a line of cairns which continues right
on to the boggy tableland above. Tryfaen top now appears over the hill,
and as soon as it is fairly lifted you bear to the left and up a stony
slope to the cairn. From Capel Curig it is a simple matter to follow the
ridge of Cefn y Capel, but quicker to keep along the highroad past the
Llynian Mymbyr, and then strike up a grass slope to the right. As often
as not both Glyders are ascended in one expedition; the dip between the
two is only 300 ft., the distance is under a mile, and stones are the
only obstacles.

[Illustration: SUMMIT OF GLYDER FACH]

_Climbs._--The north face of this mountain is remarkably fine and
contains all the climbing there is. At the east end is the bristly ridge
leading down to Bwlch Tryfaen. This is stimulating, but not difficult.
In the centre of the face there is a large gully, ascended in November
1894 by J. M. A. T., H. H., and H. E. They did not find it necessary to
use the rope. The lofty pitch at the foot of the eastern gully is
decidedly hard. (J. M. A. T.) In May 1888 W. E. C., A. E., E. B., and E.
K. found and ascended a gully close under the west side of Castell
Gwynt, and add that they reached Penygwrhyd by way of Cwm Graianog. The
last statement is very mysterious. About the Castell itself (the rugged
pile of rocks between the two Glyders, marked by its slender outstanding
'sentinel'), and about the summit of the Fach, there are some good
scrambles on a small scale.

[Illustration: CASTELL GWYNT AND GLYDER FAWR]

Directly under the top stone is the minimum thermometer, which has been
kept there for some years.[10] The most interesting thing on the whole
mountain is undoubtedly the pile of stones on the top. According to the
bard Taliesin it is the burial-place of a mighty warrior, one Ebediw. If
a kind of Stonehenge was erected there to his memory and afterwards got
upset by an earthquake it might account for present appearances. Edward
Lhwyd, the great antiquary, was particularly struck by them 200 years
ago, and his description and remarks are equally applicable to-day.

  [10] See the _Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society_ for
  April 1893, xix. No. 86, for a summary of the temperatures thus
  recorded.

[Illustration: ROCKS ON GLYDER FACH]

'On the utmost top of the Glyder,' he says, 'I observed prodigious heaps
of stones, many of them of the largeness of those of Stonehenge, but of
all the irregular shapes imaginable, and all lying in such confusion as
the ruins of any building can be supposed to do.... Had they been in a
valley I had concluded they had fallen from the neighbouring rocks ...
but, being on the highest part of the hill, they seemed to me much more
remarkable.' He goes on to remark upon a precipice which has not been
identified (see _Esgair Felen_). 'On the west side of the same hill
there is, amongst many others, one naked precipice (near or one of the
Trigfylchau, but distinguished by no particular name), as steep as any I
have seen, but so adorned with numerous equidistant pillars, and these
again slightly crossed at certain joints. 'Twas evident that the gullies
or interstices were occasioned by a continued dropping of water down
this cliff.' Trigfylchau, by the way (i.e. 'Twisting Gaps'), is a name
which does not seem to be known at the present day.

Lhwyd's description fired the curiosity of the travellers who explored
Wales nearly a century later, and the amusing part of it is that they
could not find this wonderful mountain, or even hear of it from the
intelligent natives.

Cradock (1770) found an aged man, who told him that the mountain was
'now called the Wythwar (Wyddfa),' which stands 'a few miles south of
the parish of Clynog;' and H. P. Wyndham went further by identifying it
with 'the mountain called Ryvil in Speed's map' (i.e. Yr Eifl). It shows
how little the natives knew about their mountains until the travellers
came and taught them. Pennant made the ascent, and gives a picture of
the summit. Bingley also went up, and gives a good description.

Kingsley's fine description, in _Two Years Ago_, of Elsley's ascent
really applies mainly to Glyder Fach, though he only mentions the Fawr.
Elsley's descent, by the way, was apparently into Bochllwyd by way of
Castell Gwynt.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: GLYDER FAWR, NORTH FACE]

=Glyder Fawr= (3,279 ft.).--The meaning of the name is a mystery. One
Welsh scholar gravely tells us that the real name is Clydar, which at
once yields the obviously suitable meaning of a 'well-shaded ploughed
ground.' Either of these epithets would be quite as appropriate to the
Sahara itself, for the two Glyders are among the barest and rockiest
mountains in all Wales. The two roads which lead from Capel Curig, one
over the Pass of Llanberis and the other through Nant Ffrancon to
Bangor, enclose between them the whole of the Glyder group, forming a
singular figure, which recalls Menenius Agrippa's description of the
Second Citizen as 'the great toe of this assembly.' The toe is slightly
bent; Penygwrhyd is the knuckle, Capel Curig the tip of the nail, and
Benglog (the head of Nant Ffrancon) is just in the inside bend. The
highest point of the group lies practically in a straight line with
Snowdon and Carnedd Llewelyn, and, roughly speaking, midway between
them. Of Snowdon it commands a profoundly impressive view, and is in
turn itself best seen from the Carnedds.

Both Glyders are very frequently ascended from Penygwrhyd, Llanberis,
Capel Curig, and Ogwen.

The simplest way up is from the top of the Llanberis Pass, from which a
ridge leads to the summit. This is, perhaps, the best way if the start
be made from any place not on the north side, though from Penygwrhyd the
route may be boggily abbreviated by making up the little valley to the
north-west. From Ogwen the usual ascent passes near Twll Du, though the
ridge separating the Idwal and Bochllwyd lakelets is sometimes chosen,
and certainly affords a greater variety of fine views.

Climbing on this mountain is practically confined to its northern face,
and even there very little has been done. There are also a few rocks on
the west side. The climbing-book at Penygwrhyd contains very few
references to it. At Easter in 1884 H. and C. S. mention that they
enjoyed fine glissades down the snow slopes on the north-west side to
Llyn y Cwn, but the first real climb recorded therein is that of the big
gully in the north face, made on November 25, 1894, by J. M. A. T., H.
H., and H. E. From the far end of Llyn Idwal a long scree leads up to
the mouth of the gully, which may be identified from a distance by the
pitch which blocks it about half-way up and a broad strip of grass
outside it on the west. The point to make for is the head of a wall
which runs up from the extreme south end of the llyn to the corner of a
huge mass of bare smooth rock. If the traveller reaches this point
without being engulfed in the boggy ground which fringes the llyn he
will now continue in the same general direction as the wall, and soon
sees the gully just before him. A kind of trough, probably produced by
weathering of the rock, is now seen on the left, and this, as it
appeared more interesting than the steep grass of the central part of
the gully, was followed at first by the above-mentioned party. The
trough is very easy at the foot, and has good holds, which higher up
incline outwards, and become less and less prominent until at last
progress becomes a question of delicacy and circumspection. Before the
trough came entirely to an end the party traversed into the gully, but
even there found the ascent to the pitch far from easy. Utilising the
full length of their 80-ft. rope, and moving only one at a time, they
reached the cave under the big pitch. Here it appeared hopeless to
climb out on either side, and recourse had to be taken to engineering of
the same kind which was successfully put in practice some years ago on
Dow Crags, in Lancashire, by a very scientific band of brothers. Similar
success crowned the efforts of this party, and brilliant gymnastics on
the part of the leader landed them safely at the top of this difficulty.
From this point the remainder of the climb has a deceptively easy
appearance. Some 80 ft. higher up the difficulties begin again, and
continue up to a small pitch just below the top. On one stretch it was
found necessary to adopt a compromise between the wisdom of the serpent
and the aimlessness of the crab, advancing by lateral jerks in a
semi-recumbent attitude. Possibly these extreme measures would not have
been necessary but for the fact that on this occasion the conclusion of
a spell of three weeks of incessant rain was chosen as a suitable
opportunity for attacking this face of the Glyder. It was the opinion of
the party that the climb--at any rate in its then condition--is
incontestably more difficult than that of the western buttress of
Lliwedd. The time taken was 4 hours, including a short halt for
luncheon.

[Illustration: WESTERN GULLY IN NORTH FACE OF GLYDER FAWR]

This gully is the more westerly of two. The other one was climbed in May
1895 by J. M. A. T., H. H., and W. E. One of the party says of it, 'We
soon came to some rather difficult rocks; we climbed them close under
the right-hand wall--a really stiff little bit. The gully here is still
quite broad, and on the left side of it we saw another way, which looked
much easier. We found no special difficulty in the jammed stone which
looks from below such a formidable obstacle. Two of us climbed it on
the right; the third man circumvented it on the left. From this point to
the summit is excellent throughout, the rocks being steep, the holds
strong, well defined, and most conveniently distributed. In my opinion
it is the best thing on the Glyders, and it can be done by a single
man.' Still further east a narrow crack gives a very steep but easy rock
staircase, while west of the gully first described is another with two
pitches, of which the lower is harder and the upper easier than they
look. The 60 ft. just above the latter are climbed by means of slight
rugosities in the left-hand wall. It is somewhat curious that when, in
February 1873, Glyder Fawr was crossed from Ogwen by way of Twll Du,
with John Roberts as guide, it was recorded in the _Alpine Journal_[11]
as something of a feat and something of an eccentricity. Twenty years
have made a great change, and now, about Christmas or Easter, the snow
on these hills is marked by tracks in many directions.

  [11] Vol. vi. p. 195.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LLYN IDWAL

  _a_, The gullies of Glyder Fawr.
  _b_, Descent to the foot of Twll Du.
  _c_, Twll Du.]

=Esgair Felen= (i.e. 'The Yellow Shank').--In August 1893 G. W. de T.
found very good rocks and gullies on this shoulder of Glyder Fawr.
Ascending from just above the cromlech stone in Llanberis Pass, the
buttress immediately above can be climbed on the right or south-west
side. The upper half may be climbed by a narrow gully, too narrow at
first to enter, and giving little hold for hands or feet, and that
little not sound. Apparently the leader climbed up a little way, and
then the rest of the party climbed up the leader. They found good
climbing without special difficulty among the rocks on the top of the
great gully in the centre.

It is somewhere in this neighbourhood that we must look for the
mysterious precipice of which Edward Lhwyd wrote two hundred years ago
as being strikingly columnar in structure, and possibly identical with
'one of the Tregvylchau or Treiglvylcheu.' He says it is part of the
Glyder, and faces west. Perhaps it is about the east side of Cwm Patric.
As seen from well down the Llanberis Pass these rocks have a very
striking appearance.

The term 'esgair' is very commonly applied to long straight projections
from higher mountains. Instances of its use are E. Weddar, E. Yn-Eira,
E. Geiliog, E. Hir, and E. Galed.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRYFAEN FROM THE EAST

(Sketched by Colin B. Phillip)]

=Tryfaen= (3,010 ft.), not to be confounded with the hill of the same
name on the Llanberis side of Snowdon, or the other near Bettws Garmon,
is the most remarkable rock mountain in Wales; it has two pillar stones
on its summit, from which it is often said that the name (= 'three
rocks') is derived. In answer to this it is enough to point out that the
assumed third stone is not there, and could not have disappeared without
a trace, while the name would equally well mean 'three peaks,' which the
mountain certainly has when viewed from either east or west. The Welsh
dictionaries give a word 'tryfan' with the sense of 'anything spotted
through,' and, whether or not this has anything to do with the origin of
the name, the component rocks certainly are quartz-speckled in a most
extraordinary manner. The mountain is practically a ridge of rock
running in a southerly direction from the head of Llyn Ogwen towards
Glyder Fach, from which it is separated by a sharp dip, Bwlch Tryfaen.
This dip, which may be reached either from Cwm Bochllwyd on the west or
from Cwm Tryfaen on the east, offers by far the easiest ascent of the
mountain. The best starting-point for Tryfaen is Ogwen Cottage, at
Benglog, from which Llynbochllwyd is reached in 25 and the said dip in
45 minutes; so that, if need were, the whole height (2,000 ft.) and
distance (1½ mile) to the summit could be attained within the hour.
From Capel Curig, on the other hand, there is a good hour's walking
before the highroad is left, beyond Gallt y Gogof, which Borrow calls
Allt y Gôg (Cuckoo Cliff), and even then the traveller has about as far
to go as if he were starting from Benglog. Most of the Tryfaen climbs
being on the east side they can be reached from Capel Curig with much
less exertion than from Penygwrhyd, the route from which involves a
long, rugged ascent, hot after the sun has risen and ankle-breaking
after it has set.

_Climbs._--These are extraordinarily abundant, and the hold is nearly
everywhere gritty and good. The most popular climbs are:

1. The east side, including especially the two gullies on either side of
the summit known as the North and South Gullies.

2. The north ridge up from the head of Llyn Ogwen.

3. The west side.

_The South Gully_, climbed by R. W. (1887). The first ascent noticed in
the _Book of Penygwrhyd_ being that of H. G. G. and W. in 1890. On
September 5, 1891, H. G. G. and E. B. T. offered some clear notes on
the subject, to the following effect: The first difficulty consists of
three or four jammed stones, each slightly overhanging the one beneath,
with a total height of about 10 ft. It can be passed by keeping to the
right close to the obstacle, but would not be easy in wet weather for
any climber single-handed. At the place where the gully divides the
left-hand or nearer division is not difficult. The broad division was
found impracticable by a party of four on September 4, 1891, the large
smooth rocks at the top being very wet. This place was climbed in 1890
by Messrs. G. and W. by keeping to the extreme right close to the wall
of the gully, and then returning along a narrow ledge. It was an awkward
place. There is nothing above where the two gullies unite that offers
any real difficulty.

The North Gully is the more difficult of the two if the immediate centre
is to be followed; but it is always practicable to break out on the face
to the right. The difficulties of the South Gully are not so severe, but
such as they are they must be climbed, as there is no lateral escape.

Under date of June 9, 1894, a very clear account is given by J. M. A.
T., J. R. S., and H. E. At the first obstacle the first man climbed up
into the hole formed by the projection of the topmost rock, but, as the
next beneath slopes outwards and downwards, found it impossible to
relinquish a crouching posture. The pitch was abandoned. The right-hand
rocks close by were taken, and the gully rejoined without difficulty. At
the fork the northern branch was chosen. It can scarcely be called a
gully; the water trickles down over the crags in several places, but
there is no main or well-defined channel. A pinnacle is soon seen on the
right, and here the climbing becomes difficult; the footholds are far
apart, and the small tufts of grass, which were then wet and slippery,
cannot be trusted. The course taken was to the extreme left, and as far
as possible from the pinnacle, and in this respect it differs from that
taken by Messrs. H. G. G. and W. in 1890. A firm, flat grass-covered
shelf, at least a yard square, is seen in a straight line up above, and
as soon as the first man has reached this a rope can be used to
advantage. A steep rock some 12 ft. in height and of ordinary difficulty
remains, and the climb thence to the summit is quite simple. By keeping
to the left a cavern is reached, the further end of which opens like a
trap door upon the summit; this interesting method of concluding the
ascent should not be missed.

On August 25, 1892, G. B. B. with Mr. and Mrs. T. R. climbed the five
pitches of the South Gully, _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_; _a_ by the
right-hand wall, _b_ in the centre, _c_ by divergence to the right-hand
branch and return to the left over a narrow ledge, _d_ and _e_ in the
centre or slightly on one side of the face. The gully was never left.
Time, about 90 minutes.

_North Gully._--This appears to have been climbed in 1888 by R. W. and
T. W. Writing on September 5, 1891, H. G. G. and E. B. T. gave the
following hints:--

The first difficulty is at the bottom, below the level of any part of
the South Gully, and might easily be missed if the horizontal track be
followed. On August 30, 1891, these gentlemen found the middle of this
(after very wet weather) quite impracticable, and the smooth rock on
the right hand, lying at a very high angle, was also wet and very
difficult. Either might possibly be passed in a dry season, the rock
almost certainly. The next point of note is a very large lodged stone.
Going under this they passed through the hole above, one climbing on the
other's shoulder and afterwards giving him help from above. The passage
was not easy.

The next difficulty is made up of two lodged stones about 10 ft. apart.
The first might be passed in dry weather. A tempting ledge to the left
was climbed without result; ultimately they rounded the obstacle by
keeping to the right.

On September 19 W. E. C., H. R. B., and M. K. S. ascended the North
Gully. They describe it as containing seven pitches, two of which are
caverns. They believed that this gully had only once been climbed clean
before--namely, in the autumn of 1888, by Messrs. R. W. and T. W.

On April 1, 1892, H. B. D., F. W. G., and A. M. M., with Mrs. D. and
Mrs. C., ascended the North Gully in 2 hours 10 minutes. The last pitch
gave some trouble.

In August 1892 W. H. P. and G. B. B. climbed all the pitches of the
North Gully clean, taking the sixth from the bottom by the right side
and the rocks straight to the summit stones, from where the gully
divides. Time, 91 minutes. There is a singular difference of opinion
among climbers as to the relative difficulty of these two climbs.
Varying conditions of rocks and climbers may partly account for this.
Without pretending to decide the matter either way the writer would
give it as his experience that unusual conditions more readily affect
the southern for evil and the northern for good. For instance, wet or
ice makes the former very nasty without altering the latter to the same
extent, while really deep and good snow moderately improves the former
but converts the latter into a delusion and a mockery, for it ceases
altogether to be a climb at all, and becomes a mere snow walk. Even then
it is worth doing if it were only to see the wonderful convoluted
strata, in the case of more than one great block imitating the rings in
the trunk of a tree.

_Nor'-Nor' Gully._--On September 18, 1891, Messrs. W. E. C., G. S., and
M. K. S. ascended a gully leading on to the north ridge of Tryfaen just
to the north of the most northerly of the three peaks. The gully
contains three pretty pitches, all of which were climbed, but two of
them can be turned.

There is yet a fourth gully, still further north, but it has only one
obstacle in it, and more scree than anyone can possibly want. So much
attention has been devoted to these gullies during the last few years
that the ridges which separate them have been unduly neglected. To the
writer at least they have always seemed to offer better climbing than
any of the gullies, and that of a kind which is very much less common.
The ridges on either side of the North Gully are especially fine, and
would satisfy the most exacting but for one thing, and that is that the
hold is almost too good.

_The North Ridge_, from the head of Llyn Ogwen, is of very imposing
appearance, and was long spoken of with bated breath. In reality it is a
fine but very simple and safe approach to the summit. The gluttonous
climbers of the present day will probably complain that it is not a
climb at all, but, though the difficulties, such as they are, can all be
turned, the more enterprising members of a party can always find
abundant outlets for their energies in numerous wayside problems.

Some of the rocks are very fantastic in shape; one projecting
horizontally bears a resemblance to a crocodile and can be easily
recognised from the east. Highly crystalline quartz veins render the
rock surfaces even rougher than they would otherwise be, and in a few
places the face of the rock is covered with egg-like projections, each
containing a core of quartz. At a little distance they look like huge
barnacles; their real nature may be left to the geologists.

On reaching the heads of the principal gullies the climber will fall in
with some capital rocks on or beside his path along the ridge. At the
very top he cannot fail even in mist to recognise the two upright
rectangular stones, which are so conspicuous from afar. The feat of
jumping from one to the other, by the performance of which Mr. Bingley's
friend made that eminent traveller's 'blood chill with horror' nearly a
hundred years ago, is not as difficult as it has been represented to be,
and the danger of falling over the precipice in case of failure is
purely imaginary. The unskilful leaper would merely fall on to the rough
stones at the base of the pillars. Of the two jumps, that from north to
south is the easier. Bingley's guide, perhaps anxious to cap the Saxon's
feat, told him that 'a female of an adjoining parish was celebrated for
having often performed this daring leap.' Large as the pillars are it is
difficult to believe that they were placed in the position they occupy
by unassisted nature; they seem too upright, too well squared, and too
level-topped; with a cross-piece on the top they would form a
nobly-placed 'trilithon,' of which any 'dolmen-builder' might be proud.

_The West Side._--A great part of this is occupied by a series of huge
slabs, which have been compared by F. H. B. to Flat Crags on Bow Fell.
In places luxuriant heather artfully conceals sudden drops and rolling
stones on account of which several tempting descents on this side will
prove annoying. The only important gully is well seen from Benglog. To
reach it strike south-east by the highroad at a point about half a mile
east of Benglog. About half-way up the gully trends away to the left,
and comes out at a deep notch in the summit ridge. Excellent scrambling
again may be found by climbing up eastward from the shore of Bochllwyd.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRYFAEN FROM THE NORTH-WEST.]

=Moel Siabod= (2,860 ft.) is ascended most easily from Capel Curig, but
Dolwyddelan and Penygwrhyd are only slightly more distant, though
considerably more boggy. The ascent is worth making, for the sake of the
excellent view of Snowdon. The east side is by far the most abrupt, and
here a few good crags are found. From this side also the mountain looks
its best, but even seen from the west, the tamer side, it is,
especially when snow-clad and lit by the setting sun, a remarkably
effective feature in the landscape.

Readers of 'Madoc,' if such indeed there be, may remember that Southey
was benighted on the hills around Dolwyddelan. In that episode Moel
Siabod may well have played a part.

About the year 1830 Mr. Philip Homer was benighted on it, and died of
exhaustion. Mention of this accident is made both by Roscoe (1836) and
by Cliffe, who says he heard many details from an eye-witness. The body
was taken to Capel Curig and buried there.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Snowdon= (3,560 ft.) is the loftiest peak in this island south of
Scotland, and one of the most beautiful that is to be seen anywhere. The
name seems to have originally described a whole district which the Welsh
called Craig Eryri (variously rendered 'rock of eagles' and 'rock of
snow'). The peak itself is called Y Wyddfa (pronounced 'E Withva'),
which is usually translated 'place of presence' or 'of recognition;' but
the splendid suppleness of the Welsh language admits of rival
renderings, such as 'place of shrubs or trees,' with which may be
compared the name Gwyddallt--i.e. 'woody cliff;' and even, as a
non-climber once observed, on seeing a panting form appear at the top of
a gully on Clogwyn Garnedd, 'place for a goose.'

Leland speaks of 'the greate Withaw hille,' and says 'all Cregeryri is
Forest,' and, in another place, 'horrible with the sight of bare stones
as Cregeryri be.'

[Illustration]

Snowdon may be climbed from many points. The nearest inns are
Penygwrhyd, Beddgelert, Snowdon Ranger, and Llanberis. The peculiarity
of Snowdon consists in the huge cwms which radiate from its summit, and
these will be found described in their order, following the course of
the sun, and the climbs to be found in each will be indicated.

Books on Snowdon are simply countless, and the same remark applies to
the pictures which have been taken of it and the panoramas which have
been drawn from it.

Unfortunately a very large number of fatal accidents have taken place on
this mountain, and an interesting but somewhat incomplete article on
this subject will be found in _Chambers's Journal_ for May 1887. The Mr.
Livesey there mentioned as having been killed by lightning seems to have
been really named Livesley, and was of Ashton, in Mackerfield,
Lancashire. This occurred on Sunday, September 21, 1884 (the _Times_,
September 23).

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CWM GLAS AND THE PARSON'S NOSE, FROM THE WEST]

=Cwm Glas.=--As there are three or four tarns on Snowdon called Llyn
Glas, so the name of Cwm Glas appears to have been confusingly popular.
Cwm Glas proper lies immediately under Crib y Ddysgl, and Crib Goch on
the north side; but, to say nothing of the next hollow to the west,
which is called Cwm Glas Bach (i.e. little), a recess lying just north
of both is called by the same name, and it would appear, from some of
the early topographers, that they understood the term to comprehend the
whole valley which forms the west approach to the Llanberis Pass. The
proper cwm can only be reached from Llanberis or from Penygwrhyd. From
the latter (the usual starting-point) the simplest, though not the
shortest, way is to go over the pass and down to Pontygromlech, and
there, instead of crossing by the bridge, bear away to the left, and up
into the cwm. Experts can save something by striking off much earlier
near the top of the pass. Those who come from Llanberis will leave the
highroad at a point 3½ miles from the station and about half a mile
short of the cromlech.

Before the two pools come into sight several short but striking pieces
of rock are met with, and, indeed, the rock scenery on all sides is
extremely fine. Many people come here for that reason alone, and are
content to see the rocks without climbing them. For them there is an
easy way up to join the Llanberis path by way of the grassy slope west
of the Parson's Nose, of which more anon. Between the two a second ridge
is seen, smaller than the Nose, and roughly parallel to it, leading out
on to Ddysgl, much further up. Not far from this Mr. F. R. Wilton died
in 1874 (see _Crib y Ddysgl_) and Mr. Dismore was killed in 1882.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Parson's Nose.=--The best known climb in Cwm Glas is on the rock called
Clogwyn y Person (i.e. 'Parson's Cliff'), alias the =Parson's Nose=. It
is a spur of Crib y Ddysgl, and is easily identified by its projecting
in a northerly direction between the two little pools in Cwm Glas. No
one seems to know the origin of the name; possibly it may have been
scaled by the famous climbing cleric who haunted Snowdonia half a
century ago. The most striking feature of this fine arête is the
wonderful excellence of the hold. Faces crossed by precarious-looking
ledges are found on a closer inspection to have behind those ledges
deep, narrow, vertical rifts, affording the perfection of hand-hold,
while the rock surface itself is so prickly and tenacious that
boot-nails grip splendidly, and the only difficulty for the fingers is
that some of them are apt to get left behind on the rocks. It may be
climbed direct up the face, either from the very foot or from a point
more to the right and some 30 ft. higher up. The height of the initial
climb is something like 100 ft. Again, there is a gully on each side of
the actual Nose, and it is usually climbed by one or other of these. The
western gully is blocked above by an overhanging rock, over or under
which it is necessary to climb or crawl. The gully on the opposite or
east side is longer, and generally much wetter, and is on that account
considered more difficult either to go up or to come down. The three
ascents unite close to the cairn. Above the cairn the ridge continues,
broken by only two respectable pitches, and leads on to the great tower
on Crib y Ddysgl, some 1,200 ft. above the beginning of the climb. It is
not, however, necessary, in order to get up out of Cwm Glas on to the
main ridge, to climb the Nose at all; by proceeding west and over some
white quartz slabs, close under the ridge, and then turning left, one
can get out easily a few feet from the top of the Nose, or nearly the
same point may be reached from the east side, only it will be after a
less interesting and generally somewhat wetter ascent. If a climb is
desired when the gullies are in a dangerous condition, there is a place
further to the right than the right-hand or west gully where a very
steep but safe scramble among big blocks leads up on to the bridge of
the Nose.

The following ascents are noted in the book at Penygwrhyd, that by T. W.
and R. W. being probably the first:--

_1887, September 18._--W. E. C. and A. E.

_1890, June 21._--W. P. and G. B. B. tried the Parson's Nose, and,
climbing the cleft from the south side, crawled between the rocks which
block its upper part, then up the crags to the right for a short
distance.

_1892, April 2._--A party which had ascended the north gully of Tryfaen
the day before ascended the Parson's Nose up the ridge, starting from
the cleft. About 50 ft. above it a wall of rock is met which must be
climbed either round a corner on the right hand or up a steep chimney on
the left. The latter route was chosen, but a large stone (the middle one
of three on the left side of the chimney) slipped, and remained in a
dangerous position.

_1892, August._--W. H. P. and G. B. B. climbed the 'wall of rock'
straight up, which they thought easier than the chimney to the left or
the green gully to the right.

_September 23._--Mrs. H., Miss B., and a large party of gentlemen
climbed the Parson's Nose by the gully on the Llanberis side and the
jammed stone.

Bingley visited this cwm at the close of last century, and gives a good
description of it. He was much impressed by Caddy of Cwm Glas, the
strong woman. Her real name, by the way, was Catherine Thomas.

Cwm Glas Bach also has some fine rocks, and from the head of it up to
Cyrn Las a good climb may be had.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Crib Goch= ('The Red Ridge') stretches down westward from Crib y Ddysgl
to about opposite the summit of the Pass of Llanberis. The name is
sometimes used for the whole length of both cribs. This is admitted on
all hands to be inaccurate, if convenient, but there is some difference
of opinion as to where the line of demarcation should be drawn. Some say
at Bwlch Goch (2,816 ft.), while others put it a quarter of a mile or
more further west. About 500 yards east of the Bwlch, at almost the
highest point (3,023 ft.) of the ridge, a side-ridge strikes away to the
north, while the main line continues eastward. The well-known pinnacles
(including the 'Crazy' one) are close to Bwlch Goch, and on the north
side of the ridge overlooking Cwm Glas. The southern side, sloping into
Cwm Dyli, though very steep, is much less precipitous and rocky than the
other.

[Illustration: CRIB GOCH

(Snowdon beyond)]

_Starting Points._--Penygwrhyd and Gorphwysfa have almost a monopoly of
Crib Goch, because for all other places--such as Llanberis, Beddgelert,
Capel Curig, or Bettws y Coed--the distance from Gorphwysfa has simply
to be added as so many extra miles along a highroad. In the case of
Capel Curig this makes very little difference, seeing that Penygwrhyd
lies on the direct route for any ascent of Snowdon, and to the latter
there is no nobler approach than that along this ridge. Some have
thought it sensational, and many have described its terrors in very
sensational language; in fact, it takes the place which among the
English lakes is filled by the far less striking Striding Edge on
Helvellyn; but in truth, though it is the sort of place where ice, mist,
and high wind may encroach to some extent on the margin of safety, to a
steady head and foot there is no danger whatever. As for the hands, they
are hardly required at all, though for those who like it plenty of real
climbing can be had on the way.

[Illustration: PINNACLES OF CRIB GOCH]

Any mountaineer worthy of the name will admit that the ridge walk up
Snowdon by Lliwedd and down by Crib Goch is for its length one of the
finest in Europe. The mere gymnast also finds here plenty of enjoyment
and almost infinite variety. He may mount by the east ridge or by the
north ridge, or in the corner between the two. Again, the north ridge
may be reached by either of two gullies in its eastern flank. Of these
two gullies the more southerly is the steepest and longest, and may be
recognised at some distance by a peculiar split or gap, while the other
and more northerly, formed in rock of most cutting quality, offers a
convenient passage to the foot of the steep part of the north ridge,
from which point there is, if required, an easy descent into Cwm Glas.

The north ridge gives a short, pleasant scramble, and is somewhat
sheltered from southerly winds, which are sometimes an annoyance on the
east ridge.

Further west there are several good gullies on the Cwm Glas side,
especially round about the pinnacles. The Crazy Pinnacle may be ascended
either on the north-east or on the south-west side. The former is now
more favoured since the fall of a certain large stone on the latter,
which gave a useful hold in former days. Thirty years ago this ridge was
almost unknown. A writer of 1833 seems to imply that it had been
ascended by saying that 'the passage of it is hazardous, from the
shortness and slippery quality of the grass at those seasons of the year
when the mountain may be approached;' but this is evidently a mere
misapplication of what others had said about Clawdd Goch (Bwlch y Maen),
on the other side of the mountain, and we do not hear of anyone climbing
here before C. A. O. B. (1847) and F. H. B. a few years later. Between
1865 and 1875 it became better known, and in the books at Penygwrhyd we
find it recorded that in April 1884 H. and C. S. climbed from Cwm Dyli,
thence along the ridge by Crib y Ddysgl to the summit of Y Wyddfa.

In 1887, on June 30, E. K. climbed Crib Goch from Cwm Glas by the gully
to the left of the outstanding or Crazy Pinnacle. Near the top two big
stones are jammed in, and this compelled him to leave the gully; but on
June 29, 1890, G. S. S. found these stones climbable by the aid of a
crack in the rocks on the left hand. From this point the ridge can be
reached by taking to the rocks on the right. They are sound, which is
more than can be said for those on the left of the gully a little
farther down.

[Illustration: PART OF CRIB GOCH]

On July 31 and August 2 E. K. scrambled up the other gullies nearer
Bwlch Goch, and found them easier than the first, which is the main one
seen from Cwm Glas. He pronounced these climbs well worth trying, but
not fit for beginners.

On June 17, 1890, W. P. and G. B. B. ascended to Bwlch Goch, and bearing
round the foot of the first pinnacle, climbed the gully between the
first and the second. They found the holding good, but the rocks by
which the gully is blocked somewhat difficult to pass.

In 1894, on September 14, W. E. C., S., and B. climbed Crib Goch to the
central cairn from Cwm Glas.

On December 9, 1894, J. M. A. T., H. H., and H. E. climbed the face from
Cwm Glas beside an insignificant watercourse, reaching the ridge at the
ruined cairn, then, passing along to the Crazy Pinnacle, scrambled down
the gully on the Llanberis Pass side of it. The latter climb they
describe as short but excellent, and the former as also good. No more
climbs here are described in the _Book of Penygwrhyd_, but many others
have been made. The truth is that for the last quarter of a century
hardly a climber has visited Wales without making Crib Goch a primary
object, and consequently there is not a climb on it whereof men say
'See, this is new.'

       *       *       *       *       *

=Crib y Ddysgl.=--The name is pronounced practically 'Cribbythiskle,'
and sometimes written 'Distyl,' a spelling probably due to a desire to
support the common derivation of the name from 'destillare' i.e.
'dripping ridge.' The climate of Wales, however, is not such as to make
any ridge remarkable merely because it drips, and moreover the
derivation will not account for the other instances of the word. For
instance, two or three miles west of the Pitt's Head we have Trum y
Ddysgyl, and the proximity to it of Cwmtrwsgyl suggests that some
distinction is expressed by the penultimate syllables. Attempts to
derive the name from 'disgl' (= 'dish') seem equally futile. Possibly
the explanation may be found in the word 'dysgwyl' ('watch,' 'expect')
(compare Disgwylfa, in Cardiganshire), which would make it parallel to
names like Lookingstead, &c.

The highest point of Crib y Ddysgl is called Carnedd Ugain, and is a
worthy rival of Y Wyddfa itself, being, according to the Ordnance
surveyors, only 69 ft. lower--viz. 3,491 ft.--and from some points of
view a really beautiful peak.

From the highest point a narrow crest runs due east, reaching in about a
quarter of a mile the huge buttress called Clogwyn y Person, which comes
up out of Cwm Glas and has been described with it. This part is
sometimes spoken of as the Gribin, a name which the large Ordnance map
does not give, and I know of no other authority for it, though it is
quite a likely place to bear the name. The main ridge continues east
until it joins Crib Goch. The ridge, though sharp, is not a likely place
for an accident to a climber, and, indeed, no accident seems to have
occurred actually on the ridge, but more than one death has taken place
close by. On August 10, 1874, a young man of great promise, Mr.
Frederick Roberts Wilton, son of Mr. Robert Wilton, of Doncaster,[12]
and a master in the City of London School, ascended Snowdon from
Llanberis, and seems to have asked his way to Capel Curig, and to have
been informed (not quite accurately) that he must turn to the right
'near the spring,' which is a good bit beyond the proper point of
divergence from the Llanberis path. His body was ultimately found a
fortnight later 'in the slippery course of a small mountain stream which
descends sharply from the most southerly branch of the miners' path
immediately below Crib y Ddysgl into the basin known as Cwm Glas.
Evidently he had gone down a steep shingly slope with a wall of rock on
his right hand over the entrance of a rocky watercourse.' These details
are taken from a letter of his colleague, Mr. W. G. Rushbrooke. As the
body was found in a posture of repose, and there was no sign of any
injury sufficient to cause death, there is some reason to fear that this
unfortunate gentleman died of exposure. For further details see the
_Times_ for August 22, 24, 26, and 28, 1874.

  [12] See the _Doncaster Chronicle_.

Another death from exposure took place here in the following
year--namely, that of Mr. Edward Grindley Kendall, of Crosby, near
Leicester, of whom something will be said under the head of _Cwm Dyli_.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Cwm Dyli= (pronounced 'Dully') is the great eastern recess of Snowdon,
and universally admitted to be the finest thing of the kind in Wales.
The long sharp ridge of Crib Goch and Crib y Ddysgl bounds it on the
north, while the almost equally fine, though less regular, ridge and
majestic crags of Lliwedd shut it in on the south. It contains Llyn
Llydaw (Hluddow), the largest lake, and Glaslyn, the finest tarn on the
whole mountain, and is one reason why the ascent of Snowdon from Capel
Curig is the finest of all.

The stream forms some fine cascades (800 ft. above sea level) in its
descent to the Vale of Gwynant. Half a mile above these cascades Clogwyn
Aderyn, on the north bank of the stream, and Clogwyn Penllechen, between
it and Llyn Teyrn (1,238 ft.), have a climb or two on them. At this llyn
the path from Gorphwysfa comes in, and along it the great majority of
people enter the cwm. The next landmark as we ascend is Llyn Llydaw
(1,416 ft.), nearly a mile long, the elevation of which so close an
observer as Cliffe over-estimated by more than 1,000 ft. Climbers bound
for Lliwedd leave the lake entirely on the right, and find a foot-bridge
close to the exit of the stream from it. The path to Snowdon crosses the
lake by a stone causeway, which is rarely submerged by floods. From the
head of Llyn Llydaw there is a steep rise--555 ft. in a quarter of a
mile--to the tarn called Glaslyn (1,971 ft.) Between this and the sky
line at the head of the cwm, 1,290 ft. higher, only one more hollow
remains, called Pantylluchfa, and here the crags of Clogwyn y Garnedd
show up magnificently. It may be mentioned that many people get
hopelessly confused in reading or giving descriptions of Snowdon,
because they fail to distinguish Glaslyn, here, from Llyn Glas, half a
mile to the north of it, in Cwm Glas, and another Llyn Glas less than a
mile due west in Cwm Clogwyn. If they know Glaslyn they naturally assume
that it must be in Cwm Glas, and if they know Cwm Glas they place
Glaslyn in it. Some of the confusion would be avoided if the latter
were called by what would seem to be its older and true
name--Llynffynnonglas.

[Illustration: SNOWDON FROM GLASLYN

  _a_, Bwlch y Snethan.
  _b_, Summit, with Clogwyn y Garnedd below.
  _c_, Junction of paths from Penygwrhyd and Llanberis.]

Cwm Dyli was the scene in 1875 of one of the strangest of all the
disasters which have happened on the mountain. The victim was Mr. Edward
Grindley Kendal, of Crosby, near Leicester, who on June 11 left Gwynant
Valley in order to ascend Snowdon. Nothing more was heard of him or his
till the end of that month, when a Mr. and Mrs. David Moseley,
descending with a guide, found on the edge of Llyn Llydaw a wet and
mouldy pair of boots, each containing a stocking marked 'Kendal' and a
garter. It was at once surmised that the missing man had been wading and
become engulfed in quicksands, which were stated to be numerous. His
friends went so far as to employ a professional diver to explore the
bottom of the lake, though it would seem that if the body was in the
water simpler means would have answered the purpose, and if it was below
the water the diver could neither find it nor follow it. At any rate he
did not find it, because it was not there. It was found about ten days
later on Crib y Ddysgl uninjured--it was identified by Mr. Ison,
brother-in-law of the deceased and the jury at Llanberis found a verdict
of 'death from exposure.' It was not precisely stated on what part of
Crib y Ddysgl the body was found, and nothing transpired as to the
condition of the feet; but it is simply amazing to anyone familiar with
the character of the ground that a bare-footed man should ever have got
so far. Why he did it and how he did it will always remain among the
mysteries of Snowdon.[13] Other deaths have taken place in this cwm,
for which see under _Lliwedd_ and _Clogwyn y Garnedd_.

  [13] The _Times_, July 2, 6, 8, and 15, 1875.

It is curious that two of the lakes in this valley are among those
mentioned 200 years ago by the learned Edward Lhwyd as 'distinguished by
names scarce intelligible to the best Criticks in the British.'

       *       *       *       *       *

=Clogwyn y Garnedd y Wyddfa=--i.e. 'the Precipice under the Cairn of
Snowdon'--has been commonly known by the first three words only for at
least 200 years. It is one of the grandest cliffs on Snowdon, and gives
very fine climbing.

For more than two centuries this precipice has been famous as a refuge
for rare ferns and plants. The guide William Williams, well known as a
botanist, lost his life here while in search of the Woodsia; so at least
says Mr. T. G. Bonney, though he is far from accurate in the date of the
accident, which, writing in 1874, he describes as having taken place
'some twenty years ago.' The actual date was June 19, 1861.[14] The old
guide had taken up a lady and gentleman from Llanberis, and went from
the top alone to gather ferns. The fall was 'down a declivity of three
hundred yards.' The body was found at the foot of the precipice, after
'scouts' had been sent out. He had fallen from the point where the slope
suddenly changes from about 45° to, perhaps, 75° or 80°. The spot where
he slipped was for many years, and perhaps still is, marked by a white
stone.

  [14] See the _Times_, June 25, 1861.

On the shore of Glaslyn, at the south-west corner, there is a small
cross of wood marking the spot where the body of Mr. Maxwell Haseler was
found. He was making for Snowdon by the Lliwedd ridge, and fell from a
short distance above Bwlch y Saethau. The party seem to have been well
equipped, and contained members of experience, who were not without
ropes and axes. They started on January 26, 1879, for Snowdon by
Lliwedd, and, after lunching about 1 P.M. on Bwlch y Saethau, proceeded
in the direction of Snowdon. Mr. Haseler took a separate course, more to
the right hand, and almost immediately seems to have slipped and fallen.
His body was found next morning by the shore of Glaslyn, and it was
reckoned that he had fallen some 600 or 700 ft. The inquest was held at
Penygwrhyd. The victim of this accident was only twenty-three years
old.[15]

  [15] The _Times_, January 29 and February 7, 1879; _Chambers's
  Journal_, May 7, 1887.

The following notes are among the records of Penygwrhyd:--

On September 23, 1887, W. E. C. and A. E. ascended Snowdon from Glaslyn
by the first gully on Clogwyn y Garnedd.

In 1890, on June 20, W. P. and G. B. B. descended from Snowdon to
Haseler's Cross by the gully immediately above it in Clogwyn y Garnedd.

In 1890, on September 27, F. W. J. found an excellent gully climb,
possibly that referred to in the note of September 23, 1887. He started
from Glaslyn, keeping to the right edge of the lake, and, facing towards
Bwlch y Saethau, saw a gully choked by jammed stones (five in number),
beginning almost from the foot. It has often been climbed. The most
interesting and difficult piece is where a large stone roofs a cavern
some 15 ft. high. In it there is a kind of skylight, through which the
climber must go by an indescribable twist of the body. From the bottom
of the gully to the huts where the climb ends is 900 ft., all except a
portion of the upper end being narrow gully, and the rest a scramble
over rocks.

On December 13, 1891, Mrs. H. ascended the big Clogwyn y Garnedd gully
direct to the summit of Snowdon.

On September 24, 1892, Miss B. and a large party of gentlemen climbed
(second lady's ascent) the Clogwyn y Garnedd gully through the cavern.

In May 1893 a party climbed up by this and down by the next gully, on
the north, which has its head just below the huts.

In September 1893 the two Misses T. descended the great gully in 1 hour
25 minutes.

In 1894, on September 14, Messrs. W. E. C., S., and B. descended the
face of Clogwyn y Garnedd to the left of the big gully.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SNOWDON FROM THE NORTH, WITH LLIWEDD ON THE LEFT]

=Lliwedd= (2,947 ft.) stretches away eastward from the summit of
Snowdon, dividing Cwm Dyli on the north from Cwm y Llan on the south.
Strictly speaking, perhaps the name only applies to the central portion,
where its magnificent northern crags overlook the head of Llyn Llydaw,
but, as in the case of Crib Goch, the significance of the name has
been enlarged, and it is frequently used to denote the whole length of
the ridge.

At the Nant Gwynant end a transverse ridge, called Gallt y Wenallt,
bears near its base some remarkably fine rocks, on which there is very
good climbing. West of the Gallt a side valley, called Cwm Merch, runs
nearly due south, and beyond this Cwm Lliwedd proper begins. The
southern slope of it is steep, but that to the north is imposingly
precipitous. It is, in fact, unsurpassed in Wales. Advancing in the
direction of Snowdon, the cliffs become less sheer and the crest less
broken, and as soon as the highest point of Crib Goch is 'on with' the
head of Llydaw Bwlch Ciliau offers a rough descent into Cwm Dyli. Next
on the west comes the Criman, corresponding geographically to Clogwyn y
Person on Ddysgl, but more broken; beyond them Bwlch y Saethau (i.e.
_Arrows Gap_), leading down to the head of Glaslyn. The last quarter of
a mile up to the top of Snowdon is very steep, rising nearly 1,000 ft.
in that distance. It was here that Mr. Maxwell Haseler, in 1879, lost
his life by keeping too much to the right.

[Illustration: LLIWEDD FROM THE NORTH-WEST.]

In August 1872 Mr. T. H. Murray Browne and Mr. W. R. Browne, the
discoverers of the Scafell Pinnacle, saw the merits of this climb, and
attacked it without success. Public attention was first drawn to Lliwedd
as a climbing-ground by the ascent made in 1883 by Messrs. T. W. Wall
and A. H. Stocker, and thus described by the former in the _Alpine
Journal_:[16]--

  [16] Vol. xi. p. 239.

'This northern face consists of four buttresses, with three fairly
well-defined couloirs between them. The summit ridge has two peaks, of
which the western, nearer Snowdon, is the higher by a few feet. In
January 1882 from the summit of Crib Goch Mr. A. H. Stocker and myself
were struck by the grand appearance of the Lliwedd cliffs, and hearing
from Owen, the landlord of the Penygwrhyd Hotel, that the northern face
had never been climbed, the desire to make the first ascent naturally
came upon us. On the 10th we made our first attempt by the central
couloir, which leads up to the depression between the two summits. As it
was raining the whole day the rocks were in an abominable state, and it
was with the greatest difficulty that we managed to get up about 150
ft.' On January 3, 1883, they tried again. 'On January 4, after
carefully observing the rocks of the buttress to the west of the central
couloir, we came to the conclusion that it might be possible to cross
the face in an upward direction from east to west, and then strike
straight up. At 11.15 A.M. we got on the rocks, beginning from the lower
of two dark green patches seen from below. From this a ledge runs up to
the right, and if it had only been continuous Lliwedd would present no
very great difficulties. Unfortunately this was not the case; there were
most formidable-looking gaps in it, and the ledges above and below were
tacked on to it by smooth and almost perpendicular gullies. Three bits
in particular may be mentioned as far the hardest, although they are
more or less typical of these crags, which nowhere offer 20 consecutive
yards of easy rock-work. The first difficulty which presented itself was
where the ledge was broken by a bold face of rock. One of us was pushed
to the top of the smooth part, and finding that he could not descend to
the ledge on the other side, he ascended a little higher, anchored
himself firmly to the rocks, assisted his companion up, and let him down
to the required ledge; then, throwing the rope over a pinnacle, he gave
both ends to his companion to hold tight, and slid down the 40 ft. of
rope to join him. After a few yards of easier work we came to a ledge
about 6 inches wide and 4 yards long; the rock above was nearly
perpendicular, with no hand-hold, and there was nothing below. It was
the only way; we could not turn it, and somehow we got over, but neither
of us wishes to be there again. From that ever-to-be-remembered ledge
the climbing was grand work up to the point where we had to turn from a
westerly direction to go straight up the face. Here there was one nasty
corner. A narrow ledge about 2 inches wide had below it a sloping face
of rock with three minute cracks in it. One of us had crossed this in
safety, and so assumed a position in which the rope would have been of
very little use. He was then opposed by a steep bit, topped by 4 ft. of
perpendicular rock, with a very steep slope of heather above. At the
moment that his last foot left the highest peg of rock his other knee
slipped, and the heather, grass, and earth began to give way in his left
hand. It was an awkward moment, for the other man was not well situated
for supporting a jerk at the end of 30 ft. of rope, which would mean a
fall of about 50 ft. Happily the other knee got on the heather and the
axe held firm in the earth. Our difficulties were then over. The rocks
grew less and less difficult as we ascended, and after 4½ hours of
incessant work up 850 ft. of rocks we found ourselves on the summit
ridge, exactly 13 yards from the cairn.

[Illustration: LLIWEDD FROM LLYN LLYDAW

  _a_, East buttress.
  _b_, Central gully.
  _c_, West buttress.
  _d_, Slanting gully.]

'It may be mentioned that the only real difficulties lie in the first
200 ft.; above that point the mountain presents rock-work of a very high
order, but nothing stupendously difficult, the rock being very firm.

'Future climbers will probably find that of the three couloirs the
western is comparatively easy; the central may perhaps be ascended by
climbing the lower rocks on the right, and the eastern by a long détour
to the left. The buttress to the left of the central couloir looks as
difficult as rocks possibly can look. But there is a chance that a
careful search among the rocks to the left of the central couloir might
reward a rock-climber with an exciting and successful scramble. In any
case the whole northern face is distinctly difficult.'

Under the date of April 12, 1884, we find recorded by H. S. and C. S. an
ascent of Lliwedd by the ridge from Llyn Llydaw, which is apparently
nothing more than the ordinary walk, but in 1887, early in April, is an
important note in the hand of Mr. Stocker.

'_Hints for the Ascent of Lliwedd by the North Face._

  (N.B. Lliwedd consists of two peaks--the eastern and western
  buttress--with a well-defined gully running up between them.)

'1. _Ascent of Western Buttress to the Right of Central Gully._--Make
for the lower of two green patches easily seen from below just to the
right of the foot of the central gully. From it work upwards to the
right to the second green patch; then again upwards, still to the right,
to a very small, steep green slope. From this the climb is almost
straight up, inclining a little to the left at first. This will land the
climber a few yards to the west of the cairn.

'2. _Ascent by Central Gully and Western Buttress._--Go up the gully
till the foot of the steep bit is reached; then climb out of the gully
by ledges on the right on to the western buttress. As soon as possible
make straight up the face, keeping the gully a little to the left. This
will land the climber at the cairn.

'No. 2 is an easier climb than No. 1. All through the hand and foot
hold is very good. The chief difficulties lie in the first 200 ft. after
leaving the gully. The upper part is fairly easy. The whole climb is
about 850 ft.'

In 1887, April 11, O. E. and T. V. S. ascended Lliwedd by the central
gully at first and afterwards in a line rather left of the summit. Time,
under 3½ hours.

In September 1887 W. E. C. and A. E. climbed Lliwedd by Mr. Stocker's
second route in 1 hour 23 minutes from base to cairn, and subjoined a
list of previous ascents, viz.--

  First attempt. T. H. M. B. and W. R. B., August 1872 (Vis. Bk.)
  January 7, 1883, Messrs. Stocker and Wall, by route 1.
  April 24, 1884, Messrs. A. H. S. and P., by route 2.
  April 11, 1887, Messrs. O. E. and T. V. S., by route 2.
  September 10, 1887, Mr. R. W., by route 1.
  September 20, 1887, Messrs. W. E. C. and A. E., by route 2.

On May 20, 1888, Mr. Alfred Evans and two friends, W. E. C. and -- K.,
left Penygwrhyd at 10 A.M., crossed the northern arête of Crib Goch and
Cwm Glas, and climbed Clogwyn Person and by Crib y Ddysgl to the top of
Snowdon. Evans and K. then descended by the second or third gully from
Bwlch Glas on Clogwyn y Garnedd to the head of Llyn Llydaw. C., E., and
K. started up the central gully of Lliwedd at 5.5 P.M. At the bottom,
and for some distance up, the rocks are water-worn and but little broken
up, and the water flowing down rendered this part difficult. At the
moment when C. was about 300 ft. above the scree Evans was about 80 ft.
below him, and could not advance. C., therefore, went down 3 or 4 ft.
and rested. Evans then tried to get out of the gully by the ledge
mentioned in Mr. Stocker's account. This ledge is divided in two parts
by a huge outstanding buttress with very scanty footing. Both men passed
this; then Evans lowered himself by K.'s ankle on to a rocky foothold
and tried to work to the right, but after doing 5 or 6 ft.--half the
requisite distance--his feet slipped, his arms were unable to support
him, and he fell on his feet about 5 yards on to the edge of a steeply
sloping grass ledge running up to this part of the cliff. From this
point in four or five terrible leaps he fell over and over, a total
distance of 200 ft., to the screes below. The accident happened at 6.55
P.M., and K. is stated to have descended to the body, a distance of 200
ft. of the most awkward climbing in the whole gully, in the space of 5
minutes. This is hardly credible, but under such circumstances people do
not judge time accurately.

This accident need never have happened. If ever a party courted disaster
it was done on this occasion.

A cross was erected by friends of Mr. Evans on the spot where his body
was found, but being much damaged by stones it had to be removed in 1892
to a rocky knoll not far off, where its position is more secure. It
records the age of Mr. Evans as 24.

On June 10, 1889, M., A. L. M., and B. climbed the north face of Lliwedd
by the rocks of the western buttress, keeping close to the central gully
almost the whole of the way.

On January 1, 1893, F. P., F. W. O., and H. J. R. ascended the north
face of Lliwedd by the western buttress, starting just to the right of
the central gully, and coming up at the cairn. Time, 3 hours.

At Easter 1893 H. G. G. and -- W. climbed by the central gully and the
western buttress, coming out at the cairn, in 3 hours 5 minutes, all the
rocks being dry.

On April 7, 1893, T. H. M. climbed the north-west face alone in 2½
hours: he found two difficult spots near where Messrs. G. and W.
scratched their initials on the rocks. Everything was dry.

On September 14, 1894, W. E. C. and M. K. S. ascended the central gully
for about 200 ft., then went up the western buttress, and crossed the
gully again to the eastern buttress, about 300 ft. below the top,
reaching the summit in 2 hours and 20 minutes.

On October 14, 1894, J. M. A. T., H. H., and H. E. ascended the central
gully to a point apparently beyond that where others have broken out
upon the face, and continued up a steep stretch of rock by taking a
narrow gutter between the centre and right wall, the upper part being
found difficult. A broad ledge brought them to a similar reach, where
the outward slope of the holds became more and more pronounced. Finding
the rocks above quite impassable, the party descended by means of an
iron claw, which had to be left, and then by a ledge in the right wall
and an awkward corner got out on the face of the west buttress. Here
they found the ledges narrow and the crags extremely steep, but working
upwards and tending to the right they crossed an incipient gully by an
awkward stride, and thereafter met with only ordinary difficulties, but
on passing a cleft which opens into the gully enjoyed a magnificent view
of the latter, and struck the summit at the cairn. They pronounced the
climb to be quite impossible for one man.

_The Slanting Gully._--This gully, on the west side of the western
buttress, is easily identified, being the next one to the west of the
great central gully and a striking feature of the north face of Lliwedd.
It is clearly marked all the way up, and is most readily approached by
crossing diagonally up the screes below the great gully and then
skirting the base of the rocks of the western buttress. This gully was
attacked on January 9, 1894, by Messrs. F. O. W., C. W. N., E. H. K.,
and H. K. It was then frozen up and covered with snow to a depth varying
from a few inches to 3 ft. In 4 hours an estimated height of 350 or 400
ft. above the starting-point was attained, the whole of this distance,
with the exception of a few steps in deep snow, having to be climbed.
The party kept in the gully the whole way, usually close against the
rocks on the western side. Progress was finally arrested at a point
where the gully becomes, for some distance, a mere crack, formed by the
western rocks overhanging an almost smooth slab, where hold for hand or
foot seems almost entirely wanting. With longer time at disposal it
seemed possible that this difficulty might have been surmounted by
wriggling up inside the crack, or by a dangerous scramble on the face of
the slab. Two members of the party were provided with crampons, and
derived great steadiness and safety from their use. The uniformly steep
angle at which this gully lies may be gathered from the fact that a
rücksack dropped from the highest point was picked up at the
starting-point on the return. It was the opinion of most of the party
that the condition of the snow and rocks was, on the whole, favourable
for climbing, as the ice and snow gave some assistance in places which
without them might have been still more difficult.

The next attempt is valuable, as notes were taken on the heights of some
of the obstacles.

On March 26, 1894, the gully was attacked by J. C. M., O. M., and W. P.
from the screes (2,300 ft.) at 1.55 P.M. They arrived in the cave (2,690
ft.) at 5 P.M. They considered the conditions favourable, except that
the snow was melting, but found the climbing difficult all the way. At
about 2,500 ft. a chimney 70 ft. high had to be squirmed up. They were
of opinion that the gully could not be climbed direct, and all their
efforts to break out on either side were frustrated. The climbing does
not, as in the central gully, become more easy as progress is made; on
the contrary, the difficulties increase. The party carried two ropes,
one of 50 ft. and one of 80 ft., and at one place had to use the full
length of both together. The descent took 2 hours.

On Thursday, August 30, 1894, this gully cost a valuable life. Mr. J.
Mitchell, of Oxford, an assistant editor of the _New Historical English
Dictionary_, started from the foot at about 2 P.M. The first pitch was
quickly ascended, and he then proceeded, apparently without difficulty,
to the foot of the long chimney, which he passed by means of the face.
On reaching the top he waved his handkerchief, and, being asked what it
was like, replied that it was very stiff. Not long after he was seen in
a cave, which the lookers-on (probably in error) identified with the
highest point reached by previous climbers. From this he climbed with
great difficulty to the top, as it appeared from below, of a long chasm,
with his head just below an overhanging rock, upwards of 150 ft. above
the cave, and after more than half an hour of fruitless endeavour to
make further progress he fell at 4.30 P.M., and was killed on the spot.
The body was found at the above-mentioned cave, and was brought down by
four quarrymen at great personal risk. The lesson which should be drawn
from this is, that if a man will insist on climbing alone he should not
choose for his attack climbs which parties of greater skill and
experience than his own have found to be beyond their powers.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Cwm y Llan.=--This large cwm stretches away from Snowdon top to the
south-east between Yr Aran and Lliwedd. The scenery consists mainly of
the South Snowdon Slate Works, which occupy the centre of the valley, at
a height of about 1,100 ft., and of Sir Edward Watkin's road up Snowdon.

There is very little climbing, though some parts of Geuallt and Aran are
very steep. On the Lliwedd side there is a good rock (Craig Ddu), not
far from the slate works, and others rather smaller near the exit of the
valley, while at the head, near Bwlch y Maen, almost under Snowdon and
near Bwlch y Saethau, some difficult passages occur.

The slate quarry here must not be confused with 'Cwm y Llan slate
quarry,' which is not in this valley at all, but on the western slope of
Aran, about a third of a mile beyond Bwlch Cwm y Llan. This little pass
(about 1,700 ft.) is very useful to anyone who, after a climb on
Lliwedd, wishes to reach the nearest railway station, for Pont Rhyd-ddu
is very much nearer than Llanberis and can be reached without climbing
over Snowdon summit. From the top of Lliwedd the pass is in full view,
and a stone wall is seen stretching half-way from it towards two little
reservoirs which are some 600 yards higher up the valley than the slate
works. It is a mile and a half from Lliwedd by way of these reservoirs
to the top of the bwlch, which will hardly be reached within half an
hour. From the bwlch a fair path on the right bank of the stream leads
towards Llynygader, and soon crosses the path from Snowdon to
Beddgelert. By keeping round the hill to the right the Carnarvon
highroad (which is easily seen from above) is gradually neared. The
distance from the bwlch direct to the station may be covered in
three-quarters of an hour, making in all 1¼ hour from Lliwedd, as
compared with at least 2½ hours which would be required to reach
Llanberis from the same point.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Cwm Creigiog= is a shallow and unimportant hollow on the south-west
side of Snowdon, lying between Aran and the ordinary Beddgelert path to
the summit. The cwm has no attractions for a climber, yet at least one
life has been lost in it. This was in the winter of 1859, when a Mr. Cox
is said to have ascended Snowdon from Llanberis, and to have become
exhausted on the way down to Beddgelert, between Llechog and the farm
called Fridduchaf. His foolish guide left him alone and went in search
of food, with the result, which in such cases usually follows, of
finding his unfortunate employer dead on his return. The spot is marked
by a heap of stones. Mr. Baddeley says it 'marks the spot where a
tourist lost his life from exhaustion in 1874'--perhaps a mistake
arising out of a death of the same kind in that year on quite another
part of the mountain.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Clogwyndur Arddu= ('Black Precipice') is the magnificent ridge which
divides Cwm Clogwyn on the south from Cwm Brwynog on the north, being
the western buttress of Y Wyddfa, or more strictly of Carnedd Ugain. The
ascent from the Snowdon Ranger traverses nearly the whole length of the
ridge, which broadens out at its western end into Moel y Cynghorion,
beyond which again is the low pass of Bwlch Maes y Cwm (1,100 ft.),
giving an easy passage from Llanberis to Snowdon Ranger and Beddgelert.
The cliffs on the north side of the ridge are grand, and have been
concerned in more than one fatal accident. In 1846 the Rev. Henry
Wellington Starr, B.A., of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, eldest son of Mr.
George Starr, of Hilperton, Wiltshire, and then a curate in Northampton,
left Dolbadarn Inn on September 6 to ascend Snowdon. He failed to
return, and on inquiry being made by his friends people came forward
with evidence which seemed to show that he had reached the top of
Snowdon, then descended to Gorphwysfa, crossed the head of Llanberis
Pass, and ascended Glyder Fawr. At that point a guide professed to have
met him, and brought him about half-way down, particularly noting that
he wore a single glove, corresponding exactly to another which he had
left with his luggage at the hotel. Search was made in every direction,
but it was not till the beginning of June in the following year that any
light was thrown on the mystery. On that day some of the clothes were
found accidentally by William Hughes, a huntsman, who was exercising his
dogs, apparently on Moel Cynghorion, and next day, on further search
being made, the skeleton was discovered buried under gravel. His purse
and chain were found, but his watch and ring were gone. It appears from
the evidence of Griffith Ellis, of Llanberis, who found part of the
remains, that the deceased had fallen over the cliff of Clogwyn Coch, on
Moel Cynghorion, while ascending from Llyn Cwellyn--that is, by the
'Snowdon Ranger' route.[17]

  [17] The _Times_, 1846, October 14, October 24, October 30,
  November 3, and 1847, June 5; the _Globe_, October 1846;
  _Chambers's Journal_, May 1887.

In 1859 a fatal accident took place near the eastern end of the ridge.
The victim, George Henry Frodsham, a clerk in Liverpool, described as a
young man of very fine physique, arrived at Llanberis on Saturday,
August 13, accompanied by his cousin, F. A. Nicholson, and four friends,
T. Clayhills, J. Snape, J. Goodiear, and A. Gardner. It was midnight,
but they started off at once for Snowdon. They got as far as the
'half-way house,' where the proper path turns left, and up towards Cyrn
Las; they, however, took the right-hand fork, which leads to the old
copper level above Llyn du'r Arddu. Struggling up the rocks from the
mine, Frodsham, encumbered by an umbrella and a bag, and being,
moreover, in the dark, slipped and fell, unknown to his friends, who
returned to the proper path and gained the summit. His cousin is said to
have searched for him continuously from 4 A.M. on Sunday to 9 P.M. on
Monday. At 6 A.M. on Tuesday the body was found by W. Owen; the skull
was fractured both at the top and at the back, and the bag and umbrella
were found 200 yards higher up, indicating that distance as the extent
of his fall. A sapient jury drew from this sad event the moral that a
guide should be employed as a safeguard against sudden mists; but few
men need fear mists less than those who choose to climb when it is pitch
dark. It may be said that this party neglected no precaution which is
likely to ensure a fatal accident--inexperience, fatigue, darkness,
difficult rocks, the burden of bags and umbrellas.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Llechog= (i.e. 'Flat, Slabby Place').--There are two ridges of this
name on Snowdon; one is traversed by the ordinary route from Beddgelert
and that from Rhyd-ddu, and is precipitous on its curving north front;
the other forms the western wall of Cwm Glas Bach, and is traversed for
some distance by the pony path from Llanberis. Towards the Llanberis
Pass road it presents a fine rocky ridge, very steep and lofty, on which
good climbing may here and there be found.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Moel Eilio= (2,382 ft.), less than three miles south-west of Llanberis
station, has a namesake on the west side of the river Conway, not far
from Llanrwst. The name is sometimes spelt Aeliau. The view from the top
is extremely fine; the ascent is easy, and, as there is a railway on
each side of it, access to the foot of it is very simple. The rockiest
side is towards the east. Early in the century a poor little fellow
named Closs, while trying to follow his mother from Bettws Garmon to
Llanberis, was lost on this mountain. The story is told by H. L. Jones
(1829) in his finely illustrated book, and by Wright (1833) and Bennett
(1838). The last-named gives his epitaph.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Garnedd Goch Range.=--=Garnedd Goch= (2,315 ft.) (i.e. 'The Red
Cairns') is a very rugged and unfrequented range of hills lying to the
west of Beddgelert. The huge Nantlle slate quarries on the north side of
it have spoilt some very pretty scenery and some very pretty climbs.
Beddgelert and Snowdon Ranger are good starting-points, and better still
is Penygroes station, on the line from Portmadoc to Carnarvon.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Moel Hebog= ('Hawk Hill,' 2,578 ft.) seems to have been ascended last
century by Lord Lyttelton, by the Ordnance surveyors, and in August 1857
by Mr. J. H. Cliffe, who in his book (published 1860) gives a clear
description of his ascent. In his opinion one of the cairns on the
summit was then 'very ancient.'

It is essentially a Beddgelert mountain, but can be conveniently taken
from many other places at the cost of more time, as, for instance, from
Snowdon Ranger on the north, Tremadoc and Criccieth on the south, and
Brynkir station on the west.

A man in the pink of condition who knows the way well can get to the top
from Beddgelert in about three-quarters of an hour, but most people take
1½ or 2 hours. The horizontal distance is under 2 miles, nearly the
same as that from Wastdale Head to Scafell Pike; but the vertical
height is less by one-quarter.

The proper route is very simple. A shoulder runs down north-west on to
the Carnarvon road, and the ridge of it, after being reached by
proceeding due west from Beddgelert, is followed straight to the top.
This shoulder may, of course, be used by those who approach from the
Snowdon Ranger, but for them a better plan is to take, about ¼ mile
after passing the Pitt's Head, a road which continues on the right bank
of the stream to Glan y Gors, a few yards beyond which a turning on the
right leads across a side stream and past the farm of Hafod Ryffydd to
the foot of Cwm Meillionen, and, by following either the cwm or the
ridge on the left hand, the top of Moel Hebog is easily reached.

The routes from Tremadoc, Criccieth, and Brynkir all take the dull side
of the mountain; but this disadvantage is counterbalanced by the
increased effect which this gives to the view of Snowdon on reaching the
top, and to the peep down into the valley of Beddgelert, below. The most
difficult way to hit off is that from Nantlle, but in point of rock
scenery it is the finest of all, and was chosen by the Alpine Club for
their excursion when they met here in 1883.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Mynydd Mawr= (i.e. 'Great Mountain') rises just opposite to and west of
the Snowdon Ranger Inn.

The noble crag Castell Cidwm (i.e. castle of the wolf or robber) runs
steeply down to Llyn Cwellyn, and well deserves a visit. Borrow, on
seeing it from the south, was reminded of Gibraltar. Craig y Bera also,
which overhangs Drws y Coed, is part of this mountain, and has some very
striking rock scenery.


Denbigh.

This county has little climbing. A few rocks near Bettws y Coed offer
short climbs, which are more satisfactory than the limestone rocks of
Orme's Head, near Llandudno, or of the Eglwyseg cliffs, near Llangollen;
but we find in =Dinas Bran=, close by, an extremely steep,
castle-crowned hill, and much favoured by picnickers. It seems, however,
to have been the scene of some early climbing, made too, quite properly,
with the rope.

Leland says, 'Ther bredith in the Rok Side that the Castelle stondith on
every yere an Egle. And the Egle doth sorely assaut hym that distroith
the Nest goyng down in one Basket and having a nother over his Hedde to
defend the sore Stripe of the Egle.'

Under such circumstances a climber ought to find St. Paul a better
patron saint than St. Martin.


Montgomeryshire.

=Berwyn Mountains.=--The name is said to signify 'White Tops'
(Bera-gwen). The range runs parallel to the river Dee, forming its south
bank for many miles. It is not lofty, Moel Sych (2,716 ft.) and Cader
Fronwen (2,573 ft.) being the highest points. The individual hills are
not of striking form, and are really little more than high heathery
moors, on which large numbers of grouse breed, but there are many points
on the south-east side where small but striking rocks are found,
chiefly about the heads of cwms hollowed out of the 'Llandeilo' and
'Bala' strata. These cwms are occasionally visited for the sake of the
waterfalls, two or three of which are exceedingly fine.

The rocks at Llangynog would be remarkably good if they had not fallen a
prey to the spoilers in the form of quarrymen.


Merionethshire.

    Merioneth mountains and shire Cardigan
    To travel over will tire horse and man,

says Taylor, the Water Poet, and, indeed, as a climbing county it is
only second to Carnarvon, and contains such fine mountains as Cader
Idris, the Arans, and the Rhinogs. The climbing capital is Dolgelly,
though the excellent service of the Cambrian Railway makes it easy to
scale almost any mountain from almost any place in the county. The
reason of this is that all the places of resort are near the coast, and
the mountains are not far inland, so that the railway following the
coast puts them all in communication with each other, and it is almost
equally convenient to stay at Barmouth, Harlech, Towyn, Aberdovey, or
Machynlleth. Indeed, this is almost the only county where railways are
cheerfully accepted by the mountaineer as friends and not as enemies. He
does not love them at Bettws y Coed, he loathes them at Llanberis, but
here they are unobtrusive and at the same time supremely useful.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Aberglaslyn.=--Through this beautiful defile lies the only correct
approach to Snowdon. It is a true mountain scene, somehow suggesting
Scotland rather than Wales, and of such beauty that, according to the
story, three Cambridge dons, who went round Wales criticising nature and
deducting marks for every defect, unanimously awarded full marks to
this. There is fairly good practice climbing on both sides of it, but
not very steep, in spite of the fears of some of the early travellers,
who (like Hutton in 1803) thought the sides would close before they got
through, and reached Beddgelert with a sense of relief.

It was one of the earliest scenes in Wales which the taste of last
century admitted to be picturesque. Sandby's view was taken about 120
years ago.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Cnicht= or =Cynicht= (2,265 ft.), =Moel Wyn= (2,529 ft.)--Mr. J. H.
Cliffe ascended the former on September 4, 1857, and declared that he
could only hear of one man who had preceded him (the climbing
clergyman).

Under certain aspects and conditions it is one of the most striking
mountains in Wales, owing to its sharp, conical form, but it bears very
little really good rock.

Beddgelert is the best place from which to ascend, and if the old and
higher road to Maentwrog be taken to ¼ mile short of the tramway in
Cwm Croesor, a ridge on the left hand can be followed right up to the
peak without fear of mistake.

If the ascent of Moel Wyn be included it adds less than an hour to the
time taken by the last expedition. On the other hand, if Moel Wyn is
ascended from Tanygrisiau, on the Ffestiniog line, it is equally easy to
take in Cynicht.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Rhinog Fawr= (2,362 ft.--just north of Rhinog Fach) is one of the most
striking of the rocky hills which rise behind Harlech. It is more
visited than would otherwise be the case because the pretty lake of Cwm
Bychan and the famous pass of Bwlch Drws Ardudwy, both places of
considerable resort, lie at its feet, one on either side. It is one of
the barest and most rocky mountains in all Wales, and yet it has hardly
anywhere on it a crag of respectable height. Little nameless problems,
however, abound, and men who are content to enjoy a day's promiscuous
scrambling, without accomplishing any notorious climb about which they
will afterwards be able to boast, may be recommended to ramble over
Rhinog Fawr.

_Easy Ascents._--Several stations on the Cambrian line are convenient
for the start, especially Harlech and Llanbedr. Vehicles can be got in
summer to take visitors to near Cwm Bychan (about 5 miles), from the
east end of which to reach the top of the mountain requires a long hour,
by way of the lakelet of Gloywlyn and up the western slope of the
mountain. From Dolgelly the way is not so easy to find. Bwlch Drws
Ardudwy, the pass between the two Rhinogs, is the first place to make
for, and for this the best plan is to go by the Precipice Walk or by the
Trawsfynydd highroad to the Camlan stream, which comes in on the left
half a mile or more beyond Tynygroes Inn. A path follows the stream for
nearly 3 miles to a slate quarry, which can also be reached rather more
quickly by crossing the bridge at Penmaenpool, especially if the train
be used as far as that station. Half a mile up the stream beyond the
quarry the course leaves the brook and strikes away north-north-west
round Rhinog Fach, rising as little as may be, so as to join the track
up Bwlch Drws Ardudwy. From the head of the pass, rugged as it looks, a
way may be picked northward to the east slope of the summit, but many
people prefer to descend to the west a long way, so as to strike the
easier south-western shoulder. A yet simpler route than the last, but,
as involving 3 miles more of the hateful Trawsfynydd road, intolerable
unless a carriage be taken, turns out of the route to the left half a
mile beyond the ninth milestone, and makes for the north side of Rhinog
Fawr. The path for nearly 3 miles is that which leads to Bwlch Drws
Ardudwy, and is quitted just after passing through a wall. The stream on
the right hand is now followed up to the pool at its head, until a turn
to the left and south brings the pedestrian up on to the summit. This
route may also be used from Trawsfynydd (where the Great Western have a
station very useful for Ffestiniog on one side and Bala on the other),
and there is no better place to start from if climbing is wanted, for of
that there is plenty to be found in Craig Ddrwg, the ridge which
stretches away to the north. In winter this range is very fine, but as
stern and desolate as it is possible to imagine anything. The writer has
reason to remember that here, in January 1895, he experienced the most
intense cold that he has met with in Great Britain.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Arenig Fawr= (2,800 ft.) is called 'Rennig' by Daines Barrington, who,
writing in 1771, adds that it 'is commonly considered as the fifth
mountain of North Wales in point of height.'

The ascent from Arenig station, on the Great Western Railway, between
Bala and Ffestiniog, is very easy, as the rise is only 1,700 ft., and
the distance about 1¾ mile. The usual and most expeditious way of making
the ascent is by proceeding westward from the station for ¼ mile to the
farm of Milltergerrig, but for scenery and for climbing an opposite
direction should be taken for nearly a mile, till the stream is struck
which issues from Llyn Arenig, really a very fine tarn and backed by
most respectable cliffs. Further south than the tarn again good rocks
will be found. The usual, and indeed the proper, way of dealing with
this mountain is to traverse it from north to south, ending up at
Llanuwchllyn station, on the Great Western line from Bala to Dolgelly.
The eastward view is extremely fine, and superior by far to that from
many of the highest points in Wales.

This was one of our earliest mountain meteorological stations, as it was
here that the Hon. Daines Barrington conducted his experiments on
rainfall in 1771.[18]

  [18] See the _Philosophical Transactions_, p. 294, of that year.

Its height, too, was measured, as Pennant (1781) tells us, by Mr.
Meredith Hughes, a surveyor of Bala.

One of the ancient Welsh writers mentions this mountain in a most
contemptuous manner. Borrow alludes to this, and remarks that upon him,
on the contrary, none of all the hills which he saw in Wales made a
greater impression.

       *       *       *       *       *

=The Arans.=--This mountain is the highest in Merionethshire, and by
many wrongly considered the second highest in Wales. It lies between the
Berwyns and Cader Idris.

Like the latter, it is of volcanic trap rock, heavily speckled in parts
with quartz, and exposed on the east side, where it has been subjected
to much weathering. There is a good deal of old _débris_ from the face,
that is now grass-covered.

[Illustration]

The road between the Aran and the outlying hills of the Berwyn is over
1,900 ft. high; we have, however, to descend to 860 ft. in passing from
the Aran to Cader Idris. The main ridge runs almost exactly north and
south for 6 miles, its west side--a large tract of marshy
moorland--sloping down gently to the vales of Dyfrdwy (= the goddess's
water; sometimes called the Little Dee) and Wnion, and its east side,
irregularly escarped, falling for the most part very rapidly for the
first thousand feet. Its ridge culminates in two peaks 1½ mile apart,
Aran Benllyn (2,902 ft.) and Aran Fawddwy (2,970 ft.) The word _Aran_
means an 'alp,' or a 'high place;' _Mawdd_ is said to mean 'spreading,'
and the terminations _ach_ or _wy_ mean 'water.'

_Aran Benllyn_ was one of several of which the height was measured in
Pennant's time by 'the ingenious Mr. Meredith Hughes, of Bala,' who made
it out to be 30 yards less than Cader Idris.

In April 1881 the Alpine Club had one of their informal meetings at
Bala, and chose the east front of the Aran as their route from there to
Dolgelly.

The ordinary ascents of the Aran are effected from Llanuwchllyn in 2
hours, from Drws y Nant in 1¼ hour, and from Dinas Mawddwy in about 3
hours.

_Rock Climbs._--These are never extensive, though there are many little
pieces that require much ingenuity to surmount. Excepting for a few
boulder climbs on the ridge itself the crag work is confined to the east
face of the mountains, the side overlooking Lliwbran and Craiglyn Dyfi.
Climbers are often asked, where can a man start practising rock work?
The Arans are first-rate for this. Whatever the difficulty on the
mountain a few minutes' traversing will generally take one out of it, if
direct ascent or descent be considered undesirable. The mountain face is
so broken up that we have no gullies or arêtes separated by impossible
walls of rock from the easy parts of the mountain. In short, from the
enthusiastic shin-scraper's point of view the architecture of the Aran
face is defective.

(_a_) _From Lliwbran._--The rocks rising from Lliwbran are columnar in
structure, and by the time a generation of climbers have torn away the
grass from the holds they will show up plenty of neat little problems
from 50 to 100 ft. high.

Looking up from the lake the crag, which is a high dependence of Aran
Benllyn, shows on the right an almost unrelieved slabbiness at an easy
angle, which gives good practice in small footholds. Up to the centre of
the crag is a steep grass gully, in a line with a large boulder down
near the lake, with an overhanging wall that blocks the direct ascent of
the gully, and with a fine clean-cut buttress on the left. We may creep
up the corner of the wall on the left, or circumvent it by traversing
round to the right.

The route to the ridge from the big boulder is easiest up an oblique
gully just invisible from it. Between our crag and the summit of the
Benllyn is an easy walk due east down to the green shoulder south of
Lliwbran, that takes us quickly by Nant y Barcud and Cwm Croes to the
Twrch valley and the main road. This descent to Llannwchllyn, though not
direct, recommends itself in wet or misty weather, and is in any case
worth taking as a variant. Aran Benllyn itself offers nothing on its
broken escarpments; though the face shows up rather well in profile from
a distance, the climber need scarcely use his hands in zigzagging up the
face to the cairn. The view from the summit justifies our traversing the
peak on the way to Aran Fawddwy. It includes the length of Bala lake and
a goodly extent of Llyn Fyrnwy, and the outline of Aran Fawddwy shows up
magnificently.

Passing along the ridge to the south of Benllyn we keep up at a high
level for the whole distance of 1½ mile to Aran Fawddwy, the greatest
depression being less than 250 ft. below Benllyn. If we bear to the
left, just dipping below the ridge, we pass along the foot of an
overhanging mass of rock of considerable length that is undercut in a
remarkable fashion. There are many places along it where one may shelter
comfortably in bad weather. It is difficult to climb up the rock direct,
but towards its south extremity we may work up into a small cave and
climb out by the left on to the ridge again.

Five minutes then bring us to a fine cairn that marks an easy descent to
Craiglyn Dyfi, the source of the Dyfi river, with a good view of the
best rocks on Aran Fawddwy. The final ascent of this peak begins after a
few feet of descent to a wall that crosses the ridge at its lowest.

(_b_) _On Craiglyn Dyfi._--A small terrace at about the level of the
wall just referred to leads round the rocks to the left into a large
scree gully, which offers good sport in snowy weather. Half-way along
this terrace is a 'problem' of unusual severity--a narrow crack in an
overhanging face, with very scanty hand-holds where the crack closes,
some 20 ft. up the face. The pleasantest bit of scrambling is on to the
summit of Aran Fawddwy from the lake, by the arête that is seen in
outline from the large cairn on the ridge, from which point the two
vertical portions of the arête are well marked. It can be reached easily
from the lake, or we may descend from the cairn for some 600 ft., and
then traverse across to the south till a small gully is passed that
shows a cave pitch at its lower extremity. The rock arête forms the
south side of this gully and runs up for 400 ft. It reminds us of the
easy climb up Tryfaen from the Glyder side, though in one or two places
we have difficulties here, whereas there are none on the Tryfaen
scramble.

It begins below the level of the cave, and after passing over rough
rocks at an easy angle we come to a fine wall with a wide crack up it on
the left. A huge splintered block is fixed in the lower part of the
crack, and we may surmount the block and just squeeze in, passing out on
to the roof. There are one or two variations possible here. In fact,
instead of starting on the arête we might pass up the gully to the cave.
It has mossy walls and a dripping interior. It is marked by a small pile
of stones on the right and a well-bleached sheep's skeleton in the gully
just above. The pitch may be taken on the left by steep wet grass, which
is unpleasant, or we can attack it direct. We go well inside, and with
back to the right we find good holds on the left, thus working up until
the roof itself offers hold for both hands. From here it is best to pass
on to the arête a few feet below the crack above described.

The way is then easy, but interesting, and leads to a straight-up crack
in a wall in front of us that has to be negotiated. It looks severe, but
the surface of the rock is so rough that no real trouble is experienced
with it. The crack is much more formidable to descend. Shortly after
this we find ourselves out on the open face again, the gully on the left
having disappeared, and only a few crags above us marking the summit of
the mountain. Striking directly upwards we reach the top in a quarter of
an hour, the last 25 ft. being, if we choose, by way of a chimney, that
begins with some difficulty and lands us just to the left of the large
cairn that marks the highest point.

(_c_) _By Llaithnant._--Passing due south of the Aran Fawddwy cairn,
along the route to Dinas, we see a fine rock in front between us and the
near end of the Dyrysgol ridge, forming the head of Llaithnant. It is
marked by an overhanging rock half-way down the left-hand ridge. A steep
and wet scree gully leads down to the valley, and we may go part of the
way down until we are about 100 ft. below the overhanging block.

Here we can strike across to the arête, and keeping close to the gully
on our right have 250 ft. of fairly good scrambling. We skirt close
under the big boulder, and passing to the right of it (a traverse can
also be managed on the left, lower down) clamber over rather loose rock
to the grass terrace above the pitch. Then good rock follows, and
bearing towards the right we come in sight of a square-walled chimney
overlooking the main gully, marked by small cairns at top and bottom.
Its holds are all on the left, so we back up on the right and find
ourselves close to the main ridge again. Another chimney still further
to the right might be taken, but it is always very wet; the two pitches
in it are both very small, and it is only interesting when ice is about.

A grass gully separates our arête from a few rocks nearer Dyrysgol,
which are of basaltic character and rather interesting to descend.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Cader Idris.=--The name ('Chair of Idris') includes the whole mountain
range, some 7 miles long, that separates the Mawddach from the Dysynni.
It is a continuation of the outcrop of volcanic trap rock that stretches
from the Arans down to Cardigan Bay, and, as usual with such mountains,
its volcanic origin has had much to do with its grand scenery.

The range runs in an E.N.E. direction from the sea south of Barmouth,
and reaches its greatest elevation at Pen y Gader (2,929 ft.) It forms
two other noteworthy peaks on the chain, Tyrran Mawr (2,600 ft.), 2
miles to the south-west, and Mynydd Moel (2,800 ft.), 1½ mile to the
north-east.

The north side presents a fairly even front of precipitous rock for 3½
miles. Near the highest point, however, a huge amphitheatre of rock, a
thousand feet in height, suggesting a volcanic crater half fallen away,
breaks the continuity of the ridge, and contributes the finest bit of
mountain scenery that this side of Cader can offer. Probably this hollow
suggested first the name of 'Cader,' though there is a recess on the
summit ridge that is usually taken to be the seat in question.

But the mountain can show something even better on the south side. Its
high dependency Mynydd Pencoed joins the main ridge almost at the summit
of Pen y Gader, and its extremity Craig y Cae forms with Cader itself
another crater-like hollow, which, with Llyn y Cae lying at the foot of
the crags, is even wilder and more magnificent than the one on the north
side. Excepting the crags in this cwm the south side of Cader consists
of steep grass slopes, and the general aspect of the mountain is
uninteresting.

An account is published in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ (vol. xxxviii. p.
147) of an ascent of the mountain in 1767 by L. N.

Cader Idris was also climbed in 1863 by Prince Arthur.

Several members of the Alpine Club worked their way up the direct route
from Llyn y Gader in 1881, and there is some mention in the _Alpine
Journal_ (vol. xii.) of a few ascents by Mr. H. Willink.

The gullies along the north face of the mountain were explored for many
years by F. H. B.

The wandering Borrow wordily describes a night adventure on Cader Idris.
A pleasantly-written chapter on it may be found in Paterson's
_Mountaineering Below the Snow Line_, and just recently an article has
appeared on the same subject in the _Scottish Mountaineering Journal_.
This latter article has a good general view of the whole length of the
north face.

On the north face, between Pen y Gader and Cyfrwy, a tailor named
Smith, of Newport, met his death by a fall from the crags in 1864. His
body was not found until the following spring.

There is another Pen y Gader in South Wales, the highest point in the
Black Forest of Carmarthen (2,630 ft.); also between Y Foel Fras and the
Conway River a hill goes by the same name.

The ordinary excursions up the mountain are made from Dolgelly, by the
Foxes' Path, in 2¼ hours; by the Bridle Path, in 2¾ hours, or by Mynydd
Moel in 3 hours; from Arthog, easily reached by train from Barmouth, in
3 hours; from Tal y Llyn in 2 hours; and from Towyn in 4 hours.

The walk up from Towyn is by the Dysynni valley and the _Bird Rock_.
This has a very bold and steep front, broken up by narrow ledges. It can
be ascended with different degrees of ease, and is worth climbing for
the view. The rock is named from its usual frequenters, the kite, hawk,
and cormorant showing up in large numbers on the face.

_Rock Climbs._--(_a_) _On Mynydd Moel._--These are all fairly easy in
dry weather, and are worth exploring on a slack day. Standing at the
eastern corner of the little square Llyn Aran, we notice the highest
point of Mynydd Moel to the west. A fine-looking arête leads up to it
from the north, with a well-marked pinnacle apparently half-way up the
climb. This we shall call the north ridge. A prominent pillar of unusual
steepness is seen to our left, reaching to the height of the Ceu Graig
ridge. Its eastern side is cut into by a narrow gully that seems from
below to pass behind the pillar.

To the right of the Ceu Graig pillar is seen another gully, looking
steep but grassy; it is found to offer a pleasant route on to the ridge.
Above the upper screes at the foot of the higher crags several ascents
may be planned from below. The best is marked by two oblique chimneys
that start upwards to the left. Between this and the north ridge a large
scree gully leads up to the highest part of the mountain, and from it on
the right several short scrambles on good slabby rocks are obtainable.

[Illustration: CRAIG ADERYN (BIRD ROCK)]

The first of the Ceu Graig gullies, counting from left to right, is to
the left of the pillar, and takes three-quarters of an hour to ascend
from the lake. It starts with a water slide that we take on the right,
and we pass back into the gully immediately afterwards. Then the ascent
of an easy chimney makes us a little wet if the weather has been rainy,
and a pitch appears just above. This can be taken on the right or left.
The right-hand route gives us wet rocks; the left leads up a side
chimney, and back into the gully by an awkward grass traverse. After
this the gully divides, and leads us to the neck that joins on to the
pillar on our right.

The steep outside face of the pillar can be ascended, but is rather
dangerous. It is a sample of mantelpiece climbing, but the holds are
mostly of grass and heather, and some of the steps are long.

The next gully, a short distance to the right of the pillar, is more
open than the first, and is less steep. Some water is generally coming
down. The first obstacle is a wide cavern, that can be mounted
immediately to the left or avoided by passing up the easy open chimney
on that side of the gully. The second is a waterfall, and that also is
by preference passed on the left; the difficulty finishes with a short
corkscrew chimney. From this we emerge on to the open face of the
mountain, and a few feet of good rock bring us to the main ridge. We are
now at about the level of the upper limit of scree on the Mynydd Moel
face, and a traverse can be effected round to the oblique chimney
already referred to. In doing so we pass first a scree gully and then an
inviting cleft up to the left, but this is found to lose its interest
after the first 20 ft.

The oblique chimneys can be recommended for beginners, as the climbing
is only about 250 ft.; the rocks are very good, and the angle about 45°.
Water comes down the gully, but does not offer any trouble, except,
perhaps, at the first obstacle. If this is taken direct we climb up the
right wall, which overhangs, and cling sufficiently close to permit the
water to pass behind us. The second pitch is taken on the right, the
rock being so much undercut that we can pass behind the water. After
this a little more scrambling leads to a scree and an easy finish.

[Illustration: SKETCH MAP OF

CADER IDRIS]

The north ridge is somewhat disappointing. It works well up to the
pinnacle, which may also be approached by a dilapidated chimney on the
left. But just above this, where another ridge joins from the
north-west, it becomes a mere walk along the edge of a cliff.

Perhaps the neatest way of descending this cliff is by a very narrow
vertical chimney, marked at top and bottom by small piles of stones, a
little to the north of the big scree gully, and close to the highest
point of Mynydd Moel.

(_b_) _West of Mynydd Moel._--Here the north cliff is very much broken.
There are innumerable scree gullies up the face, but the rock ridges in
between them have no good features. There are one or two pinnacles just
below the ridge, easy to reach from above, but difficult from below. One
especially is worth a scramble, about 5 minutes' walk from Mynydd Moel;
a thin and uncommonly difficult chimney leads up its outside face.

(_c_) _On Pen y Gader._--The central gully up Pen y Gader is a prominent
feature of this face of the mountain. It was climbed many years ago, but
no definite account of its early history has been obtained. It is in
three obvious portions, as indicated in the illustration, and is
generally wet. The two shelves that divide the climb stretch obliquely
upwards to the right across the whole face, and may be reached in a
great variety of ways. Nevertheless the only good climbing is in the two
lower portions of the main gully.

The first piece takes us on to the shelf with about 70 ft. of climbing.
The gully narrows considerably, and we are forced on to the right-hand
side and up a steep and smooth slope of water-worn rock. Then we cross
over the water to the left, and effect an easy exit on to the ledge. We
next scramble over some irregular blocks and into a narrow recess at the
foot of the second pitch. This is a narrow chimney, very pleasant in dry
weather, landing us in 50 ft. on to the second ledge. From here the
ground is more open, and the climbing is of a slight character to the
summit, except in winter, when the whole gully is apt to be heavily
glazed. Under such circumstances the lowest pitch is almost dangerous.

The first pitch may be varied by striking up from the screes a few yards
to the left of the main gully, by the cleft shown in the illustration.
The second can be quitted altogether, and the columnar rocks to the west
taken in a variety of ways; and all along the upper corridor will be
found short pitches leading to the summit ridge.

(_d_) _On Cyfrwy._--There are two well-defined arêtes leading up close
to the summit of Cyfrwy. The first _a a_ is in an easterly direction,
and may be seen in profile from the direction of Pen y Gader. This is
easily recognisable by the curious truncated pinnacle or tower some way
up. The second bears up from the north, and also shows a pinnacle, but
of smaller dimensions. Beyond the two arêtes the climbing on Cyfrwy is
inferior, but between them there are a few interesting routes up the
crags.

[Illustration: CADER IDRIS

(seen across Llyn y Gader)]

The terrace _e e_ is easily reached from the screes. From it there are
two definite climbs, one _b b_ up a gully to the left, that leads out
on to the east arête, the other _c c_ up a more open gully that passes
to the summit ridge. It is possible that the notch between the great
tower and the east arête can be reached from this side, but the upper
part looks difficult.

The east arête was climbed in about 1888 by the writer. The first
recorded ascent was in January 1891 (H. K., W. E. S., and O. G. J.), and
the first ascent by a lady in August 1891 (Miss L. G., K. W. D., and O.
G. J.)

[Illustration: THE CYFRWY CLIMBS, FROM THE NORTH.]

It can be followed all the way up. The tower is best turned on the
right, and the vertical wall of 40 ft. that immediately follows is
climbed direct from the little gap, with just a slight divergence to the
left. The only serious difficulty on the arête is a wall of rock 100 ft.
higher up. It can be surmounted by a thin cleft, the jammed stones in
which are unsafe; or by working up the face a little to the left. The
situation is very exposed. This, and any other bad bits, can generally
be avoided by climbing down to the scree gully on our left. Near the top
of the arête we pass the exit of the chimney _b b_, which descends
steeply to the right.

[Illustration: CYFRWY ARÊTES

(The northern is seen in profile, the eastern is much foreshortened)]

The north arête has probably not been climbed, but the gullies on each
side have been taken. They call for no special comment. The one to the
right is worth ascending for the view of the fine rocks on this face. It
is mostly scree with a small pitch near the top, and was once marked
above by a little cairn. It is admirable when hard snow is about.

The gully _c c_ to the left is very open and risky, consisting of a
series of shelves formed by the falling away of the porphyritic pillars
that characterise the face.

The climb _b b_ is rather better. The scrambling from the terrace is
easy but steep, until a large overhanging boulder entirely blocks the
way. We then climb up the vertical wall on the left and traverse back to
the gully. It finishes very abruptly on the narrow upper ridge of the
east arête, and in a most unexpected way we find ourselves looking down
to Llyn y Gader with the face of Pen y Gader directly opposite.

There are a few short climbs on the face of Tyrrau Mawr, but nothing
very definite can be picked out.

(_e_) _On Craig y Cae._--The great gully of Mynydd Pencoed was climbed
for the first time on May 18, 1895 (W. P. H. S., E. L. W. H. S., and O.
G. J.) It is by far the finest climb in the Cader district; the work in
it is as varied as in any of the more familiar gullies in the
neighbourhood of Snowdon, and the rock scenery in its upper portion can
scarcely be surpassed on British soil. The upper part of the gully
attracted the attention of the writer in 1890, but it was not until
April 1895 that he made any attempt to enter the gully at its lower
extremity. Then he succeeded in forcing his way over the first pitch,
but the great rush of water coming down the gully made the second pitch
impossible, and the untimely fracture of an ice axe prompted a temporary
withdrawal.

On the day when the successful attempt was made the rocks were unusually
dry. In wet weather the difficulties of the climb are likely to be very
much increased, more especially in the narrower pitches, where the route
chosen by the climber is identical in position with that chosen by the
water, though opposite in direction so long as valour needs diluting
down to discretion. It seems probable that grass traverses may be found
to circumvent the lower pitches. The first and second, for example, may
be avoided by traversing into the gully from the left, over the grassy
buttress that supports the Pencoed Pillar. The third pitch may be passed
immediately on the left, if one treats the loose soil with due
consideration. The fourth and fifth seem from above to permit an
alternative route up to the right, over steep grass and back to the
gully by a treacherous-looking upward traverse to the left. From here
the three remaining pitches directly up the gully offer the simplest
solution to the rest of the problem; variations to the left and right
have been freely suggested, but are still untested.

[Illustration: LLYN Y CAE (OR CAU) AND CRAIG Y CAE (FROM CADER IDRIS)]

The climbing starts within 200 ft. of the level of Llyn y Cae, with a
short pitch some 12 ft. high, marked above by a cairn of stones. The
second pitch begins almost immediately, and must be taken direct, the
roof of the cave in its upper portion to be approached by a serpentine
squirm of the body after the cave is entered, up the thin crack on the
right. The third pitch is ferocious in aspect, but uncertain in action,
on account of the poor quality of its material. It consists of a large
cavern with a pendulous mass of brittle rock hanging down from the roof
somewhat to the left. The cavern is penetrated as far as possible on
this side, and then, with back to the hanging rock and feet on a hold
invisible from below, a passage may be effected outwards to the firm
hand-holds in the open. A jammed stone with débris attached, in the most
handy situation at the corner of the exit, is best left alone.

Soon after this we approach a long narrow chimney close to the left wall
of the gully. It is about 35 ft. in length, and the upper part gives
trouble. But a very fine foothold some 12 ft. up gives breathing space
for the final portion. Then the interest ceases for a while, as we mount
some 130 ft. of scree and smooth rocky slabs at an easy angle. This is
an excellent arrangement, for the fifth pitch, that now comes on, is
likely to demand all our powers of admiration for a while.

It consists of a cavern divided by two steep buttresses into three
parts, side by side, the middle one being most open to inspection but
most difficult to approach directly. Immediately above the left-hand
portion a vertical chimney rises some 40 ft., its lower end projecting
well over the cave and manifesting no direct route of approach from
below. To get to the foot of this chimney is the chief difficulty. The
method adopted was rather intricate, and probably permitted much
improvement. It has, however, the advantage that the leader need not
climb straight away the full 80 or 90 ft. without a halt. He first
penetrates as far as possible into the cave on the left, until the roof
bars further progress. Then he traverses over a dangerously smooth and
wet slab, with no perceptible foothold, to the middle portion of the
cavern. From here he works upwards and outwards until with a long stride
he steps out on to a little ledge on the right wall of the gully. Here a
hole through a large block enables him to manipulate the rope with
safety, and the second man can join him. The second may reach the
terrace more directly, if the rope is available, by working directly up
the middle of the gully till the level of the ledge is reached; but the
climbing is very uncertain, on account of the treacherous footholds.
From the ledge the leader passes back across the centre and over a
notched curtain of rock into the upper chimney. Here there is no doubt
as to the route; a resting-place is afforded for a moment by a little
cave, through the roof of which only the thinnest can hope to wriggle.
The edge of this roof is mounted on the right, and a few feet higher a
jammed block that dominates the pitch is turned on the right, up some
rather treacherous grass that needs very careful treatment. The writer
would like to add a word of advice to this already lengthy description
of the pitch. Don't attempt to qualify for the through route of the
little cave by slipping downwards and jamming in the chimney.

The three remaining pitches are short and near together, the last one
finishing a few feet below the summit of the ridge, some 850 ft. above
the lake.

_East Gully._--The gully immediately to the east of the Pencoed Pillar
was first climbed on May 19, 1895 (W. P. H. S., W. E. S., and O. G. J.)
As seen from the opposite shores of the lake it presents a striking
appearance, the middle part looking very difficult. It starts higher up
the face than the western climb (about 440 ft. above the lake), and
finishes on the ridge at a somewhat lower level than the top of the
latter (870 ft. above lake). Thus the climbing is much reduced, and the
whole ascent can be accomplished in an hour by a party of three. The
scrambling in it is almost continuous, and towards the middle, where the
rock walls close in the gully, the route is very steep, though none of
the pitches are severe.

We begin with oblique slabs of rock rather inclined to be wet. Then the
direct route lies over a block of rock with uncertain holds, but a cleft
to the left promises much better, and a traverse at the top leads back
easily to the gully again. The scrambling is very pleasant where the
right wall begins to overhang, and remains interesting till the gully
divides. From here screes lead up each part to the crest of the ridge,
but a small rock arête separating the two branches give us climbing all
the way.

Still more to the east is a shorter gully, composed for the most part of
scree, that can be taken in 20 minutes. It has two pitches, the upper
one requiring a rope. The first is taken up on either side, and is only
about 12 ft. high. The second is a cave pitch with a very fine interior.
The ascent is effected by backing up the rather loose walls of the cave,
and then bearing out to the left and over the obstacle. From here to the
summit is nothing but scree. The gully is afflicted with the near
neighbourhood of badly weathered rocks, and shows signs of having been
quite recently bombarded from the crags on the left.

These three gullies on Mynydd Pencoed represent all the climbing that
has as yet been attempted on the south side of Cader. It is much to be
hoped that a few interesting routes will yet be found between the pillar
and the small col that represents the lowest portion of Craig y Cau, and
the account of what has been done may induce others to visit this
unfrequented region. To the same end it might be advisable to throw out
the remark that the Pencoed Pillar, some 700 ft. high, looks quite
inaccessible from the grassy buttress at its foot.


South Wales.

It is scarcely worth while to enumerate the southern counties, as all
alike are destitute of climbs, except upon the sea cliffs. Some of these
are remarkably bold and picturesque, especially about Lydstep (Tenby)
and St. David's Head; but they cannot compare in any way with those of
Ireland, and least of all for climbing purposes, being mainly of
limestone. Just north of Aberystwith are some highly curious rocks,
giving a climb or two. Some twenty years ago a schoolboy was killed by
falling from them.

Of the inland rocks it will be sufficient to mention a few.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CLIFFS NEAR LYDSTEP (TENBY)]

=The Brecon Beacons= (2,910 ft.), in Brecknockshire (which name the
travellers of old, with some justice, modified to 'Breakneckshire'), are
sandstone peaks of very striking outline. Indeed, Mackintosh (who saw
them from the east) says, 'I was more impressed than I have been with
any mountain in Wales. Their outline excited a very unusual idea of
sublimity.'

Brecon is the best starting-point, and it is a good plan, though by no
means necessary, to drive to the Storey Arms inn (1,400 ft.), eight
miles towards Merthyr, or to go by train to Torpantau, and thus avoid
walking over any part of the way twice.

[Illustration: CLIFFS NORTH OF ABERYSTWITH]

The way is easy, and easily found; but a wary eye should be kept upon
the streams, which in this part of Wales are surprisingly rapid and
copious.

A curious notion once prevailed that nothing would fall from the top of
this hill. Many years ago an unfortunate picnicker disproved this. See
the _Times Index_, but the statement there made that he fell 12,000 ft.
is somewhat startling.

       *       *       *       *       *

=The Black Mountains=, a wide stretch of charming hill-walking, have
little to attract the mere climber, nor will he find much on such hills
as the bastion-like =Blorenge= (1,720 ft.), in spite of their possessing
caps of 'mill-stone grit.'

       *       *       *       *       *

=Plynlimon= (2,469 ft.) is seldom mentioned except with derision.

_The Beauties of Wales_ (1818) does indeed speak of 'the towering summit
which bears the name of Plinlimmon,' and quotes the equally appropriate
description given by Philips--

                  That cloud-piercing hill
    Plinlimmon from afar the traveller kens,
    Astonished how the goats their shrubby browse
    Gnaw pendent.

But, in truth, the great difficulty which travellers have, whether far
or near, is to ken it at all; and many of them have vented their
disappointment in words of bitter scorn.

Pennant (1770) candidly admits that he never saw it, which is easily
understood, for the mountain is neither easy to see nor worth looking at
when seen. The ascent is a protracted bog-walk. It was made in 1767[19]
by L. N., but Taylor, the Water Poet (1652), sensibly calls it

                          Tall Plinillimon,
    Which I no stomach had to tread upon.

  [19] _Gentleman's Magazine_, 1768.

An amusing notice used to be seen at Steddfa Gurig (then an inn), 2½
miles south of the summit, and 13¼ miles by road from Llanidloes:
'The notorious hill Plinlimon is on the premises.' This place, being
1,358 ft. above the sea, is the best starting-point for the ascent of
the mountain, and coaches run past it from Llanidloes.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Aberedw Rocks= are fairly typical of the kind of climbing which is to
be found in South Wales. The rocks being quite close to the station of
that name on the Cambrian Railway, are brought within easy reach of
Rhayader and Builth Wells on the north and of Brecon on the south. Three
or four rock terraces, 15 to 20 ft. high, break the slope of the hill
beside the railway, and a sort of rocky cove penetrates it as well. Bits
here and there are not unlike the 'chimneys' on Slieve League, but the
material is more friable, resembling loose walls of very inferior slaty
fragments. A few harder masses stand out picturesquely as small
pinnacles, especially in the cove, near the head of which a lofty
bulging piece of rock has a vertical rift in it, which for a few feet
offers quite a difficult climb.

The river =Edw= (close by) has extremely steep, cliff-like banks, and
these are a common feature in other tributaries of the Wye. The
=Bachwy=, for instance, has a gorge which, seen as the writer has seen
it during a winter flood, is profoundly impressive. Malkin's description
(1804) should not be missed. He found 'rudely-shaped eccentricities of
nature, with all the mysterious gloom of vulgar and traditional
ascription,' 'dwarfishly fructified rock,' 'features all of a revolting
cast,' and 'a prospect rude and unchastised.'

The =Irvon=, again, has sides so rocky as to be chosen by the falcon for
nesting.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Cwm Elan=, 5 or 6 miles from Rhyader, is a very pretty spot, and the
gorge of Cefn Coch is exceedingly striking. Mackintosh says that the
height is not less than 800 ft., and the cliffs are in many parts mural
and quite perpendicular. He declared that, while the cliffs on the
left-hand side of the river are very fine, he had seen nothing to
surpass those on the right. This from a hill traveller of his experience
is remarkably high praise. The writer has only visited these rocks once,
and has never attempted to climb there, nor, indeed, has he ever heard
of anyone else doing so. The Birmingham reservoir is to submerge several
miles of this cwm and the two houses in which Shelley stayed.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Stanner Rocks= are quite near the station of the same name on the
branch of the Great Western from Leominster to New Radnor, and on the
north side of the railway. The material of which they are composed is
superior for climbing purposes to the soft shaly stuff so common in
South Wales, being the same eruptive trap rock which forms the hills of
Hunter, Worsel, and Old Radnor, and has metamorphosed the surrounding
limestone. These rocks narrowly miss being a good climb. The train from
Leominster takes about 50 minutes.

Near New Radnor is a precipice down which Cliffe (1854) mentions that a
gentleman rode, and he also records that another climbed the fall called
_Waterbreakitsneck_.



IRELAND


=Introduction.=--Climbing in Ireland, in the sense in which it is
understood in Switzerland, is, of course, unknown, although during a
winter of happily rare occurrence, such as that of 1894-5, abundant snow
and ice-slope work is no doubt obtainable. It would be accompanied,
however, by extreme cold and days of too short a duration for work.

Nor can Ireland boast of such arenas for cliff-climbing as the Lake
District, or the Cuchullins in Skye. There is no Pillar Rock, no Old Man
of Dearg. But there are ample opportunities for acquiring the art of
mountain craft, the instinct which enables the pedestrian to guide
himself alone from crest to crest, from ridge to ridge, with the least
labour. He will learn how to plan out his course from the base of cliff
or gully, marking each foot and hand grip with calm attention; and,
knowing when to cease to attempt impossibilities, he will learn to trust
in himself and acquire that most necessary of all climbers' acquirements
a philosophic, contemplative calm in the presence of danger or difficult
dilemmas. If the beginner is desirous of rock practice, or the practised
hand requires to test his condition, or improve his form, there is many
a rocky coast where the muscles and nerves and stamina can be trained to
perfection. Kerry and Donegal are competent to form a skilled
mountaineer out of any capable aspirant. Ice and snow craft is an
accomplishment which must of course be acquired elsewhere.

Much of the best scenery in Ireland is available only to the
mountaineer. Macgillicuddy's Reeks can hardly be appreciated in less
than a week's exploration. Even after three weeks spent amongst them we
have wished for more. Donegal alone requires lengthened attention, and
there a much longer period will be profitably spent.

The climbing described in the following pages was chiefly undertaken
with the object, or excuse, of botanical discovery. All the mountain
experiences, except where the contrary is stated, represent the
personal--usually the solitary--experiences of the writer. Of roped
climbing the author has had no experience outside the Alps. Being tied
up in a package and lowered from a cliff to a bird's nest, though not
climbing, is, no doubt, a feat requiring nerve and dexterity; but when
the nest of the raven, peregrine, or chough is in view, and ropes and
companions are 'out of all ho,' and it appears improbable such a chance
will come again, the eager naturalist will indeed rejoice that his nerve
and dexterity are not wholly dependent on the comfortable security of a
friendly cable round his waist. To the botanist such accomplishments are
even more essential. A knowledge of rocks--what to trust, what to
mistrust, what to attack vertically (such as granite and quartzose
usually), what to deal with by their ledges (such as limestone often and
sandstone still oftener), what to avoid altogether (such as trap, chalk,
and decomposing basalt), a knowledge of the elementary principles of
guidance under varying conditions of weather--can be gleaned from the
mountain and sea coast cliffs in Ireland, not, perhaps, to such an
extent as to produce an expert, but quite enough to lay the requisite
groundwork of one. Form and condition, nerve and activity, will develop
in company, and with them the love for the art will grow, and nothing
beyond a little local education will be wanting to enable him to follow
upon their arduous undertakings real proficients in mountain craft. Any
words that can induce the skilled mountaineers of England and Scotland
to test the merits of an Irish welcome, of Irish scenery, and of the
bracing combination of Atlantic and mountain air in the western counties
will have been written to good purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Antrim.=--The highest hills are Trostan (1,810 ft.) and Slieveanea
(1,782 ft.) The formation is almost entirely trap or basalt, and there
is no cliff-climbing, the rock being crumbly and unsafe. Around the
coast there is a belt of cretaceous rocks, forming in some places, as at
the Giant's Causeway (White Rocks) and at Fair Head, bold cliffs of
chalk or rotten trap. On Fair Head, 640 ft. high, there is a magnificent
view. Cyclopean columns of greenstone crown a talus always heavy on the
Antrim cliffs, owing to their friable nature.

There is a fissure known as the Grey Man's Path on the west side of this
Head, in the face of the cliff, by which it is possible to descend and
inspect the foot of the columnar prisms.

[Illustration: THE TARTAR ROCK

(on Fair Head)]

The Antrim glens and the Antrim coast road are deservedly famous for
their lovely scenery, and excellent accommodation is everywhere
obtainable. Of the glens _Glenariff_ is, perhaps, the gem. It is hemmed
in by cliffs 1,000 ft. high, with mural summits. Glenarm is equally
beautiful, though in a more tranquil and gentle way. On the north and
south sides of the Bay there are considerable precipices.

From Fair Head the prospect is singularly fine. The Head is columnar
basalt.

Fair Head is approached from Ballycastle on the west. West of
Ballycastle again, about the same distance, is the well-known rocky
islet of Carrig-a-Rede, which is severed from the mainland by a chasm
nearly a hundred feet deep, spanned by a very slight swinging or flying
bridge, which in a storm is not inviting.

On this basaltic islet an interesting climb round the cliffs may be had,
and the rock is secure enough on the west and north sides.

From Ballintoy, which is close to Carrig-a-Rede, it is a magnificent
cliff walk to the Causeway; and from the Causeway to Portrush the rocky
coast scenery is full of interest. Many places will invite a scramble.
Below the road, which is adorned with an electric railway, numerous
difficult places occur, and several little valleys permit a descent to
the sea and a swim. A few miles west of the Causeway the coast becomes
low to Portrush, the golfing centre, with its excellent hotel.

At Portrush, or near it, at White Park Bay, the white cretaceous rocks
are capped by frowning basalt, and the contrast of colours is most
striking. It is not necessary to describe the well-known _Giant's
Causeway_. _Pleaskin Head_ is the finest feature in its cliff scenery,
but unfit for climbing, owing to the crumbling, weathering nature of its
beds of lava and iron ore. More fine sea cliffs are found in the
Gobbins, on Island Magee.

Antrim, with all its lovely cliff and glen scenery, and all its good
hotels, is not a mountaineer's county, like Kerry, Donegal, or Wicklow.
It is more highly cultivated and more civilised than a climber with a
proper sense of his calling could possibly approve of. It suggests
driving, bicycling, picnics, good dinners, and evening dress more than
knickers and hard work.

We will turn our attention, therefore, to _the_ mountain county of
Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Donegal= has some of the highest and finest mountains in Ireland, and
the extent of mountainous country is larger than in any other part of
Ireland. No maritime mountain and cliff combined can approach Slieve
League, in Donegal, and if the coast cliffs of Mayo have a continuous
grandeur that excels any similar stretch in Donegal, there are many
higher and finer cliffs on the Donegal coast, in endless succession and
variety from Inishowen Head, on Lough Swilly, to the south-west coast.

The Donegal mountains form four groups--(1) _Inishowen Mountains_; (2)
_Donegal Highlands_; (3) _South-West Donegal_; (4) _South Donegal_.

_Inishowen Group._--_Slieve Snacht_, the highest point, has no
interest, except its view, and the same remark applies to _Rachtin
More_, the next highest. Both are composed of barren quartzite. _Bulbin_
has a schistose escarpment looking north-west, of some 300 ft., reaching
almost to the summit, and terminating in a short talus and a
heather-clad slope. It is a very picturesque little mountain, and
possesses some interesting plants.

Inishowen is deficient in accommodation. North of Buncrana there are but
one or two inns that will tempt a visitor to return. Accommodation can
be obtained at Carndonagh and Culdaff, and at Malin Head there is a
house that receives visitors by arrangement.

Malin Head is the proper place from whence to explore the cliffs of
Inishowen, and Glennagiveny, under Inishowen Head, to its north,
contains lodging-houses also.

The coast line of Inishowen is in many parts wild and magnificent.
Inishowen Head affords excellent climbing. The cliffs are from 300 to
400 ft. in height, and various traverses, ascents, and descents can be
made between Stroove and Glennagiveny. The Head is in reach of Moville,
where there is a good inn.

Further to the north-west the cliffs increase in height. From Glengad
Head, a little north-west of Culdaff, to Stookaruddan a series of
precipitous headlands (500 to 800 ft.) faces the ocean, looking a little
east of north. The walk along this coast from Culdaff to Malin Head,
although laborious, on account of the steep-sided inlets, is well worth
the trouble. The rugged boldness of Malin Head is most fascinating, and
in a storm it is superbly grand. At this point the cliffs have fallen
to a low elevation. The finest bit is at a place about half-way between
Glengad and Stookaruddan.

Having put up for the night at Malin Head, if possible, if not at Malin
or Carndonagh (the latter for choice), Dunaff Head, guarding the eastern
entrance to Lough Swilly, should be visited. Lough Swilly is the finest
oceanic inlet round the whole coast of Ireland. The eastern cape, about
700 ft. high, terminates in a range of bold precipices over 600 ft. high
for some distance. It is a most enchanting bit of sea cliff. In variety
of shape, sheerness of descent, and picturesque grouping and
surroundings it is hard to match.

The cliffs can be descended at the nose of Dunaff to an outer rocky
continuation, provided there is no storm. In stormy weather this rock,
of perhaps a hundred feet, is completely swept by surf. There is a steep
gully in another place on the south side, which admits of a descent to
the water's edge. For most of their length, however, these cliffs are
quite impracticable. For some distance downwards all seems to go well,
but the pelting of detritus from above and Atlantic surf from below
render the lower parts as smooth as marble and straight as a wall into
the water. Here and there the inner bluffs are more practicable, and
from a boat, in very calm weather, a study of the cliffs would probably
reveal more than the scrutiny from above, which is usually alone
possible.

South of Dunaff Head, up Lough Swilly, the precipitous coast of the
Erris Mountains gives a most enjoyable stretch of rough work. It is
often possible to descend to the sea, and having done so a difficult
climb is often preferable to a tiresome ascent to the headland
surmounting one of the numerous creeks.

Across the Lough we find ourselves in the lovely peninsula of Fanet, the
coast of which is admirably adapted for rock practice. The highest sea
cliff is the Bin, a conspicuous headland 350 ft. high and very
precipitous. It can, however, be scaled without much difficulty in one
place, a few feet from the summit towards the south. Other parts of it
appear practicable, and at low tide the base can be completely
compassed--a wild bit of work if there is a sea on. There is an
admirable hotel at Portsalon, with a famous golf links, about half-way
between this cliff and Knockalla Mountains. The whole coast from
Portsalon to the Bin is studded with cliffs, caves, and remarkably
beautiful natural arches.

The rock of Fanet is almost entirely quartzite, a metamorphosed
sandstone, often pure and glittering quartz. It is firm and safe, but
the absence of stratification renders it difficult to negotiate. This
barren rock (it disintegrates to silex) is very common in Donegal, and
is identical with that of the Twelve Benns, in Connemara.

Before leaving Lough Swilly the remarkable view from Dunaff Head should
be referred to. On a clear day the Paps of Jura, the Mull of Cantire,
and even the Isles of Arran and Islay, can be seen in Scotland over the
low Malin Head. Westwards, in a noble succession, lies the grand series
of the outer Donegal capes. Fanet Head, Melmore Head, Breaghy Head, Horn
Head, Tory Island, and the Bloody Foreland are all in view, and
south-westwards the 'Donegal Highlands' look so imposing that an
immediate expedition to them will probably be decided upon.

Across the peninsula which lies between Mulroy Water and Lough Swilly
there is a most comfortable inn at the Rosapenna Golf Links. It is an
extremely pretty wooden structure, brought by the philanthropic Lord
Leitrim, whose loss the district will never cease to deplore, from
Norway, and the complete success of it makes one wonder that this sort
of structure is not more often adopted. From Rosapenna expeditions can
be made to cliffs and coast in all directions.

_Horn Head_ is a grand range of sea cliffs, ten or twelve miles in
extent, which are the largest breeding-place in Ireland for sea fowl.
There are a few places where a descent is possible, and a careful
exploration (with the proprietor's permission) will be certain to yield
excellent climbing. The rock is as firm as iron in most places. Most of
the climbing the writer has done on these cliffs has been from a boat
upwards in search of sea fowls' eggs. One especially remembered one,
after green cormorants' nests, at the entrance to that most noble cave
the Gap of Doonmore, was of great difficulty. The absolutely reliable
rock had very slight 1-1½-in. ledges, and the latter part of the climb was
slightly overhanging. The nests were reached, however.

All round this Head excellent rock-climbing, coupled with magnificent
scenery, is available. At the base of the cliffs, not far from the
proprietor's dwelling-place, there is a little bay with a cave above the
reach of the tide. Here a man once saved his life by climbing. My
friend, Mr. Charles Stewart, the proprietor of the Horn Head estates,
writes:--

'I think it was the year 1876 that my man John Stewart was over three
weeks in the cave watching my salmon, without the boat being able to go
to him. The cliffs above were 600 ft. high. He could easily climb up
about 100 ft., most of it cliff-climbing with a little grass. After that
there is a very difficult piece of cliff, almost perpendicular, of about
40 ft. It is easy enough to get down to this point from the top. A man
went down and lowered a rope to him, but he could not come up straight,
as the cliff overhung too much. He tied the rope round him and climbed
up in a zigzag way. He was half an hour climbing this short piece, and
was very exhausted, with his hands badly cut and bleeding. He had with
him his son, a boy of about twelve years old. He had rope about 10 ft.
long from his waist to the boy, who slipped twice on the way up, each
time very nearly taking his father with him. About five years afterwards
the boy was looking for eggs in the cliffs, and fell about 500 ft. to a
shingly beach, rolling the first part of the way down a steep grassy
bank for about 100 ft., and then a sheer drop of 150 ft. to another
grassy bank where a small holly bush grows. When picked up (of course
quite dead) he had a holly branch in his hand.'

There is a comfortable hotel at Dunfanaghy, immediately inland of Horn
Head.

From Dunfanaghy Tory Island can be visited in calm weather--an
interesting boating trip. It is fifteen or twenty miles to the north of
west, and Horn Head has to be passed on the way, giving an opportunity
of surveying its cliffs. There is a cliff or buttress (called, I
believe, Tormore) which the islanders point out, that is somewhat
difficult to climb upon. Once on the summit the successful cragsman can
have any wish he may pine for. The highest point of the island is under
300 ft. The inhabitants disregard the payment of all rents, taxes, &c.

The turreted and bold contour of Tory renders it a great embellishment
to the north-west coast. It is visible from all elevations for a
considerable distance. Seen in a sunset its richly reddish-coloured
granites light up with a warm and lovely glow. It formerly possessed
monastic or other religious institutions, and several ruins of small
churches or oratories are still visible. It abounds with legends--a home
of superstition and folk-lore.

From the neighbourhood of Dunfanaghy the most attractive objects upon
the horizon are the mountains of the Donegal Highlands, _Muckish_ and
_Errigal_ being especially conspicuous.

_Muckish_ ('Pig's Back,' 2,200 ft.) is about 7 miles from Dunfanaghy. It
is flat-topped, with short rotten cliffs on the north and west sides.

_Errigal_ (an oratory or small church) is more interesting. The summit
is pointed, bifid, and hardly large enough for more than two persons. It
is composed chiefly of disintegrating quartzite, flanked on the west by
igneous rocks. Between Errigal and Muckish (about 6 miles) lie the
pointed summits of _Aghla Beg_ (1,860 ft.) and _Aghla More_ (1,916 ft.)
The largest of many lakes is Alton Lough, where the writer was once
solemnly cautioned against swimming, on account of the 'Phouea,' which
lived there and used to mingle with the cattle as a cow and lure one
down into the depths. So would he do with mankind. Numerous swims in
that lake have weakened this prognostication.

Above Alton Lough, on its south-west side, are the cliffs of _Beaghy_
(1,200 ft.), which afford a nice bit of climbing. All these hills can be
gone over in a day, though some (especially Errigal) will ask a second
visit. About 4 miles from the base of Errigal is the excellent fishing
inn at Gweedore. From Dunfanaghy over the summit of Muckish, Aghla,
Beaghy, and Errigal down to Gweedore is a bit of mountaineering which
can be most thoroughly recommended. Gweedore should be made a
head-quarters for a few days; and the comfort obtained at the close of
the day will be well earned and appreciated.

The Poisoned Glen, six miles from Gweedore, is a stern and barren scene
of almost sheer, polished granite cliffs, nearly 1,000 feet above the
base of the glen. The south-west corner of the glen is the most
precipitous. Several deep, black, narrow gorges cut deeply into the
granite. Some, particularly one at the corner of a commanding buttress
on the south side, about half-way up the glen, are of considerable
difficulty. Wedged boulders occur frequently. The worst bit is the final
struggle to the crest of the ridge, which slopes south-westward to the
summit of Slieve Snacht. It will be found necessary in one place to
break out of this gully on to the face, and it should only be attempted
in dry weather. A full day may be spent going up one gully and down
another on the south-west side of the glen. Often the descent is far
easier, a jump of 12 or 15 ft. down to the shingly soft bed of the
gully clearing an obstacle difficult to breast upwards.

The most glaciated spots in Donegal are this glen and _Slieve Snacht_, a
rounded hump of granite.

By proceeding to the head of the Poisoned Glen, past the Gweedore Lakes,
and past the prettily wooded Dunlewy Lake which lies abreast of the
Glen, up the winding stream in its base, and taking the ravine in its
apex, we reach a pass known as Ballaghgeeha Gap ('Windy Pass'). From
this point it is a short walk across a valley to a road, visible from
the pass, which follows the Gweebarra valley south-west down to
Doochary. Taking it in the opposite direction, it leads into Glenbeagh,
a gorge about eight miles long, with a lake enclosed by steep cliffs on
its west shore. On its right a beautifully wooded mountain slope
contains the seat of the proprietor, Glenbeagh Castle. This valley is
crossed at its mouth by the main road to Gweedore, some 10 miles away,
and the circuit described is one of the most beautiful mountain walks
imaginable. In order to vary this, and save the road work home, a
scramble along the west shore of the lake may be effected to the granite
cliffs opposite Glenbeagh Castle, known as Keamnacally. In several
places an ascent can be effected of about 1,000 ft. The crest of the
cliff leads up by a gradual slope to the summit of Dooish, 2,147 ft.
This point is in a straight line for Gweedore from Glenbeagh, and if the
mountaineer wants more work the summit of Errigal lies in the same
bee-line.

_Lough Salt_ (1,546 ft.), a conspicuous hill, was ascended and described
by Otway about seventy years ago, in the language of that period
(_Scenes and Sketches in Ireland_). He adds some quaint legends about
two of the lakes. Into one of these St. Patrick banished the last Irish
snake, a rebellious animal that gave him much anxiety.

_Gweedore to Carrick._--The pedestrian had better omit the north coast,
and proceed westwards round the coast to _Dungloe_.

Aranmore Island, with its handsome red granites, shows some fine cliffs,
especially those at its north-west end, between Torneady and the
lighthouse. In the bay formed by these cliffs a grand tooth or monolith
stands isolated and vertical, about 100 ft. in height. The cliffs are
from 400 to nearly 600 ft., and some rise perpendicularly from the
water.

The best point to visit Aran from is Burton Port, about 3 miles off.
Skilled boatmen are required, as the passage is winding, amongst islets,
rocks, rapid tide currents, and shallows. Aranmore, like many other
Atlantic islands, slopes inland or eastward, and faces the Atlantic with
a wall of cliffs. The coast north of it is wild and beautiful, with
interesting physical features. Across Umfin Island runs a gruesome
cleft, through which a heavy sea tears its way in fury, meeting the sea
from the other end in frantic commotion. Further east, on Horn Head, is
the famous MacSwyne's Gun, for many years a signal to the whole county
that a furious sea was raging at the Horn. It is a 'puffing hole' on a
large scale, but the little rift, ever widening, has slowly silenced
all, or nearly so. On this Head also is the famous _Marble Arch_, Tempul
Breagha, jutting out into the sea.

At Dungloe good quarters and excellent fishing, as usual, are
obtainable.

From Dungloe the road lies through Doochary, Glenties, and Ardara to
Carrick. Each of these last villages has a good inn. The best plan is to
break the journey at Ardara, and take the magnificent coast walk or
climb into Carrick, a good day's work. As far as Maghera the way is
plain along a low sandy coast. West of this lies Maum Glen, whose cliffs
are precipitous enough, and if the glen be crossed a mile inland it is a
steep descent and ascent, though devoid of difficulty. Following the
coast, there is a track near the water's margin for some distance. Soon
the precipices forming the north face of Slieve-a-Tooey are reached. If
the tide is low the base can be followed a long way with one or two ugly
corners. The cliffs are up to 1,000 ft. (Slieve-a-Tooey 1,692), but can
be ascended in various places, and the land lowers again at Port. All
along the scenery is of the most impressive character. Outside Port lies
Tormore Island, one of a group of boulders, a rock which, though hardly
half a mile round its base, is a tremendous sea fowl breeding-place,
second only to Horn Head. At low water Tormore can be reached from the
shore, and it is scaled in many places by lads in search of eggs. One
native was on the Great Tor when a storm arose, and cut him off from the
shore and from all help. After a week he died of starvation and
exposure. It is, perhaps, about 500 to 600 ft. high. Pursuing our way
along the ever-varying cliffs, most interesting in a storm, the curious
promontory called Sturrell is reached in about 4 miles. The knife-edged
saddle is very rotten, but leads to a firm block of rock nearly 1,000
ft. above the sea. So defiant is the challenge of this rock that no
cragsman can pass it by. The passage is not pleasant, yet even on a
second visit the writer was powerless to resist temptation. The
tottering wall of rotten rock gives the impression that the whole
connection may slither down. Considering what desperate Atlantic storms
this crumbling cliff withstands annually, such fears must be
exaggerated. Nevertheless it would be improper to recommend this climb.
It is dangerous as well as difficult, very exciting, and exceedingly
delightful--after it is over.

The rock along this northern side of the mountainous promontory of
Banagh is chiefly quartzite, but in some places, as Sturrell, a rotten
schist.

About a mile south of Sturrell another and a grander headland is
reached, that of Glen Head. It is 600 ft. of cliff, and deservedly
famous. It is easily visited from Carrick Hotel, about 7 miles off. On
much of the southern side a descent is practicable.

From Glen Head to the road to Carrick is a short walk. At this hotel we
are at the inland base of a renowned sea precipice.

_Slieve League_ (1,972 ft.), whose southern face descends from the
summit almost precipitously to the Atlantic, is perhaps the finest ocean
cliff in Europe. The ascent from the hotel, almost at sea level, is
easy. It is best to drive down to Teelin Bay, and strike up the mountain
westwards along the coast. Carrigan Head is soon reached, and from a
point north of it, on the south side of Bunglass, the finest view of
Slieve League is obtained. This gradual ascent to about 1,000 ft. is a
glorious experience.

[Illustration: GLEN HEAD]

From the southern Bunglass cliffs the view of the richly-coloured
precipices opposite is superb. This colouring is a remarkable feature.
The cliff is well-nigh sheer for 1,000 ft., descending straight from a
heathery brink. With the exception of the wonderful cliff seen in
Yellowstone Park from 'Inspiration Point,' the writer could name no
rock-face with such an assemblage of hues. Dolerites, diorites,
quartzites, schists, and conglomerates all help to form this remarkable
mountain. Below the Atlantic lights up and enhances the whole scene.
Though usually breaking into heavy surge it is sometimes as smooth as
glass, and then the visitor should secure a boat at Teelin (or Towney
Bay), and row beneath, viewing the caves. One of these, with a small
entrance and a vast interior, gives forth appalling reverberating echoes
to a horn or a gun.

At Bunglass there is a track leading down to the sea, and a swim rewards
the descent. Crossing the heavy-shingled foreshore to the base of the
opposite cliffs, there is a gully which appears practicable from below,
and leads to the very crest of the cliffs. The violence of storms and
the pitiless pelting of surf below and dislodged fragments from above
have cemented the steep floor of this slit into an uncompromising
hardness. The writer tried it, passed one or two bad places, and was
rejoiced beyond measure to reach the bottom with unbroken bones.

From the summit of Bunglass cliffs, at a point a little north of the
Eagle's Nest, at an altitude of 1,000 ft., it is practicable to traverse
the whole face of Slieve, at about the middle height, 700 to 1,000 ft.
above sea level, from end to end, to the bluffs of Leahan. In two or
three places the ocean edge can be reached, besides the point already
mentioned. In search of botanical specimens we have climbed them in all
directions. There is a track (of a sort) to the sea at one place between
the Eagle's Nest and the One Man's Pass. While scrambling along the sea
face this track was discovered amongst steep heather, bracken, and
bear-berry, and a footprint showed it to be a human resort. Finally an
old man and a little boy emerged from the ocean brink, loaded with
samphire, both inside and outside, and eating it as they rested on their
climb. Vastly surprised at the appearance of the only stranger they had
ever seen there, they eagerly besought him to remove his boots--a
suggestion declined with thanks. Samphire boiled with milk is a cure for
a cough, but it was a novelty to see it eaten raw. This track is called
Thone-na-culliagh ('Back of the Grouse').

It took the writer three summer days to complete this traverse from end
to end of the median height of Slieve League. Several nasty ravines,
iron-floored and steep-edged, had to be crossed. At the close of each
day an ascent had to be discovered--an anxious undertaking, as the
return invariably seemed too dreadful to contemplate. The point
relinquished at the close of each day was religiously repaired to on the
following.

Excessively steep slopes of cemented gravel, grass, or crumbling rock,
half held together by heather, are the usual difficulties. But in four
or five places odd right-angled walls of horizontal, loosely-balanced
blocks of slaty schist jut out right across the face of the cliff, the
legs of the angle being sheer to the sea and horizontal above. The
blocks lie loose upon each other, and are not always large enough to
give one a sense of anything except the rickets. Usually it was possible
to climb beside these buttresses, and, balancing by them, get over in
gingerly fashion. But one--the largest--had to be climbed on
equilibristic principles. Sheep tracks follow the face of the cliff in
some places. Where a sheep can go a man can go, though he may not like
jumps from bad footing to worse landing, where even sheep occasionally
come to grief. Accordingly a track going horizontally here looked
encouraging to the writer, till a flock of wild goats, signally scared,
put his confidence to flight, for a wild goat will lead a man where he
may find it necessary to make a prolonged halt. However the goat track
vanished upward, and the seven-mile traverse was successfully completed
to the Eagle's Nest.

From the summit of Slieve League there is a fine oceanic view of island,
headland, bay, and cliff. South-east of the summit, at a slightly lower
altitude, is the _One Man's Pass_, about the terrors of which a great
deal of rubbish has been written. It is a steep, narrow, short ridge of
firm rock, which any mountaineer would walk up or down with his hands in
his pockets. In a storm he would, however, adopt a worm-like attitude.
The sides are very steep, but practicable both seaward and inland. It
commands a superb view. Among the legends connected with Slieve League
one about a Spaniard, a priest, and a pony is the most captivating (see
_The Donegal Highlands_).

[Illustration: ONE MAN'S PASS]

Slieve League is capped by the remnants of outlying beds of lower
carboniferous age, conglomerates, with fossil plant remains. Botanically
also this mountain is most interesting, rivalling Ben Bulben for first
place as a habitat for mountain plants in Ireland. There is an
interesting feature visible from the summit--a group of spire-like
pinnacles, close below the crest of the ridge. These are known as the
'chimneys,' and form an attractive assemblage. They are of the same
nature as the flying buttresses already spoken of.

[Illustration: THE CHIMNEYS (SLIEVE LEAGUE)]

Slieve League takes its name from 'liag' (flag). There is a flag
formation near the summit. Bunglass is 'Green River Mouth,' but a modern
guide-book translates Bunglass 'Beautiful View,' a ludicrous error
explained by the fact that the point which gives so noble a prospect of
Bunglass is known as Awark More ('Great View').

_Croagh Gorm_ and _Blue Stack Mountains_ lie north and west of
Barnesmore Gap and above Lough Eske, reaching nearly to Glenties, Lough
Eske being about 30 miles east of Slieve League. The coast eastwards
from Slieve League becomes suddenly low, and the formation changes to
carboniferous limestone, which occupies a broad belt round Donegal Bay.
The Blue Stack group is about 7 miles across.

_Blue Stack_ (2,219 ft.) lies above Lough Eske and is granite, although
the Lough itself lies in the limestone. About Lough Belshade, which lies
north of Lough Eske, about half-way up the east side of Blue Stack, the
granite is precipitous, and one bold bluff west of this lake (Belshade),
with a sort of little cave in its face, may be taken in the ascent of
the mountain. Most of the granite portions of the range are rounded,
flowing, gently contoured, barren slopes of bare rock, sometimes at low
elevations becoming steep and difficult. The ascent of Blue Stack from
Lough Eske should on no account be missed. The lake is about 10 miles
round, and most beautifully situated at the southern base of a bold mass
of rugged, desolate granitic bosses and cliffs, cleft by a few fairly
steep ravines. In direct contrast to this sombre scene is the west shore
of the lake, which is girt with timber, chiefly natural. Ardnamona is
the nearest portion of this sylvan scene to the mountain base, and the
whole basin is admirably sheltered by the surrounding mountains from the
violent storms which of late years have been more destructive than ever.

From the road above Ardnamona, looking down over it upon Lough Eske and
its solemn background, the view is perfect. It is a sort of compact
Killarney, which the eye and mind will long feast upon.

North-west of Blue Stack, a couple of miles from it, lies _Lavagh More_
(2,211 ft.), a fine upstanding lump of turf-covered schists. Schists and
sandstones constitute the greater part of these hills. From Lavagh More,
descending southwards, by a series of lakes, the head of the Shrule
River is reached, in a valley with a precipitous northern side, which
gives difficult bits of crag work. In this valley at the northern end
lies a waterfall known as the Grey Mare's Tail.

The Blue Stack Mountains are best explored from Donegal on the south or
Glenties on the west, in both of which places there are comfortable
inns. It is best to drive to the head of Lough Eske, and it is a fine
walk from that, including most of the tops, down to Martin's Bridge, 3
miles from Glenties, over Blue Stack, Lavagh More, and Silver Hill.

In the mountainous district around Glenties other excursions are
available. A walk to be recommended is from Barnesmore Gap (drive of 7
miles from Donegal) across the Croagh Gorm and Blue Stack summits to
Glenties. Barnesmore Gap should by all means be visited. The mountains
on either side rise 1,500 to 1,700 ft., not quite precipitously, but
with bluffs, heavy boulders, and steep rocky faces. Cæsar Otway gives a
highly-coloured description of this impressive scene. Another way to
explore the group is to follow up the course of the Reelan water through
a peculiarly secluded and remote valley. From Glenties to Ardara is
about 4 miles, and the latter village is a capital halting place.
Fishing and fowling can be had. The road from Ardara to Carrick, about
10 miles, passes up the wild, grand gorge of Glen Gesh by a zigzag road,
reminding one of some of the Swiss ascents. For the sake of the varied
scenery obtained by these doublings it is almost preferable to stick to
the road till near the summit. On the south side of this glen it is
bounded by a range known as _Altnadewon_ or _Croaghnagcaragh_ (_Reek_,
'hill of the thicket'). A steep rock face extends from the main road at
the 'nock of the Ballagh,' or Pass, which forms a wide amphitheatre on
the north face of the highest point of this range (1,652 ft.) For some
distance it is by no means easy to scale this declivity.

Towards the southern verge of the county the coast is low and flat, but
the bold precipitous face of Ben Bulben looks highly attractive.

Before leaving Donegal it will be well to mention one useful hint. The
Ordnance maps of this county show 100-ft. contours, which are of the
utmost advantage upon any excursion, as the height of any point attained
by the pedestrian may be fixed within a hundred feet. Very few other
parts of Ireland are thus favoured.

       *       *       *       *       *

=The Ben Bulben Range= lies in the northern part of Sligo and Leitrim; a
most conspicuous object in the landscape viewed from Slieve League
across Donegal Bay. The shapely escarpment of the nearest point looks,
indeed, as if it belonged to Donegal, which is 7 miles away. This
portion consists of _Cloughcorragh_ (2,007 ft.) and _Ben Whiskin_ (1,666
ft.)

These mountains are almost entirely carboniferous limestone. Much of the
group is an elevated plateau, girt round on all sides, or nearly so, by
limestone precipices, usually some hundreds of feet high, rising from a
long steep slope of débris. The height of the cliff edges is about 1,600
ft., of which the talus occupies about two-thirds. The cliffs are fine,
but consist largely of insecure blocks. Occasionally a fissure occurs,
permitting ascent or descent, and some very steep ones are used on the
south side of the range by turf-cutters.

In consequence of this formation the pedestrian may find himself
following a long series of cliff edges, without being able to discover a
way of descent. To examine the cliffs the proper course is to follow the
sheep walk, which usually occurs at the base of the precipices above the
talus. The walk across the range, from Bundoran to Sligo, is full of
interest to a mountaineer, and the descent into the valley north of
Sligo from _King's Mountain_ is one that will never be effaced from his
memory. It is not easy to find the passages leading down. The valley is
a vast amphitheatre almost enclosed by cliffs, sheer and, including
talus, about 1,000 ft. high.

It is always a pleasant experience to follow the crest of a line of
limestone cliffs. Similar cliffs on a smaller scale are those of Moher
and Aran, in the county Clare. It is probably owing to the fissures and
laminations of the limestone, which afford a perfect system of internal
drainage, that such cliffs are not only dry and clean, but also free
from the gullies and valleys which, causing frequent ups and downs,
sometimes render cliff walks extremely fatiguing--near Waterford, for
example. Again, limestone grows no heather and forms little peat, so
that the usual footing is clean grass sod--very pleasant after hummocky
tussocks--and yielding 'quaas.'

For these mountains Kinlough is perhaps the most convenient centre.
Manor Hamilton and Dromahaire may also be utilised, but Bundoran and
Sligo, though the latter commands the beautiful Lough Gill, are too
distant from the hills.

It may be mentioned here that there are various attractions in Northern
Ireland outside the scope of this work. Fishing is always in reach, and
of late years golf has thriven apace. No finer links exist than those of
Portsalon, Rosapenna, Portrush, and Newcastle, and there are many others
of growing excellence.

Ben Bulben is famous for its mountain flora, a valuable report on which,
by Messrs. Barrington and Cowell, has been published by the Royal Irish
Academy.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Mayo.= Here are the highest mountains in the west of Ireland, Mweelrea
(2,688 ft.) and Nephin (2,646 ft.)

[Illustration: MAYO AND CONNEMARA]

_Nephin_ is a round, isolated lump of quartzite, becoming schistose,
rapidly disintegrating on a northern spur, where the only declivities
occur. For the mountaineer it is both distant and unattractive, but on
clear days--which are rare--there is an extensive view.

About 10 miles west of Nephin the axis of the Corslieve range is struck
near the middle of its almost north and south direction. This chain of
hills includes Laghdantybaun (2,369 ft.), at the northern end, Corslieve
(1,785 ft.), Nephinbeg (2,065 ft.), and several others over 2,000 ft.
The chain is about 15 miles in length, terminating near Newport, where
fairly comfortable accommodation can be had. The northern hills are
slate or sandstone, the southern quartzite. It is an interesting range,
and the scenery is wild and rugged, but there is little true climbing.
The best way to approach them is to drive from Leenane Inn to the Deel
River, due north, and then strike west over a wet bog, full of dunlins,
plover, and curlew.

_Achill Island_ is about 15 miles west of Newport. The mountainous
peninsula of Curraun Achill intervenes, and is about 7 miles across,
rising to a tableland of 1,300 to 1,500 ft. in height, composed chiefly
of horizontally-stratified sandstones and conglomerates, not very safe,
but pleasant enough to follow along by the terraces on its north-eastern
edge. Juniper is remarkably abundant here, and, at lower levels,
Mediterranean heath.

On Achill Island there is a comfortable hotel at the 'missionary
settlement,' which is about 10 miles from the ferry. The settlement is
at the base of Slieve More (2,204 ft.), the highest point of Achill.
This mountain is well worthy of a visit, but far finer are the noble
cliffs at Croghaun, about 5 miles west of Slieve More and 2,192 ft.
above sea level.

[Illustration: ACHILL HEAD]

Achill is mainly quartzite, which rock invariably looks and is barren
and forbidding.

There are several points along these cliffs where a descent to the sea
is practicable, and plenty of climbing is obtainable along the face of
Croghaun, which may be traversed in all directions, the cliffs having
the appearance and repute of being more inaccessible than they really
are. The rock (quartzite) is broken into screes and heavy shingle in
many places.

_Croaghpatrick_ (2,510 ft.), famous for its unrivalled view, and
formerly called 'The Reek,' has a northern face of precipitous
declivities where the quartzite formation (as on Nephin) gives place to
schists and shales. The view to the north of Clew Bay, with its hundreds
of islets and Achill beyond, is unsurpassably lovely. The climbing is
more of a 'slither' amongst rotten footing or shingle on the northern
side. The summit is crowned with numerous cairns, being a famous
'pattern.' The beautiful St. Dabeoc's or Connemara heath abounds.
Westport, at its foot, has an excellent hotel, and it is better to
return here from Achill, or vice versa.

_Mweelrea._--Unlike the quartzite mountains, which are usually conical
or dome-shaped, Mweelrea is of a totally different structure. Composed
of Silurian slates chiefly, it forms an extensive tableland at the north
of Killary Fiord, in the south-west corner of Mayo. It is intersected by
three principal valleys, radiating at about equal angles from Doo Lough.
One--that of Delphi and Bundorragha--runs southward to the Killary.
Another--that of the Glenummera river and Owenduff river--has an
easterly trend to the Eriff. The third valley is that of Doo Lough,
Lough Cullin, and Lough Connel, which runs north-west to the sea. The
names of many of these points, such as Delphi Mountain, the highest
above Doo Lough, and Loughty Mountain, its elevated eastern spur, ending
in Glen Laur--are not given on the Ordnance map, and were obtained from
the natives. Error easily arises in nomenclature. A hill or ridge may
have a name known to a few, or belonging to one slope, or to a people
living on one side. Again, it may lie along the boundary of two town
lands, and each may give its name to one side of it. Moreover the
pronunciation is a study in itself. Near Newport there is a district
called on the map Burrishoole, and a bay named Bellacragher. These are
pronounced 'Brizzool' and 'Ballycroy.'

The Mweelrea group consists of a series of plateaux, bounded by long
ranges of precipices, ridges, and gullies, often ending in sheer
ravines. Mweelrea itself fronts the mouth of Killary Fiord, curving in a
grand tabular ridge, 2,600 ft. high, above two small lakes at 1,200 ft.
The pass of Delphi and Doo Lough are the most imposing scenes in the
west of Ireland for wildness and sombre grandeur.

The climbing is of varying difficulty. Between their bases and the
screes below tempting ledges wind upwards, but here the strata are
almost vertical, rendering them extremely treacherous. A nasty fall
impressed this peculiarity on the writer's memory. In other places the
rock is sandstone, mixed with decomposing conglomerates--a formation
worse to scale than any except the miocene trap rocks of the Antrim
coast.

There is one interesting and difficult climb. A lake--Glencullin ('Glen
of Hollies') Lake--lies immediately north of Doo Lough. A stream runs
into the south-west corner of this lake out of Glencullin, starting from
a series of black, sunless precipices, seamed with gorges and well-nigh
2,000 ft. high. These can be climbed by two gorges at least from base to
summit. The name of these cliffs is Asko Keeran ('Ridge of Mountain
Ash'), and when the crest is gained a fine walk is the reward, over Ben
Bury (2,610 ft.) to the highest point, Mweelrea (2,688 ft.), along a
curved ridge one to two miles long.

One portion of the Mweelrea system--that which lies immediately east of
Fin Lough or Delphi--is known as Ben Gorm, or Kead-na-binnian. The
cliffs upon this mountain are formed chiefly of gneiss, which breaks up
into blocks, owing to numerous transverse fissures across the
lamination. These blocks lie on one another, often on a steep slope,
owing to the roughness of their surfaces, which prevents their sliding.
They are then more dangerous even than slaty rocks, since this very
roughness beguiles a climber into feeling that the footing is safe at a
steeper angle than on the smoother surfaces, while the rocks are merely
in unstable equilibrium.

Maamtrasna, Slieve Partry, the Formnamore Mountains, or Letterbrickaun
('Wet Hill of Badgers'), abut upon the head of Killary Fiord. The
highest points, or rather flats, are Devils Mother (2,131 ft.),
Maamtrasna (Formnamore) (2,239 and 2,209 ft.) They are chiefly composed
of sandstone and sandstone conglomerate, and form a series of high
barren tablelands, dotted with pools, and of no interest whatever.

The above group, as well as Mweelrea, is within easy reach of the
excellent Leenane Inn at Killary.

_Cliffs._--Of the numerous magnificent cliffs on the western seaboard of
Ireland none, in the writer's opinion, excel those of North Mayo.
Certain aspects of Slieve League are grander, the cliffs of Moher are
more splendidly symmetrical, Horn Head, Dunaff Head, Achill, all have
their glories, but the Mayo cliffs are unmatched for extent and variety.
From Ballina by Ballycastle to Belmullet, round the coast, is the finest
sea-cliff walk the writer has ever experienced. For three days there was
no cessation of variety in shape, in sculpture, in colouring of the
precipices, always lofty and always plunging into a surf-like snow
beneath, fringing the blue ocean outside. Occasionally, but rarely,
ravines occur, leading to some tiny rock-bound bay. The coast here for
many miles is higher than the land inside, and the streams flow away
from the sea to the south, and then west to the Atlantic. Perhaps the
most hopeless area of undrainable bog in Ireland lies in Western and
North-Western Mayo.

Although it was impossible to omit mention of these cliffs, they are not
for the climber. They are too sheer, and, what is worse, there is no
accommodation. From Ballycastle west to Belderg is within reach. But it
is west of Belderg that the cliffs are grandest, as at Glinsk, Doonmara,
and Benwee Head. Without the happy fortune which enabled the writer to
use a shooting lodge, located west of Belderg, the distances would have
been impossible without camping out.

From Belderg to Belmullet the rock is chiefly a hard and reliable
quartzite, often seamed with dykes of basalt. Numerous needle-shaped
islets, stacks, and stookawns occur. The whole coast abounds with sea
fowl, and is singularly free from human influence, since the absence of
bays, strands, or harbours renders long stretches of it uninhabitable
even for fishermen.

Otway's _Sketches in Erris and Tyrawley_ (1841) should be read.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Galway Mountains.=--The Galway Mountains, besides the Maamtrasna range,
spoken of above, are _Maamturk range_, _Benchoona_, _Bennabeola_ or
_Twelve Bens_ (or 'Pins').

_Maamturk range_, including the hills which form such a conspicuous
feature in Joyce's Country, extend, roughly speaking, from the Killary
Hotel south-east to Lough Shindilia, at the Half-way House on the coach
road from Clifden to Galway. It forms a zigzag series of beehive-shaped
domes, connected by ridges, which are frequently 500 ft. to 1,000 ft.
below the neighbouring summits. Usually these connecting ridges are set
at angles with the tops quite at variance with the main axis of the
chain, and are invisible from the summits, so that compass bearings are
most misleading.

These truncated mounds are composed mainly of gneiss, sometimes of
quartzite, and in the northern portion the chain becomes more fertile
and of a clayey, schistose nature. They are very similar to the Twelve
Bens, save that the latter have their conical tops still adhering,
apparently showing that this elongated line was more vulnerable than
the self-protecting 'Pins' cluster.

This chain is singularly barren, but so bold and conspicuous a feature
in the landscape claims exploration. The writer once traversed the whole
length of summits from the Half-way House to Leenane in a walk, or
climb, for about 14 hours. The going is often excessively rugged and
wearisome, owing to the loose detritus of heavy, angular quartzose
blocks. An occasional oasis, as at Maumeen, charms the eye with its
verdure and some botanical treasures. Near this an hotel once existed,
but at present there is nothing nearer than Glendalough or Leenane, at
the extreme ends of the range.

Many a stiff bit of climbing, short and sharp, was met with on this most
severe day's work, in making growingly reckless short cuts from summit
to summit. From Leckavrea to the Killary there are about fifteen
distinct summits, averaging 2,000 ft. in height.

_Benchoona_ (1,975 ft.), a northern outlier of the Twelve Bens, lies at
the mouth of the Killary, opposite Mweelrea. Killary Harbour or Fiord
runs inland eastwards for some 15 miles. Benchoona is gneissose, with
two summits, close on 2,000 ft., and a lake lies between them. Several
Alpine plants occur among the north-east cliffs. The rock here is
uncommonly dangerous to climb, being loosely constructed and apt to
disintegrate in unexpectedly massive segments. On such an occasion,
although against the dogma of climbing, a swift and sudden jump or
spring is sometimes the only escape. The block--perhaps a ton or two in
weight--which is quietly sliding, or more probably overturning, with
its captive, yields momentum enough for a final kick to clear out
altogether to any preferable station. These rocks are unfit to climb,
and will only be meddled with for some special purpose.

_Twelve Bens_ (2,391 ft.), within easy access of first-class hotels in
Connemara, are huddled together in beautiful confusion, and offer
problems of special interest in their puzzling geography and watershed
system. Bennabeola is entered by no roads of any great penetration, but
there are several valleys forming arteries with its very heart. Of these
Glen Inagh from the east, Glen Coaghan from the south, and Owenglin from
the west are the most important. The best method is to select a
glen--Glen Coaghan for choice--and work to its head. Two or three
summits will then probably lie equidistant. Most of these summits are of
quartzite, with short heavy screes, white and extremely barren. The most
interesting climb is upon the north of Muckanaght (2,150 ft.), which is
connected with Benfree by a ridge at about 1,000 ft. The cliffs lie
about 1,300 to 1,800 ft., and from near their upper edge to the summit
(2,150 ft.) is a steep and perilous grassy slope.

Muckanaght is about 2½ miles from the lovely Kylemore Lake. Two
'Pins,' Benbaunbeg and Benfree, intervene. The peak itself is connected
by ridges with Bencullagh and Benbaun South. From Muckanaght the heart
of Bennabeola is laid bare, and, given a clear day, no better point of
vantage could be desired.

The Twelve Bens are in the heart of some of the loveliest scenery in
the world, full of varied and interesting scrambles, and botanically
they are pre-eminently the richest in mountain plants in Connaught,
Croaghpatrick coming next.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Clare.=--_The Cliffs of Moher_ may be visited from excellent quarters
at Lisdoonvarna (the 'Fort in the Gap'), in the north-west of Clare, a
district known as the Burren. This district is formed of the
carboniferous limestone which occupies most of Central Ireland.

This formation, replete with carboniferous fossils, is remarkably
monotonous and symmetrical. When it occurs in a cliff formation, as at
Moher, or the south-western sides of the Aran Islands, it forms a sheer
wall, absolutely vertical, to the sea, or else it is arranged in a
series of terraces, like gigantic steps. Very rarely a chasm occurs,
connecting two terraces. More often it is possible, by means of slight
protruding ledges, to ascend an almost vertical face, since the rock is
invariably either absolutely safe or easy to test. Sometimes, as at the
southern end of the Moher cliffs, isolated pillars of rock occur, which
are most pleasing to climb and pleasant to remain perched upon when
climbed.

These rocky surfaces of Aran and Burren are very tiresome and difficult
to traverse, as the fissures (2-12 in. in width) between the blocks are
often adjacent. The rock is usually cut into slabs, generally
rectangular in shape. The loose blocks are piled by the inhabitants into
tottering walls, which are difficult either to cross or upset with
safety. The easiest way is to ascend gently and then jump with a kick
behind. On Aran especially the going is most laborious.

[Illustration: CLIFFS OF MOHER]

As an instance of the sheerness of these cliffs on Aran boys may be seen
fishing with a rodless line from their edge, 200 ft. above the water.
Inland these cliffs run gradually in a series of irregular declivities,
a gently sloping flagged platform to low levels.

Much is done here by the natives in the way of egg-collecting, with the
assistance of ropes, the eggs being chiefly those of guillemots, gulls,
and razor-bills, and required for food.

The cliff scenery of Moher is superb and unequalled. It has not the
variety of stack, needle, ravine, that other formations have, but its
very regularity is most harmoniously imposing. On the other hand, the
brilliant and varying colouring of North Mayo or Slieve League, in
Donegal, is entirely absent.

The Aran Islands are visited from Galway by steamer. There is an hotel
on the north island. They are full of ethnological and archæological
interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Co. Down.= _Mourne Mountains._--This chain of granite hills covers an
elliptic space of about 15 miles by 6, the longer axis stretching from
Newcastle to Rosstrevor, where there are excellent hotels. From either
point to the other is a day's walk that will well repay the labour, and
can be made to include all the principal summits. The descent to
Newcastle, through Donard Lodge woods, by the waterfall, is very pretty,
and by varying the night's accommodation a still more beautiful route
lies through Tollymore Park to Bryansford, where good quarters are
obtainable.

[Illustration: MOURNE MOUNTAINS]

The highest points lie at the Newcastle or north-east extremity of the
group. The southern portions are less interesting, and the western
flanks are very dreary.

These hills, being of granite, have few precipices, many rounded
summits, sloping sides, and heavy screes, of the usual uncomfortable
angular nature. The 'Eagle's Cliff,' a mile to the north of Slieve
Donard, affords some climbing, and a little rock exercise can be had at
'the Castles,' lying on a spur of Slieve Commedagh, to the west of
Slieve Donard, below it and half a mile away.

Slieve Bingian, in the south-east of the range, has a little easy
climbing.

There is also a considerable cliff on a shoulder north-west of Slieve
Meel-more. It is known as Spellick, and is easily visited from
Bryansford. It is worth examination, but the writer has not climbed it.

The view from Slieve Donard is, of course, famous.

The ascent from Bryansford, through Tullymore Park, taking Slieve
Commedagh and the Castles _en route_, is perhaps the finest walk, so far
as scenery is concerned, to be had in this picturesque cluster of
mountains.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Co. Dublin.=--_Lambay_ is an island abounding in sea fowl and wild
flowers, about 2½ miles from the nearest point of land, and about 10
miles north-east of Dublin. It is best approached by boat from Donabate,
or less conveniently from Howth, Malahide, Rush, or Skerries.

The cliffs reach about 250 ft., and are practically sheer in many
places, as on the north-east side at Freshwater Bay, or a little west
of it, and on the south-east cliffs below Raven's Well.

Several most interesting climbs are to be obtained on it. The best are
on those cliffs west of Freshwater Bay.

About 30 ft. above the water's edge at high-water mark there is a narrow
and deep horizontal fissure, which in May is packed with breeding sea
fowl. The ornithological visitor will at once feel it his duty to reach
that fissure. The writer's first visit to Lambay was made in the company
of one Dykes, known to be the best clifter on Howth. He pronounced this
fissure inaccessible. There is a bend in the cliffs leading to the
right-hand extremity of the fissure. Here lay the only chance, and the
first two grips out of the boat are easy enough, raising one 6 or 8 ft.
(or perhaps 15 if the tide is out) above the water. After that there are
two enormous stretches, with practically no foothold. If these two
points are passed, the fissure is in reach, and an ugly wriggle will
land the unwelcome intruder on his anterior surface upon the narrow
ledge forming its base.

Dykes meantime was highly encouraging, calling out, 'Madness,' 'Break
your neck,' 'You can never get down.' The climber had, however, an
original plan of descent, and having, with considerable difficulty,
divested himself of his garments, he dropped them first into the boat
and then himself into the water.

On revisiting these cliffs ten years later, and pointing out this climb
to a very good rock-man, he failed to see how the climb was done, and so
it had to be done again. This time, however, the tide was out, and on
stripping to take the plunge it became at once apparent that a rock
exactly in the line of descent was too near the surface. To climb down
had always appeared dangerous, on account of the lack of foothold and
the very awkward nature of the backward movement out of the fissure. So
an attempt was made on the wall above.

It is marvellous how a naked man can adhere to a cliff. For a full hour
an unhappy preadamite man writhed and glued himself against the face of
that cliff, descending and reascending by new lines, but always checked
by a straight wall about 150 ft. up. Anything appeared better than that
hateful descent. Some friends ran to a coastguard station a mile or more
away for a rope. However before they reappeared the descent was faced
and safely accomplished.

This sketch will serve to show that high mountains are by no means
necessary for the practice of rock-climbing, the very best of which is
constantly attainable along the coast. Owing to the working of the ocean
waves unsafe pieces are almost certainly removed, and the cliff, at its
lower parts at any rate, is invariably firm and safe. It is fine sport
to choose a steep rocky coast at, say, half-tide in spring, and travel
between high and low water marks as far as may be during the six hours.
It should be a point of honour not to ascend, but if forced to take to
the water excellent practice and much amusement is obtainable in this
way, and the slippery nature of the rock teaches sureness of foot.
Nailed boots are, of course, indispensable.

The geological formation of Lambay is principally felstone porphyry.
Some stratified Silurian shales and limestone occur, and there is a
small sheet of old red sandstone, with conglomerates. The rock is in
general hard and reliable.

_Howth_ is a promontory with a village about 9 miles from Dublin, for
the people of which it is a favourite resort. From Balscaddan Bay, on
the north, to an almost opposite point, Drumleck Point, on the south,
the east coast is composed of cliffs (200-300 ft.), sometimes abrupt,
sometimes ending above in grass slopes, very slippery in hot weather,
which have caused many accidents.

A very interesting scramble, with many nasty traverses over these steep
grass slopes, may be had round Howth Head. Keeping to the upper edge of
the rocks, it is necessary to ascend once at Kilrock, but after that the
whole headland may be climbed at about the medium height of the cliffs.
On the way a 'needle' or 'stack' will here and there attract attention,
and perhaps seem worth assaulting. About Piper's Gut a small gully is
difficult to pass. North of that a saddle rock leads to a pinnacle, but
it is of rotten rock. The cliffs of this part of Howth are exceedingly
picturesque, but in some places they are extremely unsafe. From Howth,
on a very clear day, the Welsh hills, apparently those about
Penmaenmawr, are visible.

_Ireland's Eye._ A small rocky island, 340 ft. high, about a mile north
of Howth. At its north-east corner there is a bold columnar rock with a
tabular summit, partly severed from the island. On its outer face it is
very sheer, and to gain the summit is a very short but interesting and
somewhat difficult climb. The return is not so bad, as a sidelong spring
saves a portion of the worst bit.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Wicklow.=--Wicklow forms the third county in Ireland in which the
mountains rise to a height of over 3,000 ft., Kerry and Tipperary being
the other two.

The higher mountains lie in the broad band of granite formation which
extends in a nearly southerly direction from near Dublin through Wicklow
and Carlow counties.

Being granite they are as a rule round masses of wide extent, often
covered with peat bogs; so that although Wicklow contains the most
continuous extent of elevated (over 1,000 ft.) moorland in Ireland,
there are few cliffs of any consequence, and no peaks or summits
presenting upon any side material of interest to the rock-climber.
Nevertheless there are fine stretches of mountain, affording excellent
training ground. What cliffs there are occupy the most lovely scenery in
one of the loveliest Irish counties.

_Powerscourt Waterfall._--The rocks to the left of the fall, which is
kindly left open to the public by Lord Powerscourt, the popular
landlord, are nasty, especially in wet or frosty weather. Although not
much over 250 feet in height several lives have been lost in this
ascent, chiefly, no doubt, owing to the inexperience of the unfortunate
visitors. This dangerous though tempting portion has been for several
years railed off, and is not supposed to be trespassed upon. During the
severe winter of the present year (February 1895) the waterfall
presented an Arctic appearance. An interesting account of an ascent of
it, or rather of the above-mentioned rocks, was sent to an Irish paper
in that month. The climb was effected by a friend of the writer's (a
member of the Alpine Club) and another, with ropes and ice axes. The
cliff was covered with ice and snow. The same party ascended Djonce
(2,384 ft.), which lies above the waterfall, during a blizzard at a
temperature of 18°, upon the same day. Unhappily a very few days
afterwards a promising young life was lost upon these very rocks. The
falls are visited by very large numbers of holiday-makers.

The rocks of Powerscourt, which lie against the Wicklow granites, are
composed of metamorphic beds of gneiss and schists. Powerscourt is about
7 miles from Bray.

_Tonelagee Mountain_ ('Back to the Wind' Mountain) (2,694 ft.), a round
mass of moorland, has on the northern shoulder a crater-like valley,
containing a tarn, Lough Ouler, and cliffs of schistose, some 400 to 500
ft. high, descending from near the summit to the margin of the lake. An
interesting scramble may be made from the Military Road, about a mile
above Glenmacanass Waterfall, which lies some 6 miles from Glendalough
Hotel; but a short cut to Lough Ouler is easily found by going up the
Glendasan valley 3 miles towards Wicklow Gap, and then striking up
northwards over the shoulder of Tonelagee.

Wicklow county is very poor in highland plants, and these cliffs alone
possess species of any interest.

Other cliffs in county Wicklow are those of Luggielaw ('Hollow of the
Hill'), above Lough Tay; the Eagle's Nest, above Lower Lough Bray; a
small series of bluffs above Lough Nahanagan, and the Prisons of
Lugnaquilia. In winter the latter, lying high (2,700 to 3,039 ft.),
afford excellent glissading and cornice work. But, unless the season is
severe there is too much heavy trudging to be done. All the above
precipices lie in most attractive scenery, nor must the famous cliff
above Glendalough, containing St. Kevin's Bed, be omitted. But none of
them affords desirable scope for climbing practice. The granite
'Prisons' of Lugnaquilia are attractive in appearance, but all the cliff
faces are ready to drop to pieces. Mullaghclevaun ('Summit with the
Cradle' or 'Creel'), 2,783 ft., contains no climbing.

Since Wicklow affords the nearest opportunities to Dublin mountaineers,
we may mention a few one-day walks from that city which have been
accomplished by the writer.

Practically the only artery through these mountains is the _Military
Road_, constructed after the rebellion of 1798 to connect a series of
now disused barracks. This road, from 'Billy's Bridge' at Upper
Rathfarnham, about 5 miles from Dublin, is over 35 miles to Aughavanagh.
It passes through an almost uninhabited country, and much of it lies
from 1,000 to 1,500 feet above sea level, and it is the pedestrian's
main anxiety to regain the comparative security of the Military Road
before night sets in on the wide stretches of tussocky moorland.

To clear the suburbs it is well to take the tram to Terenure (3 miles).
Terenure; Ballinascorney Gap; Coronation Plantation (3 to 3¼ hours);
Sally Gap; Military Road; Lough Bray (5 hours); back to Terenure (7½
hours: 34 miles).

Terenure; Lough Ouler; Tonelagee summit (6 hours); Mullaghclevaun summit
(7½ hours); Ballysmutton (9½ hours); home by Ballinascorney Gap
(13½ hours: 48 miles). From Bray this walk is about 5 miles shorter.

Bray, over Bray Head, Little Sugarloaf, Big Sugarloaf (1,680 ft.),
Djonce Mountain (2,384 ft.), and Kippure (2,473 ft.); Lough Bray, by
Military Road, to Terenure: about 11 hours.

Terenure; Ballinascorney Gap; Seacaun; Kippure; Lough Bray; Terenure
(about 8 hours).

Terenure; Lough Bray; Kippure (2½ hours); Gravale (2,352 ft.); Duff
Hill (2,364 ft.--very heavy going); Mullaghclevaun summit (6 hours);
Tonelagee summit (7½ hours); Lough Ouler; Military Road; Terenure (14
hours; about 50 miles).

Glendalough; Dublin (7¾ hours); Glendasan; Wicklow Gap; summit of
Tonelagee (11 hours); summit of Mullaghclevaun; Clevaun Lake;
Ballymullagh old road; across Liffey at Ballysmutton bridge;
Ballinascorney Gap; Terenure (20 hours, including rests and delays by
bog; 62 miles).

Terenure; Lough Bray (3 hours); Laragh (7½ hours); Glenmalure;
Drumgoff Hotel (9 hours 5 minutes--1½ hour's rest); Lugnaquilia
(3,039 ft., 12¾ hours); Tonelagee summit (16¼ hours);
Mullaghclevaun summit (17 hours 40 minutes); Ballysmutton farm (19 hours
40 minutes--35 min. rest); Ballinascorney Gap; Terenure (23 hours 50
minutes; 75 miles).

The ascent of Lugnaquilia direct from Glendalough, over Lugduff, round
the head of Glenmalure, and up by Kelly's Lough is perhaps the finest
walk in Wicklow.

It is a fine day's walk along the coast from Bray to Arklow, or Bray to
New Rath Bridge, and thence by the Devil's Glen to Glendalough.

In a wild, uncultivated county, like Wicklow, experience in the use of
map and compass may be gained by setting a course from Woodenbridge to
Glendalough, about 12 miles, or from Glendalough to the Scalp or
Sugarloaf, on the way to Dublin, some 40 miles.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Kerry.=--_Brandon_ (3,127 ft.) is of the same formation as that of the
Reeks, i.e. the lower old red sandstone. The Brandon rocks are, in
general, hard grits, firm and good to climb.

The accommodation on this promontory of Corkaguiny is no doubt improved
since the construction of Mr. Balfour's light railway from Tralee to
Dingle; but Dingle lies 8 miles to the south of Brandon.

I obtained very inferior accommodation at Cloghane, on an inlet at the
eastern base of the mountain; and cleaner and better, but not so
convenient, from a coastguard at Ballydavid, to the west of Brandon. For
the other mountains on the promontory, Castle Gregory is centrally
situated, but in all these cases (except Dingle) it is highly advisable
to make previous arrangements and supplement the native fare with a
hamper.

The coast of the Brandon promontory (which was traversed throughout) is
often highly precipitous; indeed, from Cloghane on the north to
Anniscaul on the south the western extremity is almost entirely so, and
many stiff bits of climbing were accomplished, whether in pursuit of
scenery, of a direct course, of objects of natural history, or, perhaps,
more frequently out of what an Irishman would call 'natural divilment.'
A few years ago no language would have sufficed in abuse of the
accommodation at Anniscaul, but, as it is now a railway station, no
doubt this is all changed.

[Illustration: KERRY]

_Brandon Peak and Brandon Summit._--The most enjoyable way to make the
first acquaintance with these mountains is to ascend Connor Hill, to the
north-west of Dingle, and follow the ridge by Beenduff, Ballysitteragh,
Geashane, and Brandon Peak to the summit. The peak is about 400 ft.
lower than and a little south of Brandon proper. Along this ridge,
looking north and north-west, there is a fine rocky face before reaching
the peak. After that point a range of cliffs, several hundred feet in
altitude, meets the loftier cliffs above Lake Nalacken, looking east. At
the head of the Feany valley, under Brandon, these cliffs afford an
interesting descent. The range gives plenty of practice in rock work.

Alpine plants occur mainly on the north and north-east cliffs, and are
more numerous than on the loftier Reeks.

_Brandon from Cloghane._--From Cloghane the ascent may be made amongst
fine cliffs and rock-climbing, by making south-east for Lough Cruttia,
the largest lake under Brandon to its east. It is better to follow the
road southwards a mile or two, to save uninteresting moorland. From this
lake it is a short distance to the north-west of Lough Nalacken, and by
striking in east at once to the cliffs a good climb is obtainable. Lough
Cruttia is about 700 ft. above sea level. Between the upper lough and
the cliffs the surface is a desolate extent of polished naked grits,
strewn with boulders. Crossing this a somewhat dangerous gully leads up
to the cliffs at about 1,650 ft. The ascent of this is about 300 ft.,
and a stiff climb and afterwards some 400 ft. of cliffs may be tackled
in various ways.

There are numerous ledges, and it is the best botanical ground in the
mountains. The cliffs 'go' splendidly. In a lake south of the two
mentioned above, locally named Lough Bawn, or the 'White Lake,' lives
the enormous 'carrabuncle.' It appears fitfully at night, glittering
like silver in the water with gold and silver and precious stones
hanging to it galore. It is partly covered with shells, which are lined
with gold. Upon one occasion several men went to the lake at night and
dived in oilskins to catch this valuable monster. They did not catch
him; but pearl mussels, no doubt shed from the carrabuncle, are found in
the lake.

_Brandon Point and Brandon Head._--From Cloghane it is a fine hard walk
right round Brandon Point and Brandon Head. At the cliffs of Slieveglass
(1,050 ft.) a bay of extreme grandeur is opened, bound on three sides by
lofty precipices and with a depth and sea frontage of about half a mile.
There is a shepherd's settlement, Arraghglin, on the coast, which has to
be closely approached. A more bleak habitation can hardly be conceived;
neither road nor even track leads to it. It is now several hours' work
to round the sea face of Brandon Head, at altitudes varying from 500 to
1,200 ft., to Ballydavid. If accommodation has not been arranged for
here the walk to Dingle will be found most wearisome, and at all trouble
a car should be provided.

_Macgillicuddy's Reeks_ contain the highest summits in Ireland. They
extend from the Gap of Dunloe, the eastern extremity, to the Beenbane
spur near Glencar, about 10 miles west from the Gap. The scenery is
magnificent. From Lake Auger, in the Gap, the climber ascends at once by
a series of precipitous bluffs to an elevation of about 2,000 ft. Still
ascending along a serrated ridge, an elevation of about 3,000 ft. is
reached above Lough Cummeenapeasta, about 2½ miles west of the Gap of
Dunloe. For several miles this ridge can be traversed at about the above
altitude. The ridge frequently becomes a mere knife-edge, and in several
places descends abruptly and precipitously to some of the numerous tarns
and cooms nestling 1,000 to 1,500 ft. below. A more perfect mountain
excursion can hardly be conceived. The ridge carries us to the shoulder
of Carran Tuohill, and from its summit a northern branch extends to
Beenkeragh (3,314 ft.) and to Skregmore (2,790 ft.) The axis proper
continues to Caher (3,200 ft.) and Curraghmore (2,680 ft.) Here we reach
a gap connecting Cummeenacappul (Horse's Valley) with the Valleys of
Caragh and Cummeenduff, or the Black Valley. West of it is the Beenbane
spur, a lower elevation of no interest. The Reeks are chiefly composed
of hard green and purple grits, and sandstone of old red sandstone age.
The rocks are generally firm and safe to climb amongst.

There is a comfortable angler's hotel at Glencar, at the western end of
the Reeks. This is the best adapted for the immediate neighbourhood of
the higher points, but to reach some of the most interesting climbing it
is better to distribute one's attentions equally between Killarney and
Glencar. From Killarney (Railway Hotel) two methods are available--one
by car to the Gap of Dunloe, or further to the Hag's Glen, up a steep
mountain road, and from either of these as starting-point some excellent
rock work is available. From the Gap as starting-point a long day can be
spent, descending at night to Glencar Hotel. The other method is to boat
from Killarney (enjoying exquisite scenery) to Lord Brandon's cottage at
the western extremity of the upper lake. Here begins a long, dull
ascent, rewarded by the splendid view from the ridge into the heart of
the Reeks. Or these routes can be reversed.

[Illustration: SKETCH MAP OF

KILLARNEY]

Guides swarm here. None of these have the slightest knowledge of
climbing, and should one be engaged the first deviation from the easiest
ascent, or departure into gully or ravine, will put a conclusion to his
services. A wiry, bragging, long-legged shepherd undertook to accompany
the writer by any ascent he selected from the Hag's Glen to Carran
Tuohill, to be paid five shillings at the summit. At the foot of the
first gully, with many heart-felt remonstrances and gesticulations, he
disappeared, not even thinking it worth while to make an easier ascent.
On this account it is all the more necessary to be unfailingly provided
with the Ordnance map and a thoroughly good compass. An aneroid
barometer is also of great assistance, especially in mist, for a
knowledge of the altitude often enables a lake or a peak to be
identified.

_Cumloughra_ (3,100 ft.)--Starting from Glencar Hotel, a few tedious
miles bring us across a country road to Lake Acoose (507 ft.) Passing
round the south edge of the lake, a ridge (about 900 ft.) is crossed,
and ere long Lake Eighter, at the entrance to Cumloughra (1,500 ft.), is
reached. If we pass along the shores of the lake to the south-western
edge, a few hundred feet up an open gully brings us to a series of
cliffs south-west from Cumloughra lake. The rock is sound, and a fine,
almost vertical ascent of 1,000 ft. may be made, striking the ridge of
Caher (3,000 ft.) 200 ft. below the summit. It is a severe climb and
very long, entailing many zigzags. There is no main gully to adhere to,
and the cliffs are less impracticable than they look. Along the west
side of the two lakes the cliffs are easier.

_Carran Tuohill_ (3,414 ft.)--Cars from Killarney stop at the Geddagh
River. Cross it, sweep to the right and back, and then follow the valley
by a fair path between two lakes to the Devil's Ladder and up it to the
_col_. The summit is then on the right hand. The writer was once
fortunate enough to ascend this summit through a cloud layer of about
1,500 ft. thick, which ceased a short distance below the summit. Above
was a clear blue sky, and peering out of the dense white, snowlike bed
of mist Caher and Brandon (the latter 30 miles to the north-west, the
former not a mile away) alone were visible--a never to be forgotten
sight, which seemed shut out entirely from earthly considerations.
Descending _into_ the clouds, the ridge leading southwards towards
Cummeenoughter, or Devil's Looking Glass (Upper Coom), was taken by
mistake, and an exceedingly nasty traverse across huge, dangerously
sloping slabs was necessary in order to regain Carran Tuohill and find
the Caher ridge.

_Beenkeragh_ (3,100 ft.)--Between Beenkeragh and Skregmore (2,600 ft.)
there lies an inviting glen, sunk in black precipices. These cliffs are
to be avoided. At several points an attempt was made to scale them, but
the rock is most rotten. Near Beenkeragh is a ridge running a little
west of north for half a mile, and bounding the Devil's Looking Glass
and the Hag's Glen on their west. This ridge is reached by an easy gully
known as the _Devil's Ladder_, about 300 ft. below Beenkeragh.

_Devil's Looking Glass_ (Cummeenoughter). This tarn lies at the head of
the Hag's Glen, at an elevation of 2,500 ft. It is three-parts encircled
by a fine series of cliffs. At the western corner of this bold girth of
precipices the finest view in the Reeks may be obtained, looking over
the Looking Glass, and the lakes below in the Hag's Glen, across heights
and peaks and valleys to Cummeenapeasta. Excellent climbing is to be had
here. The rock is a purple sandstone, and one shoulder of an
inaccessible appearance can be climbed throughout, owing to the firmness
of grip and the recurrence of suggestive little footholds.

_Lake Auger_ (Gap of Dunloe).--These cliffs terminate upwards in the
Bull's Mountain at about 1,500 ft. The lake is about 350 ft. above sea
level. Almost immediately after leaving the lake we come upon a series
of bluffs and terraces occasionally communicating with one another, but
more often uniting to form smooth-faced walls. Great care and
discrimination have to be exercised in selecting ledges that do not
terminate upon such faces, as there is little hand grip, and turning to
retrace one's steps is most unpleasantly difficult and dangerous. The
climbing here is most excellent and exciting, but the writer often felt
sorely in need of a companion and a rope. It is in such places as these,
inaccessible to sheep and goats, that hawkweeds occur, and in search of
these, places were reached which rendered the summit of Bull's Mountain
(when gained) extremely welcome.

_The Hag's Glen._--Making the ascent from here to the westward, we reach
another valley between Hag's Glen and Old Finglas River. At about 1,800
ft. a very black gully leads up to the main ridge from its northern
side. It is occasionally blocked with huge masses of rock, which render
détours along the boundary walls necessary, and, as is often the case,
it becomes very difficult afterwards to regain the gully. This gully is
a very tough climb. The Hag's teeth (there are two) are conical knobs of
no difficulty, along a ridge running into the glen.

_Lake Googh_ (1,600 ft.)--This lake lies on the south side of the main
axis of the Reeks. Above it rises to the northwards a series of coombs,
or high-lying valleys, which can be traversed by separate and often
interesting scrambles till the main ridge is reached. This is a very
interesting ascent. It is often rather a matter of chance whether the
gully selected will be available to its end for the next coomb level,
and a retracement of steps will frequently have to be effected. Nothing
is less pleasing than to have to go back down a gully which it was a
small triumph to have ascended in safety. This valley is singularly
dark, damp, and grand; and it is more rich in ferns than any other
portion of the Reeks.

_Cloon Lake and Lough Reagh._--Although these cliffs are not a portion
of the Reeks, they are mentioned here as being easily reached from
Glencar Hotel. They lie south of Lough Reagh, which is separated only by
a marsh from Lough Cloon, and are a most superbly rugged cluster of
sugar-loaf peaks huddled together and often separated by sheer
precipices and inaccessible ravines. Unfortunately they are of easy
access from the southern or Sneem side. Many gullies of sound rock
occur. Bad weather on two different visits rendered climbing here an
unpleasant experience, but enough was seen to enable the writer to
pronounce the district well worthy of a visit. _Mount Aitchin_ (Whin
Mount) is the chief summit. Golden eagles bred recently amongst these
cliffs.

Coming down once from these mountains towards Lough Reagh, facing
northwards, in a blinding mist, an uncommon sort of descent was
obtained. Not knowing the nature of the ground, or indeed our
whereabouts, we struck blindly over a declivity, turning at length to a
sheer cliff whose termination was invisible. This cliff or series of
cliffs is broken into ledges, all coated with a long growth of woodrush.
Glissading and holding on brought us in unexpected safety to the valley
below. Return would have been impossible by the way of our descent.

Other mountains in the neighbourhood of Killarney are _Mangerton_ (2,756
ft.); _Toomies_ (2,415 ft.); _Purple Mountain_ (2,739 ft.); _Turc
Mountain_ (1,764 ft.), and the _Paps_ (2,268 ft.) Of these none afford
any real climbing. On Mangerton, however, the Horse's Glen is surrounded
by rocky declivities, and the Devil's Punch Bowl has a slight cliff
above it. From Killarney by rail to Headfort, and then back over the
Paps and Mangerton, and through the Horse's Glen, is a fine walk.
Another fine walk is from the lake, whither one proceeds from Killarney
by boat, up Toomies Mountain, over Purple Mountain, and Turc Mountain,
and Mangerton can be included on the way back.

The Eagle's Cliff, above the lake, looks climbable and is reported to
have been done. The writer, hurrying to the Reeks, always grudged time
for the attempt.

_Blasquets Islands_ lie off the extreme west of Kerry. They consist
generally of grits and slates.

Mr. Barrington (_Report on the Flora, &c._) describes the Great Blasquet
as a ridge about 700 ft. high for most of its length, but for about a
mile it exceeds 900 ft. The ridge is almost perpendicular in many
places. 'The cliffs and precipices are very grand, notably the
north-western face of the Great Blasquet and the north-eastern portion
of Inishnabro, which latter resembles, when viewed from the sea, a
cathedral 500 ft. high, the towers, spires, and even doors and windows
being represented. Inishtooskert has an isolated pinnacle of rock, with
a great chasm in the cliff near it, scarcely less striking. The Tearaght
is like a black tooth projecting from the ocean, its sides being rocky,
desolate, and very barren.' The present writer was prevented from
reaching these islands by stormy weather.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Co. Cork.=--_Sugarloaf Mountain_ (2,440 ft.)--An isolated, bare,
conical peak, at the head of the Black Valley (Cummeenduff), the
southern boundary of the Reeks. Sunshine after rain makes it glitter
like a snowy peak. The rock is steep and glaciated. On the steepest face
an interesting ascent may be made--easy, but requiring extreme care.

South of the Kenmare River the hills are of less interest, though the
beautiful Glengariff lies amongst them.

_Hungry Hill_ (2,251 ft.) presents one precipitous face to the west,
where a piece of interesting gully work occurs. The writer has reason to
remember it, owing to the imprisonment of a bull-terrier, the property
of a companion, in the middle of the climb. After completing the ascent
the deafening howls of the prisoner made it necessary to work round to
the base of the gully and help the beloved creature down. An almost
identical incident occurred in a worse situation in the Poisoned Glen of
Donegal. A bit of rope should be attached to the neck of any dog that
follows a rock-climber.

_Gougaun Barra_ ('St. Fin Bar's Rock-Cleft') is a gorge on the road west
from Macroom to Bantry. The cliffs around rise from a desolate valley to
meet the slopes of the mountains, 1,700-1,800 ft. high.

On the road Keimaneigh ('the Pass of the Deer') is traversed, a gorge
through the Sheha hills some 2 miles in length. It is a scene of wild
beauty, and was the head-quarters of the band under 'Captain' Rock. This
defile can be visited from Inchigeelagh, a few miles eastwards, where
there is good fishing and accommodation.

On Gougaun Barra, Otway (_Scenes and Sketches in Ireland_) and Smith
(_History of Cork)_ have a good deal to say.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Tipperary.=--_The Galtee Mountains_ extend about 15 miles from Caher at
the eastern to Massy Lodge at the western extremity. The ridge slopes
gently to the south, but abruptly to the vale of Aherlow on the north.

The formation is Silurian, with overlying beds of old red sandstone
conglomerate forming the summit of Galtymore (3,018 ft.) The Silurian
beds form considerable precipices upon the north, almost enclosing
numerous tarns, from which interesting ascents may be made.

The best head-quarters for the mountains is Tipperary, about 6 miles
north of the base of the range below its highest point. No doubt,
however, accommodation could be arranged for at some of the farmhouses
in the vale of Aherlow. The entire range from Caher to Mitchelstown
forms a splendid walk. Lough Curra and Lough Muskry are the most
interesting points to make for, and lie amongst the finest cliffs. Lough
Diheen is the most remote and barren.

At Lough Curra the cliffs descend 1,000 ft. sheer into the water. These
cliffs afford attractive but dangerous climbing. They reach to within a
couple of hundred feet of the highest point, known as Dawson's Table, or
Galtymore.

Still grander, however, are the cliffs above Lough Muskry. These tower
to a height of about 1,200 ft. in great terraces and vegetated walls
above the north and north-east ends of the lake. Numerous clefts,
ravines, and ledges exist.

Should the climber get pounded here (as not seldom happens) let him
beware of undue haste. A mouthful of food has a wonderful effect in
steadying the nerves. The holds here are often sods of dubious security,
and the Muskry precipices, though they _can_ be traversed in all
directions, are the severest amongst the Galtees.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Co. Waterford.= _Commeragh Mountains._--The Commeragh Mountains may be
explored from Kilmacthomas on the south, Clonmell on the west, or Caher
on the north. They form an elevated plateau, bounded on all sides by
steep and frequently inaccessible precipices, which enclose cooms and
tarns. The highest point is 2,597 ft., and the rock is for the most part
sandstone or conglomerate of the old red sandstone period. Slates and
shales occur on the northern side.

The cliffs can be climbed in many places. As on the Galtees, a few
miles west, dense masses of a species of woodrush often render the
holding treacherous. Smith (_History of Waterford_, 1774) says, 'On the
sides of this chain there are many horrid precipices, and steep
declivities, with large naked rocks. In the valleys considerable chips,
or parings, lie in prodigious heaps.'

The most imposing precipices are those enclosing in a magnificent sweep
the Stilloge Lakes, on the south side of the group; and those above
Coonshingaun Lough and Crotty's Lough at the eastern end.

This east lake takes its name from one Crotty, an outlaw, who made his
home in a cave here during the last century. Legends of this worthy
abound in the district.

The cliffs are often wholly inaccessible without a rope, but a great
deal of excellent climbing can be effected with no artificial aids. In
search of rare plants the writer has made several distinct ascents above
the Stilloges, and also at Coonshingaun, quite apart from the easier
gully tracks, by which the ordinary visitor gains the top. The mountains
are singularly picturesque. The verdure-clad cliffs, overhanging the
deep, rock-bound, lonely tarns, have an effect that is at once rare and
beautiful.



INDEX


Aber, 1

Aberglaslyn, 95

Abergynolwyn, 10

Accidents, 1, 2, 9, 21, 25, 54, 56, 58, 67, 70, 72, 73, 82, 86, 88, 89,
  90, 91, 108, 126, 139, 176

Achill, 158

Anglesey, 15

Antrim, 131

Aranmore Island, 143

Arans (The), 99

Arenig Fawr, 98

Asko Keeran, 162


Bala, 2

Barmouth, 3

Barnesmore Gap, 153

Beddgelert, 3

Beddgelert (Snowdon from), 4

Beenkeragh, 186

Ben Bulben, 155

Benchoona, 165

Benglog, 5

Berwyn Mountains, 94

Bethesda, 6

Bird Rock, 108

Black Ladders, 19

Black Mountains, 13, 126

Blaenau Ffestiniog, 9

Blasquets, 189

Blue Stack, 152

Braichddu, 18, 19

Brandon, 179

Brecon Beacons, 13

Bronyfedw, 14

Bryansford, 169

Bull's Mountain, 187

Bunglas, 145

Burton Port, 143

Bwlch Cwm y Llan, 87

Bwlch Goch, 61

Bwlch y Saethau, 76


Caddy of Cwm Glas, 60

Cader Fronwen, 94

Cader Idris, 106

Cambrian Railway, 7, 95

Capel Curig, 6

Carnarvonshire, 16

Carndonagh, 135

Carnedd Dafydd, 17

Carnedd Llewelyn, 23

Carnedd Ugain, 67

Carnedd y Filiast, 25

'Carrabuncle' (The), 181

Carran Tuohill, 185

Carrick Hotel, 145

Carrig-a-Rede, 133

Castell Cidwm, 93

Castell Gwynt, 34

Castles (The), 171

Cefnysgolion Duon, 19

Clare Co., 167

Clew Bay, 160

Cloghane, 179

Clogwyn Aderyn, 69

Clogwyn Penllechen, 69

Clogwyn y Garnedd, 72

Clogwyn y Person, 58

Clogwyndur Arddu, 89

Closs (Death of), 91

Cnicht, 96

Commeragh Mountains, 192

Cork Co., 190

Corris, 10

Cox (Mr.), 88

Craig Ddrwg, 98

Craig Eryri, 54

Craig y Bera, 94

Craig yr Ysfa, 21

Craiglyn Dyfi, 103

Crazy Pinnacle, 64

Crib Goch, 60

Crib y Ddysgl, 66

Croagh Patrick, 160

Croghaun, 158

Cumloughra, 185

Cwm Creigiog, 88

Cwm Dyli, 68

Cwm Glas, 56

Cwm y Llan, 87

Cyfrwy, 113

Cynfael Falls, 9

Cynicht, 96


Dawson's Table, 192

Denbighshire, 94

Devil's Kitchen, 28

Devil's Looking Glass, 186

Devil's Punch Bowl, 189

Dinas Bran, 94

Dinas Mawddwy, 7

Dingle, 179

Dismore (Mr.), 58

Dolgelly, 7

Donegal, 134

Down Co., 169

Dublin Co., 171

Dunaff Head, 136

Dunfanaghy, 139

Dungloe, 144

Dunloe (Gap of), 182


Eagle's Cliff, 189

Eagle's Nest, 147

Eglwyseg, 94

Elicydu, 25

Elider, 25

Empson (Mr.), 2

Errigal, 140

Esgair Felen, 42

Evans (Mr. Alf.), 82


Fair Head, 131

Fanet, 137

Ffestiniog, 9

Foelgoch, 26

Frodsham (Mr. G. H.), 90


Gallt y Wenallt, 76

Galtee Mountains, 191

Galway, 164

Gap of Doonmore, 138

Gap of Dunloe, 182

Garnedd Goch, 92

Giant's Causeway, 134

Glaslyn, 69

Glen Car, 183

Glen Gesh, 154

Glen Head, 145

Glenariff, 133

Glenbeagh, 142

Glengad Head, 135

Glengariff, 190

Glyder Fach, 31

Glyder Fawr, 36

Golf, 156

Gougaun Barra, 191

Grey Man's Path, 131

Guides, 183

Gweedore, 141


Hag's Glen, 183, 187

Haseler (Mr. Maxwell), 73

Hill names, 161

Homer (Mr. Philip), 54

Horn Head, 138

Howth, 174

Hugh Lloyd's Pulpit, 9

Hungry Hill, 190


Inishowen, 135

Ireland's Eye, 174


Jackson (Rev. James), 12


Keimaneigh, 191

Kendal (Mr. E. G.), 70

Kerry Co., 179

Killarney, 183

Killary, 165

Kingsley (Charles), 12

King's Mountain, 155

Kinlough, 156


Lambay, 171

Leenane Inn, 158, 163

Lisdoonvarna, 167

Livesley (Mr.), 56

Llaithnant, 105

Llanberis, 9

Llangynog, 95

Llechog, 91

Lliwedd, 74

Llyndulyn, 24

Lough Eske, 152

Lough Muskry, 192

Lough Salt, 142

Lough Swilly, 186

Lugnaquilia, 176


Maamtrasna, 162

Maamturk, 164

Macgillicuddy's Reeks, 182

Machynlleth, 10

MacSwyne's Gun, 143

Maentwrog Road, 15

Malin Head, 135

Mangerton, 189

Marble Arch, 143

Marzials (Miss), 9

Maum Glen, 144

Mayo Co., 156

Melynllyn, 24

Merionethshire, 95

Mitchell (Mr. J.), 86

Moel Eilio, 91

Moel Hebog, 92

Moel Siabod, 52

Moel Sych, 94

Moel Wyn, 96

Moher Cliffs, 167

Montgomeryshire, 94

Mount Aitchin, 188

Mourne Mountains, 169

Muckanaght, 166

Muckish, 140

Mweelrea, 160

Mynydd Mawr, 93


Nantlle, 10

Nephin, 156

Newcastle, 169


Ogwen Cottage, 5

One Man's Pass, 149

Orme's Head, 94

Owen (Harry), 11


Paget (Mr.), 2

Pantylluchfa, 69

Parson's Nose, 58

Payne (Mr.), 1

Pen Helig, 25

Penmaenmawr, 16

Penygroes, 11

Penygwrhyd, 11

Penyroleuwen, 18

'Phouca' (The), 140

Pleaskin Head, 134

Poisoned Glen, 141

Portsalon, 137

Powerscourt, 175

Prisons of Lugnaquilia, 176

Purple Mountain, 189


Rhayader, 13

Rhinog Fawr, 97

Rosapenna, 138

Rostrevor, 169


St. Kevin's Bed, 177

Slanting Gully, 85

Slieve Donard, 171

Slieve Glas, 182

Slieve League, 145

Smith (Death of), 108

Snowdon, 54

Snowdon Ranger, 13

Southey benighted, 54

Spellick, 171

Stacks, 15

Starr (Rev. H. W.), 89

Stilloge Lakes, 193

Sturrell, 144


Tanybwlch, 14

Tonelagee, 176

Tormore, 139, 144

Tory Island, 139

Trigfylchau, 36, 44

Tryfaen, 44

Twelve Bens or Pins, 166

Twll Du, 28


Waterford Co., 192

Wicklow Co., 175

Williams (W.), 72

Wills (Mr.), 2

Wilton (Mr. F. R.), 67


Y Garn, 28

Y Wyddfa, 54

Yr Elen, 25


  PRINTED BY
  SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE
  LONDON


    Transcriber's note:

    _Underscores_ have been used to indicate _italic_ fonts.
    =Equals signs= have been used to indicate =bold= fonts.
    The alternate spellings Carnarvonshire and Caernarvonshire both appear
    in the original. I have left them as written (both are accepted
    spellings).
    Inconsistent hyphenation and dashes (e.g. number-ft vs. number ft) are left as written.





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