Carnedd Llewelyn

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Carnedd Llewelyn
Carnedd Llywelyn.JPG
Range: Snowdonia
Summit: 3,491 feet SH683644
53°9’37"N, 3°58’17"W

Carnedd Llewelyn, also spelled in the Welsh manner Carnedd Llywelyn, is a mountain massif in the Carneddau range of Snowdonia, in Caernarfonshire. It is the highest point of the Carneddau. The peak lies in the middle of the main north-east to south-west ridge of the Carneddau, between Carnedd Dafydd to the south-west and Foel Grach to the north. A short subsidiary ridge links it to Yr Elen to the north-west.

The mountain features in Welsh poetry and literature; the earliest known work is a poem by Rhys Goch Eryri, Carnedd Llywelyn, composed around 1400.


Carnedd Llywelyn means "Llywelyn's cairn". No one knows which Llewelyn this referred to but it is widely believed that Carnedd Llewelyn and the neighbouring Carnedd Dafydd are named respectively after Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last independent prince of Wales, and his brother Dafydd.[1] An alternative theory is that the twin peaks are named after Llywelyn the Great, an earlier prince of Gwynedd, and his son and successor, Dafydd ap Llywelyn.[2][3] Other sources cite a combination of the above, but frankly we will never know if the hills are named after these or any prince, or just after local farmers.

Two spellings of the name are used. Carnedd Llewelyn is the usual form used by the Ordnance Survey. Another spelling is Carnedd Llywelyn,[4] based on the usual Welsh-language spelling of the name Llewelyn.


Carnedd Llewelyn's position in the middle of the main north-east to south-west ridge of the Carneddau, between Carnedd Dafydd to the south-west and Foel Grach to the north, means that any route to this summit involves a long walk. It can be climbed from Gerlan, above Bethesda, taking the path following the River Llafar then continuing to the summit of Yr Elen before following the short ridge to Carnedd Llewelyn. Another path starts from Helyg on the A5, taking the track to the reservoir then following the slopes above Craig yr Ysfa to the summit. An alternative is to reach it by following the main ridge, either from Pen yr Ole Wen or from Foel-fras.

Though the summit, like that of many of the mountains in the southern Carneddau, is a flat, boulder-strewn plateau, the cliffs below the ridges are well-known rock climbs, notably Ysgolion Duon (meaning "black ladders") and Craig yr Ysfa. As it has a rather flat summit plateau, significant accumulations of snow can take place during the winter period. The mountain is one of the very few summits on Snowdonia that can handle so much snow for a long period of time, patches can persist on the mountain's cliffs well into the end of June, and even July although this is rare.

The highest lake in Wales, Llyn Llyffant lies to the lee of the summit of Carnedd Llywelyn.[5]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Carnedd Llewelyn)


  1. Edmund Vale (editor) (1958). Snowdonia National Park Guide. HMSO. 
  2. Nuttall, John & Anne (1999). The Mountains of England & Wales - Volume 1: Wales (2nd ed.). Milnthorpe: Cicerone. ISBN 1-85284-304-7. 
  3. R. F. Walker et al. (1972). Hubert de Burgh and Wales, 1218-1232. 466–494. 
  4. Snowdonia National Park Authority: Snowdonia's Mountains


  • Adams, Colin (2002). The Mountain Walker's Guide to Wales. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 0-86381-725-4. 
  • Rees, Ioan Bowen (1995). The Mountains of Wales: an anthology in verse and prose. University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1163. 
  • Tomos, Dewi (2005). Eryri. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 0-86381-994-X. 
  • Lowe, W. Bezant (1927). The heart of Northern Wales: Vol. II. 
  • Roberts, Geraint (1995). The Lakes of Eryri. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. ISBN 0-86381-338-0. 
  • Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments Wales (1956). Caernarvonshire, Volume 1: East.