Pen yr Ole Wen

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Pen yr Ole Wen
Pen yr Ole Wen from Devil's Kitchen (Twll Du) - - 40636.jpg
Pen yr Ole Wen from Devil's Kitchen
Range: Snowdonia
Summit: 3,209 feet SH655619
53°8’14"N, 4°-0’43"W

Pen yr Ole Wen is the seventh highest mountain in Caernarfonshire. It is the most southerly of the Carneddau range. Its name is Welsh, and comes from a name meaning "Head of the White Slope".

Pen yr Ole Wen lies to the north of Idwal Cottage youth hostel on the A5 road, from where it has a pyramidal appearance. It may be climbed from the hostel by a path that leads directly up the south-west "corner", climbing 2,214 feet in just over a mile (which is an average gradient of nearly 1 in 2). A slightly easier ascent involves starting from Tal-y-Llyn Ogwen, about a mile south-east from the hostel, following the stream until nearing the outflow from the mountain lake Ffynnon Lloer and then branching left to take the path up the ridge.

Pen yr Ole Wen is often climbed as part of a longer route on the Carneddau range. It is the same height as Cumberland's highest peak, Scafell Pike.

Name of the mountain

For many years the mountain's name was translated as "Head of the White Light", the interpretation of which was a mystery. However, in 2004 Professor Hywel Wyn Owen at the Place-Name Research Centre at Bangor University resolved the matter saying that Ole comes from Goleddf, which means slope or hillside,[1] making the correct English translation: "Head of the White Slope".


  1. Gives details of correct translation.

Outside links