Facing ‘The Rivals’ on the Llyn Peninsula

Facing ‘The Rivals’ on the Llyn Peninsula

Summary: An overlooked yet fascinating range of hills
Distance: 4 miles
Ascent: 360m
Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: easy with some short steep rocky sections
Map: OS Explorer 254 or 253

Essential Gear: Good pair of walking shoes (it is quite rocky in places), water/lunch, map. 

Free parking on Porth-y-Nant upper car park. Facilities down at Nant Gwrtheyrn during peak season. 

Yr Eifl, at 564m above sea level, is the highest of The Rivals; a range of small hills on the Llyn Peninsula. The Rivals consist of three peaks: the inaccessible heavily quarried northern peak of Garnfor (Mynydd Gwaith), the highest peak of Yr Eifl (Garn Ganol) and Mynydd y Ceiri, topped by a stunning Iron Age hill fort.

This walk takes you to the summit of Yr Eifl for stunning seascapes over the Irish Sea on three sides, and a view to the mountains of Snowdonia on the other.

first climb

View towards Yr Eifl

Starting from the car park the path meanders uphill making its way towards Tre’r Ceiri and one of the best preserved and most stunning Iron Age hill forts in Britain.

I have been to quite a few hill forts so far and usually they are best visible from further away and when you finally climb up, it’s just an earthen ramp or ring and nothing much else. Well, this one is different.

The settlement is surrounded by stone walls which are largely intact and reach up to 4 metres in some places and you enter through passages in the ramparts. Inside there are the remains of 150 round stone huts. You can clearly see the stone walls that make up the round shapes. They would have had turf roofs back then.

Looking back you can make out the two stone walls surrounding the hill fort

Yr Eifl on the left and the heavily quarried Garnfor on the right

Leaving the fort through one of the passages the path leads you down and then up the rocky face of Yr Eifl. At the summit there is a pretty stone-built OS trig point pillar and a large circular stone shelter which comes in handy on a windy day.

On a clear day the views from the summit are just awesome. You can make out the entire outline of the Llyn Peninsula. There is sea on three sides: to the south – Cardigan Bay; to the north – Caernarfon Bay, and to the west the Irish Sea. The view to the east is the  mountains of Snowdonia.

This is by far one of my favourite views in north Wales!

Looks much better in real life – view across the Llyn Peninsula 

Heading down the other side of Yr Eifl you will see that the third peak is fenced off because of the quarry. Once the wider track is reached it’s only a flat and easy way back to the car park.

If you have time you could also pay Nant Gwrtheyrn a visit, either walking or driving down a sometimes very steep road. Nant Gwrtheyrn (Vortigern’s Creek) is named after the valley where it is located and lies isolated by the sea at the foot of Yr Eifl. It was formerly known as Porth y Nant, a quarrying village that was abandoned after the cessation of quarrying. It now houses a Welsh Language and Heritage Centre. During peak season there is a cafe serving homemade food and cakes. 

Nant Gwrtheyrn. Watch out for the tragic love story of Rhys and Meinir.

Ellen

The German half of Outdoor Kultur. When I'm not working as a graphic designer and illustrator to pay my bills, I can be found outside, rambling in the countryside, going for a run or enjoying my new found love for mountain biking.

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