White Water 2010

Penrhyn-gwyn, Helygog Falls, Llam yr Ewig, Pistyll Cablyd, Pistyll Blaen-y-cwm, Afon Erith Falls, Pistyll Gwyn - Nant y Pistyll-gwyn, Rhaeadr y Cwm, Afon Du-bach, Maesgwm, Afon Cwm Llan, Rhaeadr Cwm Dyli, Cwm Cneifion Falls, Devil's Kitchen, Devil's Appendix, Llyn yr Oror. And Cwm Pwll-y-Rhyd. Waterfalls and snow around Snowdonia. And Pontneddfechan.

Penrhyn-gwyn

This set of waterfalls is located on the stream that drains Llyn Gafr and the surrounding face of Cadair Idris. A small mining site, "Chwarel Penrhyn-gwyn", named after the nearby farm, is surrounded by the waterfalls. The waterfalls are popularly used by gorge walkers, who apply the same name to the waterfalls as well - it seems likely that the name (meaning "white promontory") always referred to the waterfalls anyway. We were accompanied for the walk by David, a local gorge walking leader.

Helygog Falls

Situated on the B4416 (near Dolgellau) is the tiny village of Brithdir. This is well known for the nearby Torrent Walk, but the lane leading from the village to Bryn Coed-Ifor gives access to a far more demanding waterfall. Just after the lane stops following a roman road, it passes over the Nant Helygog, which is where this short scrambling walk begins. There is limited parking space.

Llam yr Ewig

The last of David's waterfall sites. At the southern end of Coed-y-Brennin is the village of Llanfachreth. From there, a lane heads down towards Dolgellau. The first road to the right then leads down to the Mawddach valley. Early on, it crosses a bridge, with some parking areas just before the bridge. The bridge is called Pont Llam yr Ewig, meaning "the bridge of the deer's leap". The waterfalls lie directly under the bridge, so the leap (river crossing) would presumably have been over the head of the main waterfall. The name is therefore transposed to the waterfalls.

Pistyll Cablyd, Pistyll Blaen-y-cwm, Afon Erith Falls

Locating routes around this valley has been exceptionally hard, due to the intentional blocking and removal of footpaths by landowners. After a previous failed attempt to view Pistyll Cablyd, we finally managed to work out how to reach it without crossing private land. Note that its location is not correctly marked on most maps; the waterfall lies on the boundary of the open access land above the Tyn-y-cablyd farm, and can be viewed without needing to request special permission. To make things easier, I have prepared a route guide for the best access routes.

Pistyll Gwyn - Nant y Pistyll-gwyn, Rhaeadr y Cwm, Afon Du-bach

Just outside Llan Ffestiniog is the junction between the B4391 and the B4407. About 1 km along the B4407 from the junction, the road passes over the Nant y Pistyll-gwyn stream. Just upstream from there is a small waterfall. As the only proper waterfall on the stream, it would appear that the stream's name refers to this waterfall, which therefore is evidently called Pistyll Gwyn.

Maesgwm

Afon Cwm Llan, Rhaeadr Cwm Dyli

Glyderau in snow, Cwm Cneifion Falls, Devil's Kitchen, Devil's Appendix

Llyn yr Oror

This waterfall has no proper access route, and must be approached with extreme caution, by experienced walkers only. It lies downstream of Rhaeadr y Bedd near the Aled Isaf reservoir, but the gorge-top paths from there die out before reaching the waterfall. The forestry on the southeast bank has some tracks above the waterfall, and it is possible to scramble down the banks to view it from above. However, the cliffs on that side are quite dangerous, so to best view it, you need to locate footbridges upstream or downstream of the waterfall, cross to the far bank, and very carefully approach it from the northwest bank. There is no proper path from that side, and there is no access from the Clwydian Way.

Cwm Pwll-y-Rhyd

This South Wales waterfall is normally completely dry, with the Nedd Fechan river sinking into various caves. The river only reaches the waterfall in flood conditions. A couple of weeks after the trip to the earlier waterfalls, careful monitoring of river levels finally paid off. The visit was a little bit late in the day, roughly at sunset. The gloomy feel, however, is due to the black clouds, and not the time of day. Since the waterfall only appears after heavy rain, this is a sacrifice that must be made.

The Environment Agency offers river level monitoring which can be used to monitor major rivers. The Neath at Resolven station gives an idea of the river level in the upper Nedd Fechan - one of the major feeders of the Neath. My visit was made on a day when the river level had reached about 1.25 metres, a day after it had reached 1.5 metres. The maximum level considered to be in the river's typical range is about 1 metre, which is not normally enough for the waterfall to appear.