During Summer, when the hills and mountains of Snowdonia are crawling with people, a short distance away are three beautiful, very quiet mountains known as Yr Eifl in Welsh, or The Rivals in English. I’ve been visiting this part of the world since I was three months old and clearly remember hiking up these with my family as a child, and more recently with my husband; we would often take in all three in one day, because of the addictive views from the top of each.
Tre’r Ceiri is the name of the incredibly well preserved Iron Age fort that sits atop the hill, which juts up from the sea to 450m, allowing for spectacular views across Cardigan Bay as far as Pembrokeshire on a clear day to the South, and up to Anglesey and Snowdon to the North. I’m not sure I’ve seen a more beautiful view anywhere in the world; it could easily rival (sorry!) Table Mountain spilling into the sea in South Africa. One hike that will forever remain ingrained in my mind, was during a particularly cold Easter weekend; Snowdonia was dusted in a blanket of snow and the sea was a sparkling blue far below.
We couldn’t wait to take the babies up there! We chose Tre’r Ceiri because we felt the hike was doable with the girls, and that there would be shelter at the top if we needed it. It was also out of the clouds, when the other two had been in and out of clouds all day.
We parked in the lay-by on the road just outside Llanaelhearn, on the B4417 road. The path starts up some steps through a gate then steeply up through some fields before coming out onto open heathland. I thought it was a thigh burning hike before having children; carrying a 9kg baby plus backpack I genuinely thought my lungs might burst!!
After walking uphill for 10 minutes one of the babies began to cry and seemed very unhappy. My husband suggested it may be blocked ears as he had just needed to pop his with the climb, so I stopped to feed both babies which seemed to do the trick and after that they were much happier, so we decided to press on, up the path through the heather with the girls pointing out bees and butterflies along the way.
We stopped a couple of times for a breather, and slowed down to pick our way carefully up the rocky scramble near the top, but before we knew it we were at the summit – the girls very first summit! And what a view we were all rewarded with!
We stayed a short time to take in the views, have some snacks and let the girls have a good stretch. Sitting there with our brand new little babies in an area which had human activity as far back as 200BC was an incredibly humbling and grounding experience. These little people which have so monumentally changed our lives seemed so very vulnerable and even more precious than ever in the big scheme of the world.