This mountain is one of 14 or 15, depending on how you count, mountains in Wales over 3000 ft in height. This particular peak is the southernmost in the Carneddau range which is begins roughly north of the A5, though it is connected with the Glyderau via cwm. The SE face of the mountain rises steeply above Llyn Ogwen, though the W face showcases a truly precipitous drop of over 700m. The peak has a prominence of 47m or 154ft from Carnedd Dafydd.
Pen yr Ole Wen has traditionally been translated at "Head of the White Light," though no one really knew where the "light" came from. In March of 2004, famed hill-walker and guidebook author John Nuttall gave a lecture at University College Chester regarding the mysterious translation of this mountain's name. The "Wen" is a mutation of "Gwen," meaning white, and is the feminine adjective, so "Ole" can't come from "Golau," or light, as it is a masculin noun. The "Ole" in fact comes from "Goleddf," or slope, meaning that the correct translation of Pen Yr Ole Wen is "Head of the White Slope."
Pen Yr Ole Wen is easilly accessible via the A5 auto road in northern Snowdonia. There are parking fees at most of the trailsheads, so come prepared to spend at least 2£ depending on how long you intend to hike.
... no red tape to speak of. This part of Wales is happily open to hill-walkers and climbers, though, you should be aware that much of the land is privately-owned. As always, please respect the rights of the property owners by staying on the marked trails; it is poor form to go walking though someone's sheep pasture.
- Wikipedia Carneddau Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnedd
- High Trek Snowdonia Guide Service: http://www.hightrek.co.uk/snowdonia/walking.htm