Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa; what’s in a name?

By Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

28th August, 2022

Snowdon from northwest
Snowdon from Moel Siabod

I gather John Pughe Roberts, a county councillor, called for the Snowdonia National Park Authority to refer to the mountain only by its Welsh name and also to drop “Snowdonia” in favour of the Welsh Eryri. This was back in 2021 according to this article.

Well, I am English with some Welsh roots and I love Wales or Cymru as it is known in Welsh. I have visited Wales on holiday for many years and love the mountains.

But I am not convinced that trying to refer only to Snowdon by its Welsh name only will be necessary. It should not be lost from maps, but its English name is still going to be used by many. As long as we don’t lose the history, I don’t think the Welsh should be too concerned.

In any event, I am aware even the Welsh are not too sure about its meaning anyway. I made the following comment on this website with which I am unaffiliated. I don’t know the site author’s name but having walked the horseshoe myself it is well worth reading the whole article.

“As regards the name Yr Wyddfa, they never seem to be very sure about it. There is a lot of romance in the mountains, the Welsh are very poetic and in fact the mountains can tell a story which no doubt kept people entertained when the TV and radio were not invented.

I consider that Yr Wyddfa is the wide father, rather as in the phonetics of the words. It is after all wide and it is the father of the mountains, the highest of Snowdonia.

As regards not calling it Snowdon, well it does see the snow in winter and it is the don, or lord of the mountains. Thus it is the snow lord in winter. You can even say it gets snowed on or snow’d on!”

I think that is very reasonable.

Interestingly an anagram of wyddfa is ‘dad fwy’. Fwy can stand for freeway which is a wide road. The Llanberis route up to the top of Snowdon is rather like a freeway nowadays as so many use it. As it is on the whole an easy walk, weather permitting, I consider this reinforces my point.

So in my books it is dad’s freeway, the free way to the father of the mountains in Snowdonia (or Eryri if you prefer).

As regards Eryri the Guardian article says this.

Eryri (pronounced Eh-ruh-ree) had long been thought to refer to the Welsh name for eagle – eryr – but is now believed to originate from the Latin oriri, meaning to rise.

The thing is the word is very close to eyrie meaning among other things the nest of an eagle or any high isolated position or place. The latter is due to the high place being aerie or even airy, plenty of air or wind for an eagle’s wings to gain lift.

Snowdonia is airy, a wonderful landscape of high, airy hills where you can have the cobwebs blown away as it were and where you can think away from the smoke and stir of the city.

All these words are good and should not be lost. But there is no need to be too legalistic about it. Just make sure people understand the meaning and poetry of the words. I hope the Welsh would be happy about that.

P.S. If you haven’t seen this link of mine and have an interest in Wales why not take a look.

W is for…..Wales

Author: alphaandomega21

Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector'sson. When not posting pages or paging posties, trying to be a good husband, and getting over a long term health issue, I am putting the world to rights. I have nothing better to do, so why not? But of course that includes dancing, being funny (in more than one sense), poking fun at life, poking fun at myself, deflating the pompous, reflating the sad. Seeking to heal the whole of the soul (and body where possible). In short making life as good as it possibly can be for others as well as myself. You can't say fairer than that. But if you can, please say. People need to know.

14 thoughts on “Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa; what’s in a name?”

    1. Good to hear from you. Snowdonia is perhaps more beautiful in the snow and having been on all the peaks over 3,000 feet when snow was lying, I think they are even more remote despite being so close to civilization as it were.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice hikes I bet and quite breathtaking! Photos from atop them make a fine collection giving one a grand perspective of that civilization below!

        First comment of the day here, and I’ll add, when I left the previous comment I had thought about climbing those mountains and the trip back down if with snow cover could be a ride if one brought a small sled or if not a tumble.

        And then during the night I got up to go to the john I sort of stumbled or something odd happened in the dark; somehow there I was only had been standing in there in the dark, then the next thing my face or more precisely my forehead was slammed and I was lying there on the floor stunned and breaking out in a heavy sweat; thought for sure as I was very dizzy and so stunned at that moment that I must have broken my face; but I got a big lump and a small gash on the forehead and still can’t see or imagine how that happened!

        So maybe I’ll avoid mountains for a while?!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry to hear about the fall, that is strange. One has to think about blood pressure if you get up suddenly after having been lying down.

        I once got up in a panic one morning when my wife was away, thinking I was late (I wasn’t in fact). I went down stairs and fainted in the hall, striking my head on a radiator valve cap. There was a lot of blood and i had to get the neighbour to take me to Accident and Emergency for stitches.

        So nowadays I try to sit up on the edge of the bed first which allows the heart to start pumping blood more quickly to the brain and hopefully avoid the risk of fainting.

        As regards coming down in snow, if the slope is known to be grassy underneath or the snow thick enough, a sled or even a plastic bag can be a great way to descend quickly.

        My wife and I came down from Skiddaw, a 3,000ft+ hill/mountain in the Lake District one New Year, part of the way using a large plastic emergency bag. It was quite exciting! We probably came down 500ft in altitude I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re right about not being too hasty after being in a prone position for a while. Dear Lord that was a nasty injury you had; thank God it worked out after some suffering obviously but it probably could have been even worse! Excellent tips you offer to avoid such mishaps! It was after I had gone into one room and switched on the AC then in the john it was dark and I hadn’t turned the bright light on which I often times don’t usually because a bit of moonlight is enough on that side of the house to see well in there, but, there wasn’t any moon light. Then all of a sudden like some disconnect happened or a force slammed me to the floor; still trying to figure out how above my eye on my forehead I have a small gash, but, if I had slammed face and forehead to the floor I don’t see how my nose didn’t break or at least bleed profusely, I’m baffled because it doesn’t make sense and I can’t see how this happened as it did!

        WOW, that’s the idea now, you and your wife with that emergency bag that’s exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about using, something under the tosh and having a fun ride down at least where there isn’t anything that jute’s out from the ground or any obstructions it should be a safe fast way to descend part of the slope! That ride you both took together down part of the slope was a New Year celebration for sure; a good way to “kick off” or shall we say “slide into the New Year!” I never heard of that before, so “touché!” “That’s very cool!”
        Blessings! Thanks for the thoughts on the fall I had!
        See you later!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you Baldmichael, and with you as well! I thank God they are and have saved me more than once for sure so I better keep trying harder to do His will so I serve the purpose He has in mind for me to carry out; and become the soul He wants me to be! The Master Potter knows each of our potentials and what is best for us!

        God bless!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. A good question. Would it make any difference? Perhaps they should make up a very long name like the one done for the place in Anglesey, Llanfairpwll etc.

      By the time somebody had said ‘let’s go up ….. the day would be half done and it would be too late to start!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, that is very kind of you. You will find some awful puns in what I write and and as I play with words, yet as they say there is method in my madness and the amazing truths that I have found have quite staggered me.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for the link to my description of the Snowdon Horseshoe hike, but I am confused as to whether you are claiming ownership of an article/website written by myself or have merely just placed the link in a confusing manner…
    I like not think ill of those i do not know but I would rather you clarify that you did not write the article posted under “I said the following on this website”.

    For those interested, please visit my website, unaffiliated with the above author through this link.


    1. My apologies for any confusion. I had assumed it would be obvious I hadn’t written the article. I would never claim I had written something that I hadn’t! Anyway, I have amended to read thus as below. Let me know if you are happy with this.

      “I made the following comment on this website with which I am unaffiliated. I don’t know the site author’s name but having walked the horseshoe myself it is well worth reading the whole article.”


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