Mythological History

Snowdon – never Mount Snowdon.

One of the first things any Welsh native will tell you about Wales’ tallest peak is that it should never be referred to as a ‘Mount Snowdon’.

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If you’re feeling particularly brave with your Welsh, you can attempt to refer to it in the language of it’s people…

Yr Wyddfa – Tomb of Rhita Gawr

Snowdon held great mythological significance for the Ancient Welsh people.

It’s name is said to be The Welsh word for ‘tomb’ – signifying the final resting place for Rhita Gawr, the ancient ruler of Wales.

Some accounts, fabricated by the English no doubt, portray Rhita as a giant or a troll. However, many more depict him as a fair and just King of Wales, in the times of knights, swords, quests and monsters.

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The Legend goes that Rhita Gawr interfered in an ongoing war between two embittered English rivals. The issue had arisen through a small matter of livestock. Kings Peibiaw and Nynniaw had disagreed on where each other’s land started and finished – with stray sheep causing the chief of the issues.

Disgruntled by the childish arguments, Rhita Gawr stepped in solve the matter by killing both Kings and decimating their armies.

Angered that this Welsh upstart had deposed not one, but two Kings, the remaining 28 Kings of the Island of Britain brought war upon Rhita Gawr and Wales.

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One after another, each King and their army was bested. With each victory, Rhita Gawr struck the killing blow and relieved each King of their beard. By the time the last King was defeated, Rhita has formed a cloak from these beards that was said to reach from his grand shoulders all the way to the floor.

Rhita’s victory over the Kings of Britain started a reign of pace and prosperity that stretched over the entire country, and the rest of the world.

This reign was ended, if the myths are to be believed, by none other than King Arthur. Hearing of the last remaining King in Britain, rising to power, Rhita eagerly rode into battle to claim one last beard for his hairy cloak – but it was not to be.

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After being slain on the battlefield, his body (and we presume his cloak of beards) was buried under a cairn of stones at the Summit of Snowdon.