A few Welsh words for hillwalkers

By Terry Fletcher
4 minute read

A few Welsh words for hillwalkers from author Terry Fletcher. It's always good manners to learn a few new words when you visit a different country and your reception is usually friendlier if you make the effort, even if you don't need to.

A few Welsh words for hillwalkers from author Terry Fletcher. It's always good manners to learn a few new words when you visit a different country and your reception is usually friendlier if you make the effort, even if you don't need to.

Contrary to what some paranoid visitors may have you believe, Welsh is not spoken just to exclude the English. It is the everyday language of many in Snowdonia. You will hear it being used widely in pubs, shops and in the street, spoken by everyone from schoolchildren to pensioners. Fortunately people also speak English so there is no problem in being understood. Important signs are usually bi-lingual. However, knowing a few words of Welsh does come in useful from time to time, not least in relating the landscape to the map and in knowing what you can and can’t do.

Some notes on pronunciation...

We've included a pronunciation guide because, well, because. In particular there are two sounds not in English and quite hard for English speakers:

ch (represented in the pronunciation guide as ‘gh’) = like Scottish ‘loch’, produced in the throat

ll (represented in the pronunciation guide as ‘ll’ = put the tongue behind the teeth to say ‘l’ then blow air out the side of the mouth

‘r’ should be rolled (more like the Scots than the French!)

Welsh words for hillwalkers, mountain walking in snowdonia 767_SP5

Welsh words for hillwalkers

Helo(hu-lo) hello

Hwyl fawr (hoyl vowr) goodbye

os gwelwch yn dda (os gwel-ugh en tha) please

Diolch (dee-olgh) thank you

y/yr (uh/er) the

Amdani! (am-dan-ee) Let’s go!

Rydw i ar goll (re-dwee ar goll) I'm lost

Ble mae'r tafarn? (blay mire tav-arn) where's the pub?

Rwy'n mwynhau'r tywydd Cymraeg 'ma (ruin mwin-higher tee-weth kem-reyg ma) I'm enjoying this Welsh weather

Diwrnod ogoneddus (jure-nod og-on-eth-is) Glorious day

Yn bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn (en bu-roo hen rag-eth a fin) It's raining cats and dogs (lit. old women and walking sticks)

Dw i angen hoe bach (dwee ang-en hoe bagh)  I need a little rest

Yden ni'n agos at y top 'to? (dan neen a-gos at uh top toe) Are we nearly at the top?

Poser mawr wyt ti! (Pose-er mowr'ut-ee) What a poser!

Mae'r llyfr Cicerone yma yn anhygoel! (mire llev-er Cicerone man an-hig-oil) This Cicerone guidebook is awesome!

Some Geographical Welsh words

Welsh words for hillwalkers, mountain walking in snowdonia 767_SP6

We bet she's thinking "Poser mawr wyt ti!"

bach/fach (bagh/vagh) small,  fawr/mawr  (vowr/mowr) big

carn/carnedd (karn/karn-eth) cairn, maen (mine) stone

coed (koid) wood

dim (dim) no (as in no parking/ camping etc)

crib/drum/gribbin  (kreeb/drim/greeb-in) ridge

dyffryn/glyn (duff-rin/glin) valley, cwm (koom) hanging valley/ corrie, bwlch (bulgh) pass/col

ffordd (forth) road, llwybr (llweeb-er) path, bont/pont (bont/pont) bridge

mynydd (mu-neeth)mountain, foel (voil) rounded/bare hill,  moel (moil) rounded hill, bryn (brin) hill, allt (allt) hillside/cliff

goch red (gogh),  glas (glas) blue/green, ddu/du (thee/dee) black, coch (kogh) red, wen/wyn (wen/win) white

llyn (llin) lake,  rhaeadr (ray-der) waterfall,  ffynnon (fin-on) well/spring, nant (nant) stream, afon (a-von) river, aber (a-ber) river mouth/estuary/confluence

ogof (o-gov) cave

rhiw (roo) slope, rhos (ros) moor, gors (gors) bog

More Information

Terry Fletcher has more Welsh words for you in his guide to Mountain Walking in Snowdonia. However, we also have several Welsh speakers at Cicerone so let us know if we missed something out!

Cicerone has many other great walking books for Wales and the Welsh borders, including the Wales Coast PathPembrokeshire Coast path and Walking on the Gower.

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