Wales’ highest mountain: Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
May 14, 2021, 11:33 AM UTC

Should the Welsh peak be known by its English or Welsh name first?

In Welsh folklore, King Arthur buried a giant, Rhitta Gawr, under a cairn (pile of stones) that over time formed the mountain many of us know as today Snowdon. However the mountain has another name in Welsh: Yr Wyddfa.

Last week, a Welsh councillor called upon Snowdonia National Park authorities to refer to Wales’ highest peak primarily by its traditional Welsh name instead of Snowdon – a prospect they are considering.

A YouGov survey of over 1,000 Welsh adults reveals that six in ten (60%) prefer the mountain to be known as Snowdon – which comes from old English for “Snow hill” or “Snow dune”. However, some 30% think it should be known firstly by its Welsh name Yr Wyddfa, which refers to a barrow or burial mound.

However, over half of Welsh speakers (59%) would rather see the 1,085m mountain primarily known as Yr Wyddfa. Some 37% of this group think Snowdon should continue to be used. Among those who do not speak or read Welsh opinion is firmly in favour of keeping Snowdon (69%) as the mountain’s primary name. 

Wales’ youngest adults are split over the prospect, with 43% in favour of the traditional Welsh name, and 44% preferring the use of Snowdon. However older adults prefer the use of Snowdon, including 66% of those aged 65 and over.

See full results here