HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Gap of Rohan

Type: Other Natural Formations

Region: Rohan

Other Names Gap of Calenardhon

Location: At the western edge of Rohan, between the southernmost part of the Misty Mountains, and the northernmost spur of the White Mountains.

Description: "And Boromir will tell you that that is a great open vale that lies between the Misty Mountains and the northmost foothills of Ered Nimrais, the White Mountains of his home."
FotR, Book II, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond


This geographic formation had great strategic significance:
"…Isengard was well placed, being the key to the Gap of Rohan. This was a weak point in the defences of the West, especially since the decay of Gondor. Through it hostile spies and emissaries could pass in secret, or eventually, as in the former Age, forces of war. "
Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch III, The Palantíri , Note 7


Although Tolkien writes in The Hobbit that there "were many paths that led up into those [Misty] mountains, and many passes over them," he goes on to say "But most of the paths were cheats and deceptions and led nowhere or to bad ends; and most of the passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers."
The Hobbit, Ch 4, Over Hill and Under Hill

He names only three traversable paths: The High Pass north of Imladris, infested by orcs by the late Third Age; The Redhorn Pass over Caradhras, dangerous in winter; and the Gap of Rohan, the easiest to cross in terms of geography. For this reason the Gap assumes immense importance.

'The Gap was watched by the fortresses of Aglarond (the Hornburg) and Angrenost (Isengard), and the Fords of Isen, the only easy entrance to Gondor [later Rohan], were ever guarded against any incursion from the "Wild Lands" [later Dunland].'

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Appendix

Contributors: Lyllyn 6.30.04; added quote: Elena Tiriel 8.15.04

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