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Seven Arans

Seven Arans

Postby poppiesrara » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:54 am

Hewitts included on this walk: Aran Benllyn, Aran Fawddwy, Erw y Ddafad-ddu, Foel Hafod-fynydd, Glasgwm, Gwaun y Llwyni, Pen yr Allt Uchaf

Date walked: 04/06/2011

Time taken: 6

Distance: 23.25 km

Ascent: 1610m

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A long and tough route through lovely quiet mountains, with a spectacular centrepiece in the main Aran ridge:

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For an area a little off the beaten track, the starting point in Cwm Cywarch caters really well for walkers – a well-appointed car-park, clearly marked paths in all directions and plenty of tempting routes to catch the eye. Beneath the dramatic green crags above, a zigzagging but still very steep (the direct vertical right of way shown on the OS looks impossible on the ground!) track sets off up the plateau south of Glasgwm. This is really gruelling stuff at the start of the day, but once on top it’s easy enough walking over short grass to the summit, with good views to the Dyfi hills and the Cadair range to the left and pretty little clear pools either side of, and very close to, the peak.
2 Craig Cywarch.jpg
Craig Cywarch

3 Y Gribin & Glasgwm ascent path.jpg
Y Gribin & Glasgwm ascent path

5 Hengwm between Gwaun y Llwyni & Pen yr Allt Uchaf.jpg
Hengwm between Gwaun y Llwyni & Pen yr Allt Uchaf

10 Aran Fawddwy behind Gwaun y Llwyni & Craig Cywarch.jpg
Aran Fawddwy behind Gwaun y Llwyni & Craig Cywarch

15 Llyn y Fign & Glasgwm.jpg
Llyn y Fign & Glasgwm

20 Cadair Idris range from Glasgwm.jpg
Cadair Idris range from Glasgwm

23 Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt from Glasgwm.jpg
Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt from Glasgwm

After an interesting steep and rocky descent, it’s a bit of a marshy flat drag for the mile or so north and then up to Gwaun y Llwyni, but there are plank-paths over most of the trickier parts (these get a slating in some places, but seemed broad and safe this day, and certainly better than sloshing through the bog around them) and you can get there with pretty dry feet. After a slightly uninspiring spell, the views really open up from this sharp grassy wedge of a hill, steeply down to the valley below and up the higher peaks further on. And, once back on the main path, it’s a lovely climb through good ground and rock crops to the 905m top of Aran Fawddwy. Hazy sun obscured the more distant views, but even so you could see all of southern Snowdonia from here, including virtually the full twisting route of this walk.
32 Aran Fawddwy & Drysgol from Waun Camddwr.jpg
Aran Fawddwy & Drysgol from Waun Camddwr

38 Aran Fawddwy from Gwaun y Llwyni.jpg
Aran Fawddwy from Gwaun y Llwyni

40 Gwaun y Llwyni.jpg
Gwaun y Llwyni

45 Creiglyn Dyfi & Foel Hafod-fynydd from Aran Fawddwy.jpg
Creiglyn Dyfi & Foel Hafod-fynydd from Aran Fawddwy

48 Arenigs from Aran Fawddwy.jpg
Arenigs from Aran Fawddwy

The main ridge to Aran Benllyn and beyond is a wonderful walk, gentle gradients over firm grass interspersed with easy but impressive rocky summits – the northernmost peak, topped with striking white rocks and right by the edge of a dizzying drop, especially catches the eye. Spectacular views throughout, especially down over the steep crags to the east, and – as so often on beautiful days in these Welsh hills – amazing to see almost no-one else anywhere in sight.
49 Aran ridge.jpg
Aran ridge

55 Aran Benllyn from Erw y Ddafad-ddu.jpg
Aran Benllyn from Erw y Ddafad-ddu

59 Llyn Tegid from Aran Benllyn.jpg
Llyn Tegid from Aran Benllyn

The main route off the ridge seems to be over Drysgol, but there’s also a, narrow and unmapped but very clear, good path heading down the eastern spur of Erw y Ddafad-ddu to the lakeside below the crags, and then easily straight on up to the top of Foel Hafod-fynydd – with terrific views back to the main ridge from this pleasant little green hill.
65 Aran Benllyn.jpg
Aran Benllyn

66 Aran Fawddwy over Creiglyn Dyfi.jpg
Aran Fawddwy over Creiglyn Dyfi

71 Back up descent path from Erw y Ddafad-ddu.jpg
Back up descent path from Erw y Ddafad-ddu

77 Erw y Ddafad-ddu & Aran Benllyn from Foel Hafod-fynydd.jpg
Erw y Ddafad-ddu & Aran Benllyn from Foel Hafod-fynydd

Unfortunately it’s not so easy to find a good route to the car-park from there (especially if planning to take in Pen yr Allt Uchaf too to complete the main Arans in one walk). The direct route down and up through the Llaethnant valley was just possible, but – in contrast to what had gone before – not all that pleasant: a damp and reedy descent and then, with tiring legs, a really steep drag up 200m or so over the grass on the far side of the river. Worse followed, with an area of dauntingly deep and wide peat-hags (reminding you of how close you are to the infamously boggy eastern Arans) to negotiate on Waun Goch before reaching Pen yr Allt Uchaf, the seventh Hewitt of the day. There’s something good to say about most hills, but this is a really nondescript little rise on the ridge and – given the difficulty of the approach (it would be far, far worse after any rain) – very probably a once-and-once-only visit....
82 Foel Hafod-fynydd.jpg
Foel Hafod-fynydd

84 Aran ridge from Gwaun Lydan.jpg
Aran ridge from Gwaun Lydan

88 Dyfi valley from Pen yr Allt Uchaf summit.jpg
Dyfi valley from Pen yr Allt Uchaf summit

Back to the good stuff after that though – the path gently dropping down the side of the beautiful Hengwm valley is another real pleasure at the end of the day. Perhaps this route might be improved by dropping straight down to this path from Aran Fawddwy after doing the full ridge in both directions? but still overall a wonderful experience on great mountains.
92 Descent path through Hengwm towards Glasgwm.jpg
Descent path through Hengwm towards Glasgwm

98 Creigiau Camddwr at head of Cwm Cywarch.jpg
Creigiau Camddwr at head of Cwm Cywarch
Last edited by poppiesrara on Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Seven Arans

Postby colgregg » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:46 am

Great report and excellent pics. While I'm fortunate to have the lake district just over an hour away i do wish Snowdonia was more accessable for regular visits. Its a long trek for day trips.
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Re: Seven Arans

Postby Crawler » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:21 pm

Blimey those first peaks are steep and sharp aren't they? That looks a nice walk I've only done the 2 main Aran before - Benllyn & Mawddwy. Great photos
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