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Yr Aran Round

Yr Aran Round


Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:25 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa, Y Lliwedd, Yr Aran

Date walked: 12/12/2018

Time taken: 6.5

Distance: 14.5 km

Ascent: 1665m

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Whilst walking the Moel Eilio / Moel Cynghorion ridge in October 2017 I'd noted an attractive looking conical hill to the East, which the map identified as Yr Aran...
Image
...and I made a mental note to walk it in the not-too-distant future, ideally combining it with a meander along the 2 Clogwyn Du's (Clogwyn Du'r Arddu, which runs up East from Moel Cynghorion; and Clogwyn Du proper, which runs North-South between Allt Meanderyn and Yr Wyddfa). The former looked spectacular viewed from Moel Cynghorion; the latter I've never seen - for although I've walked the Snowdon Horseshoe dozens of times, it's always been in clag!!).

After discovering I have developed AF, November and early December were rather tied up with medical stuff, so I was now, as usual, going stir crazy. But fortunately Dr Frank and I managed to find a date that worked for both of us, and we'd more or less agreed in advance to do a loop around Yr Wyddfa that included Yr Aran. The forecast was fine with cloud starting around 700m, so with a bit of luck we might summit Yr Aran when it was clear.

Travelling to Snowdonia from different directions, we agreed to meet up at Pen-y-pass, and then drive down to the car park at Clogwyn Melyn/Plas Gwynant, where we would start. The plan was for a short route that started with Yr Aran, and encompassed Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon summit) and Y Lliwedd, the latter giving the best views of Clogwyn Du, we hoped.


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The late planned start due to winter daylight hours meant that I misjudged what the traffic would be like, and I arrived rather late; but after the usual extended faffing about, we did eventually get moving around 09.30.

The initial part of our route followed the Watkin Path - which, living to the East of Snowdonia, I'd never walked - up Cwm Llan. A most attractive route.
Image 094452 (2). Unnamed waterfalls on the Afon Cwm Llan.

Looking back East, we started to get this superb view of the wonderfully lumpy and bumpy ridge that runs from Bwlch y Rhediad up to Moel Meirch, and made another mental note that this was definitely another one that deserved a walk.
Image 094922 (3).

As we approached the point at which we had to bear off left from the Watkin Path, we got our first view of Yr Aran - clear of cloud - just!
Image 101946 (2).

After 5 minutes or so on the new path, we left it, bearing further South towards the low point in the ridge that leads up to Yr Aran. It's rough, but fairly straightforward going. Unfortunately AF leaves one horribly short of breath, so I was depressingly slow :( .
Image 104644 (2) En route to Yr Aran (left). Clogwyn Du (right) shrouded in cloud from about 750m, as forecast.

As we approach the summit, the moody sky created some very atmospheric views out South West towards Tremadoc Bay...
Image20181212-105551-2.

The slope over the final 150m or so of ascent is easier than before, and we got to the top about one and three quarter hours after we started.
Image20181212-111724-2. This view is looking back the way we just came, towards Llyn Gwynant;

Image20181212-112107-2. ...and this is looking North West towards Llyn Cwellyn, bounded on the LHS by Mynydd Mawr, and on the RHS by Moel Eilio (this is kind of the reverse of the view I had of Yr Aran from Moel Cynghorion in October 2017).

Image20181212-112350-2. Not sure what Dr Frank is up to here - perhaps praying...??? :D

From the summit of Yr Aran, it's a steep descent down into Bwlch Cwm Llan.
Image20181212-112842-2.

Image20181212-113705-2. Again looking out NW towards Llyn Cwellyn, on the descent.

As we started the ascent up to Clogwyn Du on the other side, we met a walker coming down towards us. It was a young German guy who'd camped the preceding night up on the summit of Snowdon! Apparently it was extremely cold, and very windy, so he'd had a somewhat disturbed night - as he said himself, it wasn't a very clever idea to overnight up there, even in a sleeping bag supposedly comfortable down to -10 degrees!
Image20181212-115522-2. This is looking back at the descent route from Yr Aran.

But soon we were into the cloud, and from here on up we sadly could see very little of the Clogwyn Du cliffs, one of the principal reasons for choosing the route :( .

The summit cafe was, of course, closed at this time of year. We stopped briefly for lunch in the shelter of the main doorway; but even here out of the strong breeze, it was pretty cold, so we didn't linger, heading off for Y Lliwedd as soon as we'd finished munching.

It's a steep descent around here, with multiple rough eroded tracks, and in clag it would be very easy to end up going back down the path to Clogwyn Du. We took careful compass bearings, but were still very glad to have the confirmatory back-up of GPS (OS maps on the phone).

Image20181212-140808-2. We eventually broke out of the cloud as we descended into Bwlch Ciliau, and from time to time had glimpses of the superb Y Lliwedd cliffs...

Image20181212-141113-2. ... This looking down to Llyn Llydaw. Apparently Y Lliwedd has the highest cliffs in the UK outside Scotland - some 300m at their highest.

Image20181212-141856-2. Clogwyn Du cliffs at last, though sadly mainly shrouded in clag ... Yr Aran is the conical hill about 1/3 of the way in from the left.

With my slow progress up the steeper slopes, it was getting on a bit by the time we arrived at Y Lliwedd West Peak, so we decided to drop straight back down into Cwm Llan as being the most direct way back to the car. It looked OK on the map, but in fact there was some quite interesting scrambling on the way down...
Image This view is looking back up the route of our descent. It was quite a bit more challenging than it appears on this pic.

We got back to the cars at about 16.30, and Dr Frank headed straight back home, against all the best medical advice relating to the early replacement of insensibly lost fluids.

I, however, did take medical advice, and replenished minerals and liquids at a nearby establishment of cultural, historical and architectural distinction...
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Alteknacker
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Re: Yr Aran Round

Postby dav2930 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:56 pm

Sorry to hear you've developed AF (atrial fibrillation presumably?). Must have been quite a blow to discover that. Hope it doesn't curtail your activities too much. Looked a great round you did despite the breathlessness; there are so many fine circuits on Snowdon! :clap:
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Re: Yr Aran Round

Postby yokehead » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:08 pm

Hello AK, yes a fine round, I did similar last summer - in much better weather so I saw it all - you must go back!

All the best with getting through your medical condition and hopefully back to full speed!
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Re: Yr Aran Round

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:46 am

yokehead wrote:Hello AK, yes a fine round, I did similar last summer - in much better weather so I saw it all - you must go back!

All the best with getting through your medical condition and hopefully back to full speed!


Yes, I read your report and in retrospect this was one of the catalysts for planning this route - I'd never heard of the Watkins Path until I read your report!!!!

Thanks for the good wishes. The treatment prognosis is pretty good, though it does have a tendency to come back. We'll see....
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Alteknacker
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Re: Yr Aran Round

Postby jacob » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:46 am

Well AK, you definitely wetted my appetite. :clap:
I'll be taking my mum, dad and sister with her four-headed family across the North Sea coming April. And I planned a similar route up Snowdon with my nephews. It'll be their second time ever in the mountains, and they and I are really looking forward to it.
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Re: Yr Aran Round

Postby Sgurr » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:03 pm

Husband has had AF for the last decade or more, but it is the knee rather than that has slowed him down. For all we know, he could have had it all his life: just discovered fortuitously when he went for an appointment for something else. The downside is the bleeding if you are on warfarin. Careful with (a) barbed wire (b) brambles and (c) bike accidents...it can be like walking with the Macbeths. Y Aran was his final mainland Marilyn, so he has fond memories of it for that reason. I managed to snap a low flying plane and get on the BBC forecast with it via weather-watchers so am fond of it too. You normally get pics of helicopters training round there. We did it by itself,yours is quite a round at this time of year.

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