Welsh weekender - Day 1

Looking down from the summit rocks on Arenig Fawr
Work was over for the week and another Friday evening at Scouts had just finished (map and compass work which, while useful, wasn't appreciated by all the boys!) and so, at long last, the Bank Holiday weekend had finally arrived!

We'd planned to head up to Snowdonia for the weekend to get in a couple of decent walks - final "training" before the 3 Peaks Challenge the following weekend - and had decided to stay away from the hugely busy area's surrounding Snowdon and base ourselves at a campsite just outside Dolgellau, perfect for a short 6 mile walk to Arenig Fawr (854m) on the Saturday and then a longer, harder, 12 mile circular walk along the Aran ridge on the Sunday before heading back on Monday morning.

Day 1 - Arenig Fawr from Arenig, near Llyn Celyn
This route was taken from Walking Britain website and can be viewed here

Thanks to an early start, the drive up to the start of the walk near Bala was easy and traffic free and we arrived at the start point around 10:30am and parked up on a large area of waste ground near to the site of the abandoned Arenig Quarry - grid ref SH831392.
Despite the cold (4C on arrival) the weather was sunny and bright, with a slight wind blowing, and the blue sky had only a few scattered clouds in it which lifted our spirits considerably - after weeks of wet miserable walks this was a change in fortune that we both appreciated!

The first part of the walk follows the small road, past the quarry and then turning right off the road into access land following a track that heads up to Llyn Arenig Fawr passing Moel y Garth on your left.
Y Castell and Llyn Arenig Fawr
After reaching the lake you cross on the dam wall and continue to head up the centre of a fairly broad ridge up onto Y Castell.
As we walked up the ridge snow flakes started to drift down towards us, born by the stiffening wind, but it still wasn't enough to warrant anything more than base layers so we continued on up happy that, for now, we wouldn't have to stop and layer up.

Looking up to Arenig Fawr
From the top of tje ridge it's easy to follow the fairly well trodden path for about 1500m, up onto the summit and Trig Point of Arenig Fawr (854m) - meaning "Great High Ground" in English.

Donna on the airy summit of Arenig Fawr
Trig point and Memorial at the Summit of Arenig Fawr (854m)
The summit has a memorial stone to remember 6 American airmen, crew of a Flying Fortress bomber, who crashed there in 1943 and bits of wreckage from the crash can be found around the summit site although we didn't see (or look for) any on our visit.

After a quick lunch and welcome cup of hot coffee we headed onwards, keen to get back to the car and head to the campsite.
From the summit point the easiest form of navigation is to handrail the fence that heads of on an almost northerly course, allowing you to look down the flanks onto the Llyn that you passed on the way up.

Rather than heading straight over the crags of Pen Tyrau and Daear Fawr we beared off left towards the Nant Llaith (river) and followed it course down before skirting around the side of the quarry and dropping back down onto the road, and the car.

I've uploaded all the pictures taken from the walk to my Picasa album (below)
2012_05_05 (Wales)

The full details of the walk, recorded from my Garmin Edge 605, have been uploaded to Garmin Connect - full details below;

You can view the full trail and trail route (gpx downloadable file) on Trailzilla - click here

Day 2 of our weekend in Wales is coming soon!!


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