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Yr Arddu & its lakes / 2 days / 11 miles (17km)

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Date: 20 Dec 2007
Start / Finish: Beddgelert.
Maps: Explorer OL17: Snowdon & Conwy Valley.

Day 1Afon Glaslyn & Yr Arddu5.0 miles / 1790 feet (8.1km / 545m)
Day 2Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt & Llyn Dinas5.5 miles / 850 feet (8.9km / 259m)

A short but superb winter solstice circuit to Yr Arddu and nearby lakes from Beddgelert, approaching via the Afon Glaslyn path through Nantmor and returning via Llyn Dinas. We had two days of unbroken sunshine and magnificent frozen lakes to explore at leisure.

Day 1 - Afon Glaslyn & Yr Arddu

This was the first time we had walked the path on the east bank of the Afon Glaslyn from Beddgelert to Nantmor. A notice states that the old railway tunnel further along is closed, and that walkers must follow the riverside path below. It also warns that this path is difficult in places, but in fact almost all of it is just a typical rocky path like many others, although in a couple of places where it negotiates external corners, metal rings are secured into the rock to assist particularly ultranervous people.

This path was a very pleasant surprise, and any noise from the sparse traffic on the nearby A498 was drowned by the roar of the river as it rushed southwards amid the boulders.

Afon Glaslyn
Afon Glaslyn (20 Dec 2007__09:32:22)

From the lane heading E out of Nantmor, a surfaced byway climbs NE and becomes a waymarked footpath that descends to follow a valley floor. At 618468 a track branches R down to a footbridge and a footpath crosses the field to the valley road. Across the road is another footpath sign and the start of the climb to Yr Arddu. Climbing through the wood to a wall gap, the map shows the path beyond cutting through the corner of the wood, but the way is around the marshy outside corner of the wall bordering the wood. We followed the wall up to its highest point. From here, a faint path sets off L through the heather and zigzags up the slopes, climbing steep rocky heathery gullies and cutting back along shelves, then petering out beneath the summit rocks. This leaves a short trackless climb to the top and there are great views westwards throughout.

The Hebog ridge & part of Nantlle ridge
The Hebog ridge & part of Nantlle ridge (20 Dec 2007__14:02:25)
Yr Aran & Snowdon horseshoe
Yr Aran & Snowdon horseshoe (20 Dec 2007__14:02:52)

From Yr Arddu there is a fine view of Cnicht and the moon was rising above it. The partly frozen Llyn yr Arddu was a splendid sight as always and cast a crazed reflection of the rock and heather cliffs, and we made our pitch near the shore. While taking pictures we heard the unmistakable roar of a helicopter but none could be seen, then it suddenly loomed upwards above the lake and one of the crew was standing in the open door waving to us. We waved back, but not too vigorously:- we didn't want to give the impression that we needed rescue (the sun was setting at this point), after all it wouldn't be the first time that a yellow chopper had come to the aid of a perfectly contented wild camper in winter!.

Moon rising over Cnicht from Yr Arddu
Moon rising over Cnicht from Yr Arddu (20 Dec 2007__14:22:01)
Llyn yr Arddu
Llyn yr Arddu (20 Dec 2007__14:40:55)
Tent pitch by Llyn yr Arddu
Tent pitch by Llyn yr Arddu (20 Dec 2007__15:02:28)
Rescue helicopter looms above Llyn yr Arddu
Rescue helicopter looms above Llyn yr Arddu (20 Dec 2007__15:17:43)

Day 2 - Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt & Llyn Dinas

There was a clear sky and thick frost at dawn and the ice on the lake had filled in to cover the entire surface. A faint path climbs to the dip on the R of the highest rocky top ahead and a short way beyond the first lake of Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt comes into view. Both these lakes were magnificent today with extensive ice rendered steely blue in the low sunlight, while the high peaks were outlined in sharp relief beyond in a crystal clear sky. There was no wind at all and it felt amazingly warm, and we lingered here for a while.

Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 & Y Lliwedd
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 & Y Lliwedd (21 Dec 2007__09:41:25)
Frozen Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1
Frozen Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 (21 Dec 2007__09:47:37)
Frozen Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1
Frozen Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 (21 Dec 2007__09:49:29)
Frozen Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1
Frozen Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 (21 Dec 2007__10:08:06)
Broken ice slabs on Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1
Broken ice slabs on Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 (21 Dec 2007__10:15:23)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 (21 Dec 2007__10:30:03)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 & Yr Wyddfa
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 & Yr Wyddfa (21 Dec 2007__11:02:41)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 & the Hebog/Nantlle ridges
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 & the Hebog/Nantlle ridges (21 Dec 2007__11:04:19)

We followed the outflow of lake #2 down to the main valley path that descends near the stream to the buildings at Gelli-lago and the valley road. A short walk up the road by the white house is the signed public footpath to Llyn Dinas.

The obvious path W doesn't follow the exact line on the map at first, rather it veers L over a minor rise and descends to follow the L side of a wall. The way continues on the R of a small plantation to a ladder stile and on past the buildings at Hafod-Owen and finally descends through woodland to the lakeside path by Llyn Dinas. Traversing a wooded headland, there is a fine view down the valley and the attractive riverside path leads to the Sygun Copper Mine building. An access lane is joined that emerges at the bridge onto the main road. The riverside path then completes the circuit to Beddgelert.