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An Aran Circuit / 2 days / 23 miles (37km)

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Aran Fawddwy partial pan > Pan

Date: 14 Jun 2004
Start / Finish: Llanuwchllyn. Small free car park, also roadside parking.
Maps: Explorer OL23: Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid.

Day 1The Aran Ridge & Glasgwm9 miles / 3850 feet (14.5km / 1173m)
Day 2Hengwm & Cwm Du14 miles / 2900 feet (22.5km / 883m)

This was to have been a repeat of our Arans grand tour 2-day backpack that we did a while ago, which visited all 13 Aran mountains. This time we couldn't resist pitching by Llyn y Fign, which left too much effort for the second day so we did a cut-down circuit. This turned out to be the best for the conditions, as the second day was completely misted out and there was little point in visiting the remaining tops anyway.

Day 1 - The Aran Ridge & Glasgwm

From Pont y Pandy, a farm track leads up to the ridge path, which passes R of some minor humps and eventually swings L to the spine of the ridge. The air was very clear today, with Llyn Pen Aran a shimmering deep blue, and the views from Aran Fawddwy were superb (see partial pan), rivalling even those we have seen on a crisp winter day.

Llyn Pen Aran
Llyn Pen Aran (14 Jun 2004__10:40:40)
Cader Idris from Aran Fawddwy
Cader Idris from Aran Fawddwy (14 Jun 2004__12:04:31)
The Rhinogydd from Aran Fawddwy
The Rhinogydd from Aran Fawddwy (14 Jun 2004__12:04:47)
Llaethnant from Aran Fawddwy
Llaethnant from Aran Fawddwy (14 Jun 2004__12:37:43)

Keeping L on the descent, the Drysgol path descends along the edge of the cwm to the memorial, and from here a thin path branches around the rim of the next cwm to the summit of Gwaun y Llwyni, with grand views of Hengwm below. Walking SW along the spur, the path arrives at a fence corner and stile, where we turned R along the fence and descended steeply to the Camddwr. This was flowing well and we collected quite good water. There is a discernible and rather wet path onward along the fence to the recently promoted summit of Waun Camddwr, which has a small cairn.

Gwaun y Llwyni
Gwaun y Llwyni (14 Jun 2004__13:21:56)

Descending to the main path, a series of wooden boards assist progress on the wet sections to the bwlch. After walking a short way SE to view Craig Cwyarch, we returned to the bwlch and climbed steeply alongside the fence to a ladder stile just before the summit of Glasgwm. Llyn Bach was dry but Llyn y Fign was a choppy deep blue in the stiff breeze, with the Cadair Idris ridge beyond. Much of the shore is tussocky but we found a good spot to pitch after a relaxing stroll around it.

Glasgwm summit with the Rhinogydd beyond
Glasgwm summit with the Rhinogydd beyond (14 Jun 2004__16:00:35)
Evening light on the tent pitch by Llyn y Fign
Evening light on the tent pitch by Llyn y Fign (14 Jun 2004__20:37:57)

Day 2 - Hengwm & Cwm Ddu

In complete contrast to yesterday, the clear views lasted about 15 seconds. Just after opening the tent door to a segment of blue sky with the hope of a good sunrise photo, a curtain of grey mist closed the show for good. Today's interest would be mainly in the cwms.

Following the fence W and SW, new ladder stiles have been erected and there is a path along the forest edge. By this time we decided on the cut-down circuit and omitted Pen y Brynfforchog. Where the fence turns SE at 818182, a few yards beyond we crossed the fence to enter a soggy forest ride, which has a series of wooden plank footbridges across most, but not all, of the wet bits. This heads generally eastwards to cross the Nant y Graig-wen, where we collected excellent water, and bends R to emerge from the trees at a T-junction on a forest road. Turning L to a gate, a short way beyond and just before the road curves R downhill, we ascended L to a pair of recently erected stiles, where a short way further is the slaty track that zigzags steeply down to the valley road in Cwm Cwyarch. There is an information board near the road end giving brief historical notes on the area.

Light variations in Cwm Cwyarch
Light variations in Cwm Cwyarch (15 Jun 2004__08:48:53)

Crossing the footbridge, the signed Aran ridge path climbs steadily up Hengwm towards a fence at a saddle. As the path climbs to Drysgol, just above the point of closest approach to the fence, we crossed it and contoured the easy slope to the bwlch near Gwaun Lydan. From the edge of the cwm, we slanted down NW below the crags to join the infant Afon Dyfi, which is easily crossed where a fence comes down from the L. Ascending NW to the steeply incised ravine, it is an easy climb to Creiglyn Dyfi, which was grey and misty today with waves scudding across its surface.

Llaethnant on the descent towards Creiglyn Dyfi
Llaethnant on the descent towards Creiglyn Dyfi (15 Jun 2004__11:25:23)
Waterfall approaching Creiglyn Dyfi
Waterfall approaching Creiglyn Dyfi (15 Jun 2004__12:00:20)

Climbing E to Foel Hafod-ffynydd, which was now clear of mist, and descending to a peaty saddle, we turned L to follow the fence steeply down to Bwlch Sirddyn and a broken stile with a waymark. Cutting across the top of a steep cleft, the right of way slants NNW down Cwm Ddu to the buildings of Cwm-ffynnon and up to Nant-y-barcut. We took the farm access road NE along Cwm Croes to Talardd and the lane NW back towards Llanuwchllyn. Approaching Pont y Pandy, a signed footpath is joined L through a gate in the hedge, which cuts off the road corner and descends above the river to the bridge.