A solo traverse of the Aran ridge from south to north, taking a new approach from the south-west to include Foel Benddin, our only unclimbed Dewey 500m summit in the range.
Foel Benddin is most inconsiderate in its situation and topology: forming a final spur off the southern end of the ridge, it is dauntingly steep on all other sides, difficult to access, pathless and rarely visited or mentioned. This route approaches the ridge around the south-western slopes of the Arans and uses a zigzag forest track on the flank of the hills to gain most of the height, leaving just a short out-and-back to gain the summit.
Conditions were strange on this trip: both days had superb clear views in unbroken sunshine, but overnight the wind increased from almost zero to very strong with gale force gusts over the hills, often making the ridge walking difficult and tiring. The whole route was deserted until I met a handful of walkers ascending the lower slopes near the end approaching Llanuwchllyn.
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The first backpack after a 9-week recovery from the dreaded plantar fasciitis, very nearly healed now.
A 2-day route traversing the Ruabon moors to the north-east of Llangollen, an extensive area of high heather moorland forming the eastern fringe of the Dee hills.
The approach to Esclusham Mountain from Coedpoeth visits the Minera lead mines and skirts the extensive Minera limestone quarries, a geological site that is now an important conservation area at varying stages of recolonisation.
The southern section follows the high level traverse of Eglwyseg Mountain above the superb line of incised crags that we saw from below on our last backpack three months ago, giving excellent views to the west. This section is part of the Llangollen Round and occasionally waymarked.
The final section passes through Trevor Quarry, discovered quite fortuitously, and joins the Llangollen canal for an easy finish in Llangollen.
Both days of this trip were in almost constant sunshine, chilly nights and warm days giving excellent views.
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