Western Arans 2-day backpack

Pitch at Llyn y FignFinally after more than a year of CV lockdown and an 18 months hillwalking layoff, we set off on our first backpack of 2021.

Local walks in the flatlands, some over 20 miles, have been fine for maintaining distance training but do nothing for ascent. With some apprehension we chose a reasonable mountain route to test the effects of the hiatus and that should be easy to reach by public transport without significant difficulty. This is a shorter modified version of my Aran Ridge south-west trip using the same approach from Rhydymain, a good choice for solitude for most of the route during a holiday week.

The weather was holding after a glorious bank holiday weekend but the sky turned milky, resulting in a poor flat light for most of the first day and improving on the second. A strong wind made for an interesting high pitch on Glasgwm and became a lot stronger on the main ridge.

As expected after so long away, the ascents were very slow and tiring, but this was a tonic of a backpack and a real morale booster.

Full report & photos

6 thoughts on “Western Arans 2-day backpack

  1. A very nice trip that. I haven’t done any of it. My tent has a similar ridge pole arrangement as yours and I have had moments like you had with the wind on the doors. I now have my walking pole to prop up the ridge pole just above the door zip. It works ok.

  2. Thanks Alan, wonderful to be in the hills again.
    The resilience of that hub structure seemed amazing, but it made us miss the old original semi-geodesic TN Voyager tent that barely moved in far worse conditions.

  3. Fantastic to see you back out on the hills again Geoff!
    I love the Arans, a great ridge walk once you are up there. I camped up on Glascwm summit a couple of years back but never got any decent views, I was in the cloud most of the time but is a grand spot for a high camp. When walking across to the Arans main summits I always work my way across the rough ground to Gwaun y Llwyni, good edge and nice paths once you reach the top (possible I got that route from your blog!)

  4. Thanks Andy, about time we were out.
    The Arans are among our most walked hills, we do have a couple of reports including Gwaun y Llwyni – that might make a fine pitch too some day.
    Glasgwm does make an irresistible pitch.

  5. Hello Geoff. Having had my backpacking trips fall away for the past 2-3 years, I’ve neglected to keep up with your excellent trip reports. I’ve had to be content with a few local river bank pitches by canoe and the odd snatched South Downs trip. On a whim, I’ve decided to head to my favourite Arans again soon and was so pleased to see that you are both still walking the hills….and my favourite ones at that!
    I’ve pitched amongst the Arans and Arenigs a good many times (even the desolate Arenig Fach). My last Welsh backpack (2018) saw a very windy, but lovely pitch on Aran Benllyn. I was beaten to Llyn y Fign on my only Glasgwm pitch, but found a nice spot SSW by a rocky outcrop, fairly near Craig Cywarch. Not the best place for a sunset, but a cracking sunrise.
    I’ve made a mental note to get back in the habit of checking your site periodically and will hopefully be reading many future trip reports. All the best.

  6. Many thanks Jim.
    Over the past 18 months I think we’ve all been examining our own areas with a microscope to put together local walks with some new paths, the canoe trips sound great as local outings with a different approach. I’ve had my eye on the South Downs Way as a possible solo fast-and-light backpack.
    We’ve often thought about a pitch on the main Aran ridge, superb views and plenty of grass for pitches, but of course we are always there at the wrong time of day for our routes so far.
    The Arenigs are always first choice for wilderness and solitude but are not quite as easy to get to. A pitch on Arenig Fach… an attractive idea but leave plenty of time to scout for suitable pitching ground!. In terms of terrain, it’s one of the best defended summits in Wales and the approaches are hard for us now.

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