|Distance:||21.7 km or 13.5 miles|
|Ascent:||1345m or 4413ft|
|Descent:||1350m or 4429ft|
This one was back mid Sept.
Like my Tarrens walk this was one where the idea & a chunk of the route came from Country Walking magazine & then more from different walks on the Walking Britain website that has some very familiar maps & bits by me.
This area of mountains are called the Arans & Aran Fawddwy is the highest of the peaks in the area & sits on a long ridge. It should be better known as it's the highest mountain in Britain south of Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa, but perhaps because it falls just 31ft short of the magic 3000ft & it's a bit harder to get to it isn't. The easiest way to see the scale of the ridge & it's escarpment is to find the Bala to Dolgellau road on a map & look just east of it.
I'd wanted to walk the length of the ridge but found in plotting it was just to far to do in even 2 walks so split it into 3 which I called South, Mid & North & this one is the Mid one.
As is often the case I picked what was forecast to be a fine day with very good visibility at times but nature had other ideas so that there was variable cloud down on the tops for much of the day only clearing from them after I'd left them.
The walk started from what is a reasonable size free car park, although there is a donations to air ambulance box by the gate that got something from me, there is also a gate on it which may be open or closed as I found when I returned to my vehicle, depending on livestock movements along the road.
To get you & keep you going on the right track to start there are signs to direct you to Aran Fawddwy although there are 2 ways in opposite directions to start, but I turned left out of the car park, the other way is where I came back. The signs keep you on the vehicle track after the tarmac ends, they don't quite follow where the footpath is marked on maps but make for easier straight forward going until one turns off.
Starting up the slope the path cuts through dense bracken that leans in from both sides so ones brushing through it but as one gets higher it disappears as one comes alongside the stream & you just follow the stream steeply up, the best view of this stage is actually my last pic.
This was part way up looking down the main valley & at the bracken I'd come through.
On the steepest part of the initial climb looking straight down over where I'd come up.
Having just about reached the col & headed NE a bit alongside the fence that runs at least from where I joined it to the northern end the view to Glasgwm in a clearer moment.
The boards laid down help one make progress without sinking & help reduce mans impact on the environment, the view ahead to Aran Fawddwy.
Having been walking on the boards I should say they were not always as dry as theabove pic in that on wetter bits they often sank a bit so one was walking through puddles, but in one particularly bad spot the plank had split down it's length leaving only half visible & when I stepped on it it sank more than others so rather than chance things I deviated round. Note also that this walk was done when ground conditions were quite dry generally.
One of the wetter parts and discarded or purposefully put there an old stile but I made use of it with care!
Having studied map & seen the flatness of continuing straight on I plotted a route following fence and the way odd person had gone on very minor path out to the edge & top of Gwaun Y Llwyni & this was looking South & across to what would be my last top of the day.
Moving on a bit following the edge on a visible but not marked on maps path, the view to the end of the cwm below formed by the ridge out to Drysgol.
Advancing out on the ridge to Drysgol there is a memorial cairn that has a plaque saying "This cairn was built by members of the Royal Air Force St. Athan mountain rescue team in memory of S.A.C Michael ("Mike") Robert Aspain who on 5th June 1950 was killed by lighting near this spot whilst on duty with the team" & it was from near it that gives this view of the side of Aran Fawddwy & the waters of Creiglyn Dyfi the source of the river Dyfi.
Same place but looking along the ridge more.
same place again looking at Gwaun Y Llwyni centre where I'd taken pic 6 & the bulk of Glasgwm behind.
On a bit from Drws Bach & looking at Foel Hafod-fynfydd centre pic & the valley of the Llaethnant in front of it, that I was to cross later on in my walk.
Out on the high point of Drysgol & the rocky face of Aran Fawddwy & Erw y Ddafad-dee (in the sun) further N on the ridge & the grass ridge down from it above Creiglyn Dyfi that I dropped down on before disappearing on the rising ground on the right.
Having gone out & round the little tarn on Drysgol I headed back & got this view of the Memorial Cairn that I described for pic 8 & the face of Gwaun Y Llwyni that I stood above earlier on.
Having had hopes of fine views with the cloud having been coming & going it decided to come again as I went up Aran Fawddwy itself such that it was a somewhat limited view of the summit trig point & nothing outwards. But it was on the summit I meet the first 2 people of the day.
A lower elevation on Erw y Ddafad-dee & the cloud was semi above me, So & one could just see the other side of the valley with it's slope I was going up off path.
Staring to drop down from Erw y Ddafad-dee and the view Roughly SW
At my closest approach to Creiglyn Dyfi & it was both good & frustrating because of the cloud earlier to see the cliffs all the way to the top of Aran Fawddwy.
Same place but Cwm Llwydd the valley that heads N below the ridge.
Having descended & crossed the Llaethnant as I started up the opposite side of the valley, I came upon my 3rd & final person on the walk, who was a bit lost as he said the maps on his phone weren't working but was heading to Aran Fawddwy so I directed him in the right direction. This pic came halfway up the slope looking back to Aran Fawddwy.
Having gone off path & then back onto one & out to top Pen yr Allt Uchaf, the view to the Drysgol ridge that forms the end of the Hengwm valley below & where I started
Same place, looking SW to the hills & mountains beyond with those in the middle distance being the south end of the main ridge.
Having decided to angle down the grass slppe rather than go all the way back to the head of the valley to pick up the path, I found my left knee starting to hurt & getting worse so I turned the other way & stepped sideways straight down the slope to get top the path, with the aid of poles. From the valley floor the view across to where I'd gone up.