Walk up Arenig Fach From Llyn Celyn
Rough and largely pathless route to Arenig Fach returning via part of the Migneint
Route Start Location:
|12.93 km||579 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Hard Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
Walk up Arenig Fach From Llyn Celyn
This walking route up Arenig Fach in central Snowdonia is ideal if you want to get away from the madding crowds of Eryri. Beware that the terrain up Arenig Fach is one of the wildest and pathless parts of Snowdonia. Even the notorious Rhinogydd have better paths.
Here you’ll find very few traces of previous footsteps. It’s well worth getting a few walks in over the Arenig hills if you like your walks quiet and remote, even if you’re never that far from the road.
The walking route to the summit of Arenig Fach starts at one of many car parks at the northern end of Llyn Celyn. We parked near the memorial chapel to the flooded village, more information on this page. Continue along the main road until you reach the drive for Cae Gwernog, a good 10min walk if you park where we did.
Turn left uphill a couple of hundred metres after passing the farm after along a faint track by the stream. If you reach Gwern-Adda then you’ve gone too far. This section does need a bit of careful route finding in order to first find this turn off point (SH841 417) and then to reach the stile to open moorland.
Continue in an easterly direction along moorland following a faint path if you’re lucky. It’s worth aiming for Llyn Arenig Fach and then uphill, or you can aim directly for the wide ridge that sweeps up the western side of the hill. Whichever way you arrive there, you’ll find there’s a fence and a sketchy path that you can follow almost to the summit of Arenig Fach, but it vanishes. Then you’ll either need to veer left, or alternatively follow the fence, and you’ll soon arrive at the large cairn (Carnedd y Bachgen) on the summit. There’s a decent shelter to be had unless there’s an easterly blowing, as typically there was today.
So despite the open views across the Migneint towards Eryri from Arenig Fach’s summit, we couldn’t enjoy them for long on a bitter February morning and had to get moving.
If you’re bagging, then you’re best returning whence you came. If you’re a little more sadistic, then you can descend the blunt west ridge, with no obviously easy way down, but a sketchy path takes you down a steep but reasonably short scree section towards Carnedd y Gors-gam. The image to the right gives you an idea of how steep this section is. You could also descend the fence from the summit, but that’s also steep.
You’re now on the notorious Migneint. It was largely frozen when we ventured there, but not deeply enough. You’d still break through the icy crust on occasion. While it has a reputation, it’s merely very wet as opposed to perilously boggy. Crossing the Moelwynion has more sections that make me think I’m going to lose footwear to the mire. Navigation is pretty simple as you’ve got a fence all the way as far as the summit of Carnedd y Filiast.
The intention of this walk was to continue across to Carnedd y Filiast, but an injured ankle (agonizing recurrence of a recent sprain) meant that the walk had to be cut short and a painful hobble to the car along the sketchy bridleway was needed. There are few obstacles on the path, but it is sketchy and you need to ensure that you don’t miss the path along the Nant-goch that descends to Craignant. From there, it’s a matter of following the lane back to Llyn Celyn.
You’d be better off ascending Arenig Fach as an up/down, and ascending Carnedd y Filiast via some of the more interesting, though still not spectacular, south eastern cymoedd. Definitely an area to visit in the winter if you want to get the most out if it. There’s a wonderful route across the Migneint in the Classic Walks book (Wilson/Gilbert) that’s arguably a better way to cross this terrain by starting off from the B4407 and just finding your way across the moorland by picking off the small number of features. Drasdo (the writer of the route) states that the Migneint isn’t as boggy as it’s made out to be, but that may soon change! They were busy refilling the drainage ditches in order to make it boggier when we were here.