Yr Aran Circuit – The Wild Version
|19.99 km||892 m|
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Yr Aran Circuit – The Wild Version Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
Yr Aran Circuit – The Wild Version Details
It’s not the usual on Mud and Routes that the two most recent routes are, on the surface, the same. But even though I walked a circuit around Yr Aran today, it was as different a walk as you could get and not just because it was done in reverse.
I set off from Fridd Uchaf, just past Rhyd Ddu on what was historically the Beddgelert Path up Snowdon. You can only really get here by bus, or dropped off by car as there’s no parking and the main road isn’t one I’d choose to walk.
Before I really knew where I was, I’d already reached the Rhyd Ddu path. Normally, reaching the crossroads of the Rhyd Ddu and Bwlch Cwm Llan paths is a bit of a pull, but this grassy and damp path took me there with little effort. It does cut a bit of ascent, but barely 20m compared to the trip from Rhyd Ddu.
The pull up to Bwlch Cwm Llan is steady, and you’d normally make it to the bwlch proper and then up the N and E ridge of Yr Aran for best effect. Today I decided to take the easier grassy route towards Bwlch yr Hyrddod and then up the grassy E ridge to the summit as there was a bit of snow lying about and I reckoned this approach would be clear of it (and It was).
Up to this point, I’d seen nobody other than some groups in the distance. So that’s when the Navy Sea King came to say hello on the summit. That’s normally an impressive manoeuvre at the best of times, but more so considering the strong and gusty wind. If I ever need winching off a cliff, then these guys can have the job.
Not wanting to cover known terrain, I descended back to Bwlch Yr Hyrddod and down into the cwm of the same name as there’s a clear looking path from above. In reality, it took a bit of zig zagging on steep grass mainly, before the path was reached. While it wasn’t well trodden, there’s no doubt that it’s a constructed track related to the mining activity in this Cwm and the neighbouring Cwm Bleiddiaid. There’s a strong possibility that it was used to connect to the trial levels on the northern slopes of Yr Aran and Craig Wen.
While the path contours the western slopes of Cwm yr Hyrddod, it’s not always easy to follow or obvious, and once the cwm steepens then all you can do is avoid the rocky drops and wend your way down towards the falls at SH605 506, which have a sheepfold nearby that’s clearly visible from above. Up to now, the conditions underfoot have been reasonably dry, but they get a bit damp for the next 500m or so. Nothing major, but this is clearly used by cattle and as such the way is churned up and muddy in places.
Once you reach the track, the going becomes much easier. This is a wide path that you follow for a long zig zag along the slope before leaving it for a waymarked path for Craflwyn. Unfortunately, this entire section seems to have been devastated by a farm track. I’ll let the images speak for themselves, hopefully they’ll fade over time.
I should have followed the road away from Beddgelert and towards Sygun and a country lane, but stoically yomped along the main road instead, as far as the turning for Sygun Mawr, and then along the river bank into Beddgelert.
As the weather was closing in, and my boots were muddy, I decided not to stop for a swift pint and got going. There’s a really good track now to Rhyd Ddu that can be found by following the main road towards Porthmadog and then into the carpark (before you reach the Goat Hotel). It’s fully waymarked for the entire duration, with some decent views in all directions along the way. There’s a stretch in the middle through the forest that’s a bit tedious, but you end the route along Llyn y Gader and a superb view over towards Snowdon.
For more images – view the Google + Gallery – https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/109845127541116611199/albums/5994455259339405057