Of Mists and Mountains 2

South from Arenig Fawr towards Rhobell Fawr, plus distant Cadair Idris and Dyfi Forest.

The Arenigs are a less walked group of Snowdonian peaks, yet Arenig Fawr with its central positioning, enjoys huge panoramic views across most of Snowdonia. Here’s a circular route that we walked early on a very frosty January morning. The GPS track reported 7.25 miles of distance with about 2000 ft of climb. Allow 4 hours or so – more in adverse conditions. The ascent follows paths that are generally obvious whilst the descent & return crosses un-pathed grassy slopes before following tracks & lanes back to the start.

A poem that I wrote, inspired by this walk:

Ode of the Dawn Walker

As golden flood pours in

Sleepy night gives way to mists of morn

In vale below the cock doth crow

And hound speaks forth

The darkness sundered and torn.

The tweet of birds stirring in heather

The prominences of walker fresh & cold

Caressed by sun born anew, like gentle glowing feather.

Still the frosted path leads ahead

A serpent slithering amongst the mountain folds.

Reflections deep and vivid speak

Eye to the soul of mountain borne

Up ridge, through col to lonesome peak

View and atmosphere a magic spawn

This traveler shall return, for another dawn.


The sun rises above glacial boulders on the slopes of Arenig Fawr.

We start at a small lay-by on the minor road south of Llyn Celyn (if no parking is available here, then park at the old quarry just west of Arenig village). Cross the lane and follow the track uphill away from the road in an initially south-westerly direction. This path twists and turns over the moorland of Moel y Garth with beautiful views down on your left towards Bala and Llyn Tegid.

Golden Vale

Golden light pours into the valley and begins to lift the sleepy mists of night.

The track gives access to the small dam of Llyn Arenig Fawr and we shall soon find ourselves descending slightly to this beautiful lakeside. Here you will find a small walker’s bothy that could provide some useful shelter on a less pleasant day. Cross the ladder style next to the bothy and head across just below the dam.

Arenig Bothy

Arenig Bothy a useful place to know of.

If you are lucky enough to have great weather (as we did) the morning reflections in Llyn Arenig Fawr are glorious and it is well worth while pausing to soak up some of the tranquility.

Llyn Arenig Fawr

Llyn Arenig Fawr in the winter golden hour. Reflections and warm glow on a frosty morning.

Now we must climb up the hillside to the south of the lake, via Carreg Lefain and on to the point known as Y Castell. The climb is steeper here and follows a smaller path, but the way is clear and there are no significant obstacles.

Y Castell climb

Y Castell climb

The pull up to Y Castell

Having crossed an old dilapidated fence-line near Y Castell, we continue ahead, slightly less steeply for the moment. Shortly we will find ourselves walking parallel to another fence-line and with splendid views of Arenig Fawr ahead. Whilst there are various options here, we chose to cross the fence-line to our right and head uphill on to the shoulder of Arenig Fawr.

Arenig Summit in view

Now progress consistently uphill south westerly towards the summit. There’s a little patch of scree and boulders but the path makes for easy crossing along its upper edge. Eventually you will notice the summit trig point ahead of you.

Target Reached

Trig point on the summit of Arenig Fawr

The views from the summit are spectacular, though you will need a clear day to appreciate it at its best. Rhobell Fawr & Cadair Idris to the south (see header feature photo), Snowdon a little over seventeen miles to the north plus Rhinogs, coastline and more to the west. As so often, there was a little haze on our morning but still very enjoyable views.

There are lots of possibilities for the descent from here, we chose to partially retrace our steps for a few metres to the NE. A westerly facing gully will be noticed just beneath you (headed by an old post when we were up there). Drop down through this gully and then bear to your right (NE again) to carefully descend on to the rough grassy western slope of Arenig Fawr.

Down to Amnodd-wen

Down to Amnodd-wen

Descending to the track by Amnodd-wen

From here we are crossing pathless open access land to descend towards the old abandoned farmhouse of Amnodd-wen. As you get lower down the slope, head for the gateway through the stone wall and then down onto the track just south of Amnodd-wen, turning right (northerly) when you reach it. It’s worth pausing at Amnodd-wen to look back at the mountain you’ve just crossed, as well as to perhaps consider what life was like living here in years gone by.

Looking back from Amnodd-wen

Looking back from Amnodd-wen

Looking back from Amnodd-wen

Arenig Lane

Now follow this track to the north. When you meet the old railway, line do not stray on to it, just continue to follow the track back to the local lane. When you reach the lane, turn right on to it and follow it back through Arenig village to where you parked. A beautiful walk which you may well have all to yourself.

The GPS route details for this walk may be downloaded from my ViewRanger presence by clicking the map image below:

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In