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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2 Day's in the Arenigs.

For the last backpack of the year I chose to revisit one of my favourite area's for when I want peace and solitude and it didn't disappoint.. I only saw 1 person ( at a distance , descending Arenig Fawr ) during the whole 2 days I was there. The area in question was the Arenigs-  a quiet, wild area located in the eastern corner of Snowdonia.

Checking the weather over the previous days showed a good chance of snow, so with a sack full of winter gear , and my faithful hill walking companion in tow ( max - my 7 yr old springer spaniel ) we set of on the 2 hour drive from my house to the quiet country lane at the foot of Llyn Arenig Fawr.

Parking in the small layby I shouldered my pack and took the track that leads round Llyn Arenig Fawr to the small bothy and the start of the ascent to Arenig Fawr. I intended popping in, but as I got nearer I could see smoke coming from the chimney signalling it was occupied. Due to its compact size I decided to leave them in peace and commenced the uphill climb.

Y Castell from ascent to Arenig Fawr.

Soon I reached the snow line and the breeze picked up which combined with a temperature of around 0 deg c , gave a whind chill of around -8 deg c. Rime frost clung to fence posts and wire, creating some wonderfull sculpture type shapes.

Arenig Fawr north and south tops from Bwlch Blaen y nant.

Rime frost covered fence near Arenig Fawr summit.

Topping out at Bwlch Blaen y nant the main summit of Arenin Fawr comes into view and I took a pathless direct line to the summit cairn and a memorial plaque dedicated to crew of an American Flying Fortress  (B17) which crashed on the summit during World War 11.

Approaching Arenig Fawr summit cairn.

Max and Arenig Fawr summit cairn

Arenin Fawr summit cairn and memorial plaque.

View North from Arenig Fawr.

Continuing south along the ridge I picked up the fence line running SW. There were good views of my next target - Moel Llyfnant from here and soon I reached the Bwlch where I collected water before climbing to the summit.

Moel Llyfnant from descent from Arenig Fawr.

Looking back to Arenig Fawr.

Ascending Moel Llyfnan, looking back to Arenig Fawr.

Once I reached the summit I scoured the area for a sheltered pitch, and found a nice sheltered spot between 2 rocky outcrops- very near the summit cairn. As I was  pitching a blizzard blew in covering every thing in snow - inc max who did his best to shelter by some rocks whilst I raced to get the soulo pitched. Once up I quickly detached the inner to keep it from getting covered in snow , then got in and sorted myself and max out - warm dry down jkt/pants and booties for me, I took max,s winter walking coat off,  and put on his very warm camp coat .

Camp on Moel Llyfnant.

Warm and dry inside the tent I made a brew whilst listening to sound of snow on the flysheet- it would continue most of the night. Around sunset there was a brief lull and I took the opportunity to get out and re-attach the inner, there was a lovely glow over Arenig Fawr so I took a few pic,s at the same time.

Evening light over Arenig Fawr. 

With the temperature dipping I was soon back in the tent. Before getting in I took a temp. reading  -3 deg c. and it wasn't dark yet - it was going to be a cold one ! A few more readings were taken during the evening as I was curious to see the difference between inside and outside of my tent. I have no idea of what temperature dipped to, as after a meal and several whisky's I fell asleep. when I awoke I reached for my skywatch but couldn't find it - once home I realised what had happened - I put it by max in his bed to see how warm it was, but fell asleep before reading it - it must have got caught on his coat , and dropped off when I let  him out of the tent the next morning.

Waking at around 7.30 am I peered out of the tent door, there was a lovely pre-dawn glow so I made myself a coffee, then got out to watch the sun come up. There was lots of mist coming and going but I got some good pic,s during the clearer periods.

Moel Llyfnant summit cairn.

Sunrise from Moel Llyfnant.

It was a cold one, Frost on the Hilleberg Soulo.

Camp on Moel Llyfnant , quite a bit of fresh snow fell during the night. note the snow depth behind my tent !

Moel Llyfnant summit cairn and Arenig Fawr beyond.

Moel Llyfnant.

Looking North from Moel Llyfnant.

After breakfast and a few more brews I packed the gear away and got ready to leave my lofty snow covered home for the night , following the fence line north I left it to descend the pathless snow covered hillside towards Amnodd - bwll where I picked up the good forestry track and followed it NW which lead back to the quiet lane, which left an easy road walk of around 2 miles back to my van .

Till next time
Happy wildcamping
P.s if anyone finds a skywatch on Moel Llyfnant , give us a shout :-)

Arenig Fawr from descent from Moel Llyfnant.

Heading towards Amnodd- bwll. Arenig Fach beyond.


  1. I really like your photography Daron and enjoyed your write up.I was camping at llyn Hywel in the Rhinogs around this time.The 28th Dec.I havent done the Arenigs yet, but plan on it sometime in 2018.

  2. Thanks Steve.The Rhinogs are fantastic-rugged with a real wild- remote feel,spent 3 days there in june.The Arenigs are well worth a visit.