Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu

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Post Code for Sat Nav: LL54 6TN

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Buses to start. WHR also an option

Weather Forecast:  Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather

Route Summary:

Distance: 10.1 km

Ascent: 524 m

Time:

Start and Finish:

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Pub and Toilets

Hazards:

Off path sections.

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Before You Walk up Snowdon, ask yourselfAre you equipped? Do you know what you’re doing? Are the conditions safe? If you answer no to any of these, stay safe, don’t go! Check the weather forecast and make sure you know about walking up Snowdon in the Snow. If you lack experience – hire a Snowdon Mountain Guide.

Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu Details

There’s always something special when you manage to fit a decent walk in on a weekeday. It’s almost like stolen time as we aren’t meant to do fun things on a weekday. It’s all work, work, work. So you have to work around that, and make the most of things. Well, I live so close to the hills that a bit of organisation means we can be treading the footpaths by half five (and this was later than i’d anticipated). What for? To bag a peak that’s been like a stone in my shoe for years. I’d been to Bwlch Cwm Llan somany times, and on all but one occasion gone straight over or turned left for the South Ridge. On the one occasion i turned right, i found my boots had no grip and had to turn back. So I was finally going to go up Yr Aran.

Yr Aran is an ideal easier winter summit, especially if you’re building up your winter skills. There’s a couple of sections that are steep enough to need care without being overly easy.

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The walk is quite straightforward from the car park at Rhyd Ddu (£4 per day), following the path across the Welsh Highland Railway and towards Yr Wyddfa. This is a wide and easy path, posing no problems.

Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd Ddu

After a while, you will come to a gate that says “Footpath to Snowdon” or similar on it. Don’t turn off here or you’ll end up on the Rhyd Ddu path to Snowdon. Instead, continue on the path, through the spoil heaps, and eventually to Bwlch Cwm Llan. There is one point where you are nearly at the bwlch, and there will be a lake to to your right and a steep slate path ahead. Both lead to Bwlch Cwm Llan, and it’s personal preference. Going along the lake side is marginally shorter, but may also be boggy. This is definately an interesting place for people with interest in industrial archaeology. The slates here are less sterile than the tips above Llanberis, and are softened by thick lichen growth. From some angles, the tips almost look green.

Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd DduAt the bwlch, there is a dry stone wall. Follow this right. The path can be steep, and is polished rock in places (why i had to turn back before when wearing inadequate boots), and loose scree where it isnt! Fortunately it follows the wall for most of the route up. Once the wall starts veering left, you will find yourself on a shoulder with no wall. Following the path right will take you hassle free to the summit. Views from here are extensive, from Snowdon to the Rhinogydd..

Walk up Yr Aran from Rhyd DduThe time has come to descend, and you can do that the way you came if you wished. In that way you could combine this summit with an ascent of Snowdon’s South Ridge. The quickest way down is to follow the path along the ridge. There is no clear path to take you back to the track, but the gound isn’t too difficult to cross. We left the path at SH 601 514, which is as soon as you can descend safely in reality. If it’s clear you need to be aiming for the dam at the lake in the bwlch, or take a bearing. Trying to cut across to hit the path lower down will bring you a problem of a barbed wire fence, so the route on the map is the better one. The ground towards the lake becomes a little boggy, but once on the dam it’s an easy task of retracing your steps to Rhyd Ddu.

There are some more images on Mud and Routes.

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Dave Roberts

Editor at Mud and Routes
Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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