Yr Arddu Lakes, 9-10 October 2018

A wild camp at Llyn Yr Arddu near Beddgelert had been on my agenda for some time. Having seen photos of the lake, and been inspired by the excellent v-g backpacking website, it looked the ideal spot for a wild camp; remote but beautiful with great potential for landscape photography. 

I duly left home at 06:30 for the drive to Beddgelert and parked in the National Trust car park at Craflwyn Hall about a mile east of Beddgelert. In cloudy but mild weather, I walked first along the minor road into Beddgelert ,then along the initially well made path on the east bank of the river Glaslyn through the Aberglaslyn pass, also occupied by the Welsh Highland Railway and the A498 road. There were some impressive scenes, which I just had to stop and photograph. 

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The Aberglaslyn Pass

Just before Nantmor, the path turned sharply into Cwm Bychan and I followed the path up the valley to a pass at its highest point. Quite a few people were walking on the path, which must be a popular walk, but once I turned off to climb up Moel y Dyniewyd, 382m high I didn’t see another person again. The terrain had become increasingly rocky and pathless as I picked my way steeply down past a tarn and then through woodland to the valley road running from Nantmor to Nant Gwynant. 

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Walking up Cwm Bychan

I went straight across the road to a footpath on the other side and followed a faint path up the initial steep slopes of Yr Arddu. The going was hard over rough steep ground and I had to beat my way through bracken and brambles to find the gap in the wall to make further progress. I then had to climb over rocky heathery terrain to the summit of Yr Arddu.

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The rather intimidating terrain leading to the summit of Yr Arddu

Although a fairly diminutive hill only 389m high, and just 7m higher than Moel y Dyniewyd, it is a hill with attitude being very rocky and steep. It would appear that few people make the effort to reach its summit, which gives fantastic views of Cnicht and the Moelwyns, Moel Hebog and the coast near Porthmadog.

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Looking across to Moel y Dyniewyd (right) from the slopes of Yr Arddu

I dropped down a short distance to Llyn Yr Arddu; a lake in a beautiful setting, which didn’t disappoint. I found a good place to pitch my tent at the outflow from the lake and then went to do some photography. The sun had come out to an extent and was shining beautiful evening light on Cnicht and the Moelwyns. Regaining my tent, it was almost dark as I prepared dinner and the  long evening ahead meant that I turned in early and was asleep not long after 9pm. 

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Pitched beside Llyn Yr Arddu
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Last of the evening light on Cnicht

I woke at around 6.30am and peering out of my tent in the semi darkness saw that the sky was absolutely clear. I was soon dressed and off up onto a nearby ridge with my camera to photograph the landscape as the sun came up. The view of Snowdon was particularly fine and it looked wonderful as the first sunlight hit the summit and then gradually spread across the whole mountain.

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Early morning sun on Snowdon

It was going up to 9am when I got back to my tent for breakfast and almost 10 by the time I got underway. I did have a decision to make at this point which was either to climb Cnicht, about a mile away and 300m higher, or to follow a shorter generally descending route round past Llyn Dinas and back to the car. I somewhat reluctantly chose the latter option as hamstring tendonitis, which had recently sidelined me from running had made its presence felt the previous day. I climbed through a gap between two rocky knolls and then down to the two lakes of Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt. These enjoy a gorgeous setting and I spent some time in the bright sunshine exploring the shores of each lake and taking photographs.

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Last view of Llyn Yr Arddu
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The delectable lakes Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt, with Snowdon in the background

From here, the terrain became easier as I dropped down to a footpath that eventually brought me out on the Nantmor to Nant Gwynant road. I had to walk along this for about a kilometre before picking up a pleasant footpath that dropped down through birch woodland to Llyn Dinas, a large lake with woodland on both sides so a particular gem in the autumn. from there, it was about 2km back to the car. 

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Reaching the Nantmor valley
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Llyn Dinas

When I reached home, I discovered that I had brought a couple of passengers with me in the form of two ticks; one of which was very difficult to remove. I can only think I’d picked them up when walking through the bracken the previous day, even though I was wearing long trousers. A rather unwelcome end to what had been a pleasant couple of days.

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The route taken
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