So far this year has been a bit of a nightmare on the home front, the house is now twenty years old, and a few areas need upgrading or replacing. Since mid-January we’ve been constantly surrounded by a variety tradesmen, so it was with some relief that I managed to snatch a short trip to Mid Wales, to ease some of the stress, and take the opportunity to try out a few new items of gear.
I’d had my eye on Arenig Fawr for a while, although I’ve driven past dozens of times over the years on my way to Snowdonia, I’ve never actually set foot on this well-known peak.
I didn’t finally get away until mid-afternoon, so it was already 5pm when I parked the car. The track to Llyn Arenig Fawr goes quite steeply off the road, which left me gasping for breath and cursing my lack of exercise over the winter, but fortunately the gradient eased after a couple of hundred metres and it was a pleasant walk as far as the MBA bothy.
Once clear of the road I’d intended to pitch camp at the first secluded place I found, but the only decent piece of grass I’d seen, was the turning place at the end of the track. As I didn’t fancy being run over by a tractor or quad bike early the next morning, I decide to carry on a bit further. Climbing over the ladder stile alongside the bothy, I crossed the outfall from the lake and followed the well-worn track uphill towards Arenig Fawr. The ground here was uneven and covered with heather, but with the light fading fast I finally had to settle for a tussocky piece of ground with a view of the lake and the bothy.
By the time I had the tent up it was dark, but I soon had my gear sorted out and settled down to eat my tea. I’d anticipated dropping off to sleep whilst watching the stars Chris Townsend style, but a thin layer of cloud covered the sky, so I zipped up the door and listened to the radio instead.
I woke next morning to the sound of Canada geese and seagulls. It was still quite hazy so not much of a view as I lay warm and comfortable, whilst waiting for the brew water to boil. I’d had an excellent night’s sleep, that is, once I’d levelled out the worst of the humps and hollows under the groundsheet with my spare gear. It was quite early so with plenty of time, I ate a leisurely breakfast and had a poke around the nearby bothy before striking camp and setting off for Arenig Fawr.
The path is well defined for most of the way, it gains a good chunk of height quite quickly before turning right over a fence, to make a gently rising traverse across the hillside. I really enjoyed the traverse, because my legs were pretty tired and my rucksack felt a lot heavier than it was, due to my lack of fitness. One final pull over the stony slopes below the summit saw me arrive knackered but smiling at the trig point.
The summit, is a grand spot with super views, but it’s always going to be a rather sombre place, with its memorial plaque and Remembrance Day tributes to the American fliers who lost their lives here during World War 2. Shaking off the gloom engendered by the lunacy of war, I made my way back down the hill to the car, and that chaos called home!.