Snowdon and Yr Aran
Key: Mountain over 914m Peak over 600m Peak under 600m
Length: 12km Height gain: 1132m Highest point: 1085m Approx time: 5 hours gpx file
Yr Aran is another mountain on the Snowdon range which is rarely visited. It can be taken in on its own, using the route suggested and then returning the same way, however we will be taking in Snowdon as well, to give more variety. There are no real escape routes, other than retracing ones steps from Yr Aran. The majo than retracing ones steps from Yr Aran. The majority of the walk is on well defined paths, other than the 230m of ascent up to Yr Aran from Bwlch Cwm Llan. This ascent is over ground which is again noticeably slippery when wet.
We will begin from the Rhyd Ddu path up Snowdon. This is on the A4085 just past Beddgelert and before Llyn Cwellyn. There is a prominent car park which can be used (currently £4 for the day). This will also be the start point for one of the walks on the Nantlle Ridge. Take the path beyond the toilets and turn right very soon on a well defined path which is the Rhyd Ddu path up Snowdon. You will be able to see the isolated peak of Yr Aran ahead of you. The directions are simple enough. keep to this path and follow it up to a crossing of paths. The Rhyd Ddu path now goes off to the left up Snowdon (signed), however you will continue straight ahead. The route will take you through some quarries, to Bwlch Cwm Llan.
From the bwlch you can see the Watkin path, ahead of you, with the Moelwynion being the next range in sight. To the left is the ridge you will follow up to Snowdon later in the day. For now, however cross the wall in front of you and then turn right to follow the wall. This is quite wet ground, and care will be needed to ensure you do not slip. The route is not difficult - just follow the wall until you reach a point where you are facing East, and the ground is dropping away in front of you, and there are crags on the left. You now turn West, and the summit ofhe summit of Yr Aran is approximately 0.25 km ahead of you.
From the summit you will be able to look across to the Nantlle ridge, and Moel Hebog to the West and South West respectively. The Moelwyns are behind you, and to your right is Snowdon. Also visible across the Watkin path is Lliwedd, which looks quite different to the view of it which you see from Crib Goch. Descend Yr Aran by reversing the route which has been described.
When you reach the bwlch again you can return the same way if you wish, but I recommend continuing to the North and including an ascent of Snowdon by what is a fairly quiet ridge. The going is not difficult, although there is a steep drop to the right. Simply follow the ridge up, keeping the cliffs close on your right. You will arrive at a point where the Rhyd Ddu path joins your route, and you carry on for a further 0.75 km to reach the summit.
Your descent of Snowdon will start off by going back down to where you met the Rhyd Ddu path. As you descend you will be able to look across to Yr Aran from where you came. Now turn off to the right and follow the Rhyd Ddu path down to where you started. The path will initially go past the Llechog cliffs, which were fenced off when I was last there. It is worth taking the time again to look across and admire the Nantlle ridge. The route is clear and will not be described in detail, the only point to note being that you should turn right at the crossing of paths described in the ascent, to bring you back to your starting point.