Snowdonia: Aran Fawddwy
|The slopes of Aran Fawddwy above the Cywach valley|
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Snowdon, the Carneddau and Glyderau, Moel Hebog and the Nantlle Ridge, and down in the south big old Cadair Idris. When it comes to listing the main peaks of Snowdonia it’s always a surprise to me how rarely the Aran range gets mentioned. Most particularly, just how much Aran Fawddwy, its principal summit, gets neglected.
What’s wrong with Britain’s highest mountain south of Snowdon? It’s got a magnificent cliff-edge summit with views from the Irish Sea to the English border; there’s plenty of rock and scrambling; being to the east of the other main massifs the weather is often sunnier and calmer; and in the Cywach valley it’s got one of the most idyllically tranquil backwaters in the whole of Wales.
I suspect the answer is a certain lack of inches – 354 to be precise. (Aran Fawddwy falls short of the magical 3,000 foot mark by a mere 30 feet.) That and a history of bloodied-minded farmers and snarling sheepdogs.
Well, with the passing of the right-to-roam legislation, access issues can be forgotten, and if you’re that bothered about elevation you can always bring a ladder. For the rest of us, the Aran ridge provides some stupendous walking without the crowds – as I discovered on a magical day last autumn.