Where: Arenig Fawr, Snowdonia
Weather: dry & sunny
Unbelievably the first "proper" mountain day of 2014 had to wait until April, the compensation though was glorious sunshine for the whole day. The location, too, was very new to me - the southern half of Snowdonia - Arenig Fawr was a superb day out.
We started our ascent mid-morning from the minor road adjacent to Llyn Cellyn and used what appears to be a recently improved Water Authority track leading to the hidden and very impressive Llyn Arenig, nestled beneath towering cliffs.
We walked across the dam before beginning a steep climb to the fence which leads on above the lake.
The main ridge to Arenig Fawr was now obvious and we were able to make an off-piste approach to gain the high ground by the most direct route without losing any unnecessary height. The journey along the ridge was a joy and upon approach to the final summit the mountain-scape changed to a pleasant rocky environment decorated in places by what we later found to be Club Moss amongst other impressive flora & fauna.
This final "pull" to the top of the mountain was excellent and had everything about it that we love in Snowdonia: rocky, steep, big views & a wild feel - we hadn't & weren't to - see another soul all day. The summit itself is decorated by a plaque in memory of a US Air Force Flying Fortress crew who crashed on the summit during the summer of 1943 whilst on a training flight from their base in Cambridgeshire. There's still some Aluminium wreckage & local people clearly continue to make a pilgrimage to the summit with poppies & crosses, very moving.
We opted for a lengthy descent along the ridge that runs generally in a northerly direction back to the road. It was fairly gentle, although a little boggy in its lower reaches and affords excellent views back up the mountain we had just climbed.