Sunday, 9 October 2016

Yr Aran and Gallt y Wenallt

Walk Summary
Y Lliwedd on way down Yr Aran. At this stage
I was under the mis-guided impression it was Gallt y Wenallt
This route was originally planned as a there and back option to Yr Aran from Nantgwynant. Having spotted Nantgwynant it became apparent that it was also a suitable access point for Gallt y Wenallt another there and back option. It did not take long to progress to the next stage and do them both in a single day as a Y shaped walk rather than accessing Gallt y Wenallt from Pen y Pass up the miners path retracing tracks taken last May when I did not have time to pick it off as part of the Snowdon Horseshoe.
Starting from the lay-by (free) on the A498 immediately south of Cafe Gwynant I set off up the PROW which is also turns out to be the Watkin Path, which I did not realise at the time. The plan was to make use of the 'incline' created by the mine workers of days gone by, to the branch of the intersection of the two routes but I declined both options on the basis of their steepness. The first sight of the incline was at least a 15' climb.
Sticking with the Watkin Path reaching the branch to 
Gallt y Wenallt just above the Afon Llan falls I noted the descent and decided to look for a better exit point higher up with less descent, which I found about 350m further up the path at the ford near some old mine buildings.
It was at this point looking up at a hillside covered in cloud that the seeds of an unexpected five Nuttall day were sown.

Scorched earth from recent crash site of RAF helicopter
on summit of Yr Aran
Continuing along the Watkin Path and rounding the next bend the first sight of Yr Aran came in to view and time to leave the Watkin Path. Rather than head for Bwlch Cwm Llan I decided to head straight for Yr Aran with a view to descending in to the Bwlch from the summit thereby departing from the there and back nature of the route.
Once at the summit, after photos and other summit rituals (GPS tracking, peakbagger, peakhunter, and uk-trigpointing) I looked round and saw what I thought was the still cloud shrouded summit, but clear hillside. What is more I could see a very distinct path leading to the bwlch. Without further ado I looked down to Bwlch Cwm Llan and traced a route along a wall then across Cwm Llan and up to the path. It was so obvious I did not even have to refer to the map!!!!
Brilliant I had contrived to create a circular route for the day. It was not until I was nearly at the bottom of Cwm Llan that I thought to check my bearings and being unable to line up the summits with the map decided to get out my GPS. It then became apparent I was heading for the wrong hill and what is more the distinctive path was indeed what I now realise to be the Watkin Path up to Bwlch Ciliau between Snowdon and Y Lliwedd.
All smiles.
Over dosing on Mountain Prozac on Y Lliwedd summit
Had it been later on in the year I would have had to have headed back along the Watkin path back to the Y intersection to have time to visit Gallt y Wenallt. But it was a lovely warm sunny October day and still only 12:30 with at least six hours of good daylight remaining. So having made the error decided to cover it up by claiming I wanted a circular route and take the opportunity to get in some more scrambling practice up the NW ridge of Y Lliwedd.
This was the same route as the one I took on the Snowdon Horseshoe last May, however the track log shows I took a different line up what I think is just about a Grade 1 scramble.

After the three extra Llwedd Nuttalls which were without doubt a real bonus I was back on the original approach route to Gallt y Wenallt. Instead of continuing down to the Miners Track after Lliwedd Bach descent, turn right at the cairn along the 1km bumpy ridge to Gallt y Wenallt.
Looking down on Gallt y Wenallt from Lliwedd Bach,
Moel Siabod beyond
Now that I am on it I am thinking I am pleased I do not have to return this way, however there are several high points much lower than the actual summit to the east and I walk over each of them just in case they are an "undiscovered Nuttall". The most likely possibility seemed to be on the 694m spot height, their is definitely a 680m contour with most of the 690m contour being obscured by the number, but unfortunately the 680m contour does not join to encircle the 694m spot height. Now I am home studying the map the 649m spot height is the only possibility with a 640m contour encircling it there might be a possibility of between a 6m and nearly 10m drop to qualify it for the magic 15m. One thing for sure it's new found status would not be affected by the OS datum change. In any event I walked over them all and photographed the 694m spot height to avoid being caught out by another marginal and just in case there is a 445th  Nuttall lurking. All that remained after visiting Gallt y Wenallt was to find the natural line from the summit down the planned ascent route to the old mine workings on the SE flank of Lliwedd Bach and then the easy follow path back to the intersection with the Watkin Path on the other side of the Afon Llan Falls.
Glimpse of Llyn Gwynant on the left
on way down to Nantgwynant
It has been a constant source of hilarity to a number of my friends that I went up the wrong hill. You know who you are. However it turned out to be an extra five Nuttall day and also a route I would recommend especially if you have not already done the Snowdon Horseshoe, leaving the option of a Crib Goch traverse either from Llanberis via Snowdon or as already done last May from Pen y Pass. However the Snowdon Horseshoe is a Hill walking classic not to be missed, but today has shown me that the best route to Gallt y Wenault is from Nantgwynant. Unless of course one of those spot height turns out to be a Nuttall.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 09 October 2016
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Coed-Y-Llwyn Caravan Club Site
Start Point - Layby south of Cafi Gwynant on A498 (SH 62660 50404)
Start Time - 09:33
Finish Point Layby south of Cafi Gwynant on A498 (SH 62660 50404)
Finish Time- 17:07
Total Duration - 7hrs 34mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.35mph
Total Distance Walked - 10.21 miles
Total Height Ascended - 1562.64metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (189W - 444E&W)
Yr Aran (164W - 419E&W)
Y Lliwedd (138W - 391E&W) (first visited 23 May 2016)
Y Lliwedd East Top (139W - 392E&W) (first visited 23 May 2016)
Lliwedd Bach (140W - 393E&W) (first visited 23 May 2016)
Gallt y Wenallt (165W - 420E&W)
Hewitts (138W - 318E&W)
Yr Aran (115W - 295E&W)
Y Lliwedd (99W - 278E&W) (first visited 23 May 2016)
Marilyns (158W - 1556E,W&S)
Yr Aran (93W - 261E,W&S)
Y Lliwedd (84W - 246E,W&S) (first visited 123 May 2016)
Deweys (241W - 421E&W)
HuMPs (364W - 2975EW&S)
Yr Aran (109W - 344E,W&S)
Y Lliwedd (98W - 327E,W&S) (first visited 23 May 2016)
Historic County Tops (413E - 93E,W&S)
W: Wales. 
E,W: England & Wales. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Other walks on this trip
07th Calf Top
08th Moel Siabod
09th Yr Aran & Gallt y Wenaullt
11th The Manods & Moel Penamnen from Blaenau Ffestiniog
12th The Cnichts
13th Moel Hebog - The Beddgelert Three
14th Moel-y-Gest
15th Five Nuttalls of the Central Rhinogs
18th Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt
19th Rhinog Fawr from Cwm-bychan Farm
21st Gorllwyn & Drygarn Fawr
22nd Pen y Garn
22nd Bryn y Fan
24th Foel Goch and the four Deweys from Bala C&CC campsite
25th North West Arans

GPX can be downloaded from
More Photographs
The Nantlle Ridge and Moelwyn Mawr from Yr Aran
Click on photograph to view slide-show