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Interesting spots Arenigs Fawr And Fach?

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pasbury 06 Sep 2019

In the spirit of my question about interesting spots in the Rhinogs that was so splendidly answered I’ll ask again about Arenigs Fawr and Fach, which I intend to wander over in a couple of weeks time.

Are there any sights I should make a detour to see? Archaeological, boulderological, geological, botanical (OK probably not in late September), geomorphological or just plain funky.

I plan on mooching around Carnedd y Filiast too (872 446).

Post edited at 19:44
 Myfyr Tomos 06 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Arenig Fawr is a wonderful viewpoint - keep it for a clear day. It gives a completely different perspective to the mountains of Snowdonia and is usually pretty quiet.

 On the 25,000 maps the summit is given the name of Moel yr Eglwys (The hill of the Church/place of worship). In Colin Gresham's superb "History of Merioneth Vol 1 there is mention of Eglwys Glominog on the top of Arenig Fawr with the walls being visible in 1860 and a sort of roof as recent as 1450!

The memorial plaque to the crew of the Flying Fortress which crashed on the summit on the 4th of August 1943 was replaced last Saturday by a group of local historians.

ps. Arenig Fach and Carnedd y Filiast are even quieter.

pasbury 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

Interesting! I presume no remains are visible now, or is there something worth looking for? Buildings don’t just disappear.

 alan moore 09 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Funny little Bothy by a dam on the Arenig. You pass it on the way up to the crag with the HVS,( Gwllym?) on it.

For Arenig Fach you should get back to that man Harold Dradso and his Migneint essay in The Classic Walks......"I once met a man on the Migneint....."

 Mike Peacock 09 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

I'd suggest an approach to Arenig Fach over the Mignient if you're feeling brave. It's a huge expanse of blanket bog, and incredibly wild. Start near the water works at SH 808 452, and peer into the Conwy gorge. For an easy start take the track along the Afon Serw to the bothy at Cefn Garw, or approach via Llyn Serw which is a lovely, remote lake. From Cefn Garw forge a way to Arenig Fach. The going is tough in places, but I think the Migneint has an incredibly special atmosphere that is worth experiencing.

For Carnedd y Filiast, maybe detour into Cwm Hesgyn past the house where Clyde Holmes, poet and artist lived.
https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/595352
http://footlesscrow.blogspot.com/2012/07/beyond-haloed-mountain.html

For Arenig Fawr, be sure to head off down the south ridge some way which is quite lovely hillwalking country. A big day can be had by linking it with Moel Llyfnant and Foel Boeth. Foel Boeth seems to be a hill that divides opinion, and is 'boring' according to many people, but I like it. On its north ridge look out for a memorial to Bonzo the dog:
https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/379233

And finally, I suggest a bonus Arenig top: Foel Goch (the one north of Bala). It's only just over 2000ft but is more like a mini range, full of undulating tops and small valleys. A day starting at the east end on the 522m summit, heading west to Garnedd Fawr, and returning via Moel Emoel would be a day well spent.

 wilkesley 09 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Moel Llyfnant is a great viewpoint too. If you ascend/descent the N. Ridge there are some abandoned farm houses on the path that leads back to the road.

 Myfyr Tomos 09 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Nothing of note left at the summit - from the accounts it wasn't much more than a little hovel at best and the remains were probably incorporated into the shelter wall and memorial cairn.

Read up on The Arenig School of artists, Augustus John, James Dickson Innes and Derwent Lees. They lived a wild and self-destructive lifestyle at Nant Ddu at the foot of Arenig Fawr from 1911 for a few years.

pasbury 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

> I'd suggest an approach to Arenig Fach over the Mignient if you're feeling brave. It's a huge expanse of blanket bog, and incredibly wild. Start near the water works at SH 808 452, and peer into the Conwy gorge. For an easy start take the track along the Afon Serw to the bothy at Cefn Garw, or approach via Llyn Serw which is a lovely, remote lake. From Cefn Garw forge a way to Arenig Fach. The going is tough in places, but I think the Migneint has an incredibly special atmosphere that is worth experiencing.

Not this time but the Migneint does have a mysterious pull on me...

> For Carnedd y Filiast, maybe detour into Cwm Hesgyn past the house where Clyde Holmes, poet and artist lived.https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/595352http://footlesscrow.blogspot.com/2012/07/beyond-haloed-mountain.html

Interesting, should be right in my path too. Is the house derelict?

> For Arenig Fawr, be sure to head off down the south ridge some way which is quite lovely hillwalking country. A big day can be had by linking it with Moel Llyfnant and Foel Boeth. Foel Boeth seems to be a hill that divides opinion, and is 'boring' according to many people, but I like it. On its north ridge look out for a memorial to Bonzo the dog:https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/379233

Yes i'd like to take in the whole ridge but finding a circular route taking in both Arenigs and Carnedd y Filiast is a bit tricky. Maybe I'll go up Arenig Fawr last and take the path to it's west then do the ridge South to North.

> And finally, I suggest a bonus Arenig top: Foel Goch (the one north of Bala). It's only just over 2000ft but is more like a mini range, full of undulating tops and small valleys. A day starting at the east end on the 522m summit, heading west to Garnedd Fawr, and returning via Moel Emoel would be a day well spent.

Another time - it's a Nuttall and I've decided to visit them all.

 Mike Peacock 09 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

I'm not sure what state the house is in - it's probably been about 6 years since I last passed.

If you were planning an overnight, and therefore a long circular walk, one option would be to link Carnedd y Filiast and Arenig Fawr via the east end of Llyn Celyn and over Mynydd Nodol. I've never been up but it's supposed to be a good top (and a Marilyn if you care for such things).

pasbury 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

> Read up on The Arenig School of artists, Augustus John, James Dickson Innes and Derwent Lees. They lived a wild and self-destructive lifestyle at Nant Ddu at the foot of Arenig Fawr from 1911 for a few years.

Wow, very interesting and inspiring. Live fast die young wasn’t invented by James Dean after all (or indeed Willard Motley).

This article is very good but doesn’t mention Lees at all; https://www.walesartsreview.org/sacred-mountain-the-last-years-of-artist-j-d-innes/

it is good on locations though.

Post edited at 20:28
 Myfyr Tomos 09 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Derwent Lees was a one legged schizophrenic Australian painter....

pasbury 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

> Derwent Lees was a one legged schizophrenic Australian painter....

This is going to going round and round in my head as I’m struggling up Arenig Fawr with a big pack on my back.... 😊

 Matt Podd 10 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Moel Llyfnant has a nice scrambling SE ridge. Arenig Fach is a great hill, but fairly pathless. A circuit of it around the lake is great. We saw Clyde Holmes paintings first at an exhibition in Machynlleth, and liked them so much we brought one - the most expensive picture we have ever brought at £800. Still glad we did. Years later we went up Carnedd Y Filiast and on the way down found the place where Clyde had painted our picture from.

Foel Goch is a lovely hill and well worth it for a short day. If I had not been trying to walk all the 2000ft hills in Wales I would not have visited many worthwhile hills, many of them very quiet.

There are many very good paintings of the area by the artists already mentioned - well worth looking at.

 Myfyr Tomos 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Matt Podd:

High up on the Moel Llyfnant ridge, did you find the trial level - a metal working probably dating from the late 19th/early 20th century Dolgellau goldrush. An impressive spot to be working, but a tad windy at times and a long commute.

pasbury 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Matt Podd:

I went up Moel Llyfnant last year from the south but didn't find any scrambling.

Must try harder 🙂.

pasbury 23 Sep 2019
In reply to all:

Many thanks for all your suggestions. I had a couple of days of exemplary Welsh bog and heather bashing.

Further observations may follow when I’m recovered.

Post edited at 00:13
pasbury 24 Sep 2019
In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

Thanks all for advice; my impressions

Carnedd y Filiast was surprisingly beautiful in ascent, I followed the vehicle track above Cwm Hesgyn and Clyde Holmes' house, the stretch past Nant-y-Coed and Llyn Hesgyn is particularly lovely.

Getting from Carnedd y Filiast to Arenig Fach is bloody hard work, there's a fence to follow (past several slate boundary posts) but it's very boggy and tussocky. Then the pull up to Llyn Arenig Fach is a heathery struggle. It felt very remote along this stretch, the chances of encountering anyone else was clearly nil. The Llyn is a good spot to kip.

Arenig Fach is almost pathless and a heathery thing, the north ridge is pretty steep, the descent to the south is pleasant over Y Foel, then becomes a steep ankle twisting grunt in waist deep heather.

I got up Arenig Fawr via the Afon Amnodd-Bwll valley past Amnodd Wen, which is in a pretty poor state, quite amusing to speculate on the antics of Augustus John et al in there (I think this was the actual house). I had an unusually powerful feeling of loneliness as I walked up this valley; not something I'm prone to.

Arenig Fawr is a truly great hill; the views outstanding because of the isolation and height, I went along the ridge from south to north. The memorial is poignant. The normal route past the lake and up Y Castell looks to be much the worst way to get up it.

The Cwm containing Llyn Arenig Fawr is superb and a picturesque if difficult place to camp. There's barely a square foot that isn't waist deep in bilberries, heather and reeds, plus it's full of ticks, I had to dispatch several as they crawled towards me across the tent floor! I didn't even look in the bothy as it sounded like there were about twenty people in there.

 Mike Peacock 24 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

That sounds like a memorable trip. I descended Arenig Fach to Carnedd y Filiast once and remember it being fairly rough and remote going. As for the bothy, it's unpleasant enough when empty, and must be hell when a lot of people try to squeeze in.

pasbury 24 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Just remembered, high up on a shoulder on the north side of Arenig Fach I spotted a small structure with a doorway, I was too far away to investigate - does anyone know what it is?

 Mike Peacock 24 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

It depends exactly where you mean. Peter Hermon mentions something in Hillwalking in Wales that could fit the bill. From the cairn at Carnedd y Cors Gam (813417) he says: "panting up the steep slopes beyond (past a primitive shepherd's hut) seems welcome relief and you will enjoy lunching on Arenig Fach's breezy top."

This one perhaps?
https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/353686

If you don't own the two volumes of Hermon's book I highly recommend them. They're essentially guides to all the Welsh Hewitts but each chapter (split by hill range) also has a few low level walk suggestions. For most tops he describes lots of routes, from the obvious to the very, very obscure.

pasbury 24 Sep 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

I do believe that’s the place. I took a photo from the top of the steep ascent from the north and it looks the same. There aren’t many shelters like this around are there? It’s a great building built from the large slabs around. Interesting that the text accompanying the photo says “The shelter on the north side of Arenig fach is much more substantial than others on the hill”, I’d be interested to see the others too.

I wonder how old it is and if anyone cares about it.

 Mike Peacock 25 Sep 2019
In reply to pasbury:

I don't know if/how many other shelters there are around I'm afraid. I'd assume that no one cares for it these days. Tangentially related, I have this fragment of text (originally in Welsh) from the area:

"Talk of the Migneint reminds one of some farmers who'd take their sheep to the mountain at the start of May, and stay there in their different habitats (*means more the area they work in in this context*) to shepherd them. Cynwal Hughes, Pennant; Sylfanus Jones, Eidda Fawr; William Williams, Pen Bedw a John Roberts, Blaen Eidda would be on the mountain for weeks. They had some kind of house there, Tŷ Bach Newydd, that was located conveniently nearby each habitat. They stayed there from one week to the next doing some shepherding, keeping each other company, divining (*lit.; means discussing divinity) and philosophising. They would come down to spend their Sundays, to change their clothes and attend chapel, before setting off again with a supply of the necessities to last a week. As they were able to dissassosciate themselves completely from the troubles of life, the Migneint was a heaven to them. Unfortunately, it came to the hay harvest, and they were very reluctant to turn their backs on the painless and carefree living they had on the mountain....... it's wonderful on the Migneint."


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