The Aran's of Mid Wales are a line of Mountains stretching from North to South in the Dovey Valley and covering some 7 Miles.
They are the big brother to Cadair Idris which is to its South West.
The range has some 6 summits in a line with further peaks to the East / South East.
To the North is the 2nd highest Aran Benllyn (885m) which slopes off down to the shores of Bala Lake,in between the two big guns lays Erw-y-Ddafad-ddu (872m).Other satelite peaks are Waun Camddwr (621m) Gwaun-y-Llwyni (685m) and at the far south of the range is Pen-y-Bryn-fforchog (685m) which looks over Cwm Cywarch.
The Highest,Aran Fawddwy at 905m (2969ft) is the second highest mountain outside the Snowdon area,below is the dark waters of Creiglyn Dyfi.
There are numerous ways to the summit from all directions,with the approach from Cwm Cywarch being the most popular with a circuit clockwise up to Waun Camddwr,up to the summit and down Drysgol where you pass a Monument to a Man from the Mountain Rescue Service who was tragically killed by lightening in 1960.
From the East of Wales and England the A458 from welshpool brings you into Mallwyd where the Brigands Inn Public House stands next to the the Roundabout, turn right onto the A470 Nth for the village of Dinas Mawddwy,in the Village turn right next to the Llew Coch (Red Lion) to head up to Llanymawddwy and the Pass of the Cross which at 545m is the highest pass in wales.
After a mile or so in a dip by a row of houses on your left is the turn for Cwm Cywarch.Travel around 4 miles to when you get to an open moorland,at the end is parking on the verge either side of the road.
From here the cliffs of Craig Cywarch rise steeply above you.
Walk up the lane where you will see a ford and footbridge on the right,with a sign for the Aran Fawddwy.
Straight on is the steep sided valley up to Waun Camddwr where the path follows a stream and passes the Staffordshire Mountaineering Club Hut.
From the Nth the A494 to Bala offers parking,a National Park Tourist Office,Hotels, Restaurants and B+B's.
But is still a way from the range so a start further south from Llanuwchllyn on the B4403 just south of Llyn Tegid would be a better starting option.
There are no passes or red tape in Wales but Private Farmland in not permitable to walk upon,however since the Countryside Right of Way Act was intoduced much has been opened up.
Buy yourself an Ordnance Survey Explorer Map of the area (OL 23) which now shows all areas which can be walked on.
Also enquire at the Tourist Office in Bala or Dollgellau.
When To Climb
The Mountain can be climbed all year,with various Rock Climb's also staying in condition for most of the year on Craig Cywarch,Creigiau Sawdl Efa,Gist Ddu to name but a few.
Camping is in abundance in Mid Wales,there are site's at Bala near the lake,at Llanuwchllyn and Brithdir.
Camping is permitted on the Mountain but care should be taken and all rubbish taken home with you!
Condition's vary alot in Wales from dry,sunny evening's to heavy wet downpours.The Internet and TV still offer the best options with www.metoffice.co.uk offering a weather watch for the National Park.