Located in southern Snowdonia, these are the prominent hills that can be seen as you drive on the A4212 passed Llyn Celyn. Arenig Fawr standing at 854m is on the left, its ridgeline very clear (when not draped in clag) and its sister peak, Arenig Fach (689m) the more rounded looking mountain to the right of the road.
By the time I had got there and parked up, checking my kit one last time to ensure I had everything for the days ahead, it was around 7pm. With the longer summer days this gave me plenty of time to reach the bothy at Llyn Arenig Fawr where I had planned to stay the night in front of a fire. I have stayed at the bothy many times before and although it is small and cosy I always find it vacant.
As I headed up the road, eventually turning right onto the path, the evening light lit up the surrounding hills with a golden hue. It was still warm and by the time I arrived at the bothy (which was vacant) I thought it would be a shame to choose bricks and mortar over canvas on a night like this so decided I would ascend Arenig Fawr and sleep near the summit. I always pack my tent and things even when I am planning to stay at a bothy. You never know, there may be no room at the inn.
Sitting there on that mountain, watching the most stunning sunset that left a night sky awash with a million stars I felt like I was home. There is something about the mountains and natural surroundings that speak to me. Almost like a primal connection or a natural reconnect, this is where I feel the happiest, the most fulfilled and the most like myself. There’s no pressures of the ‘Real World’ here. The ones that throw a million things that you should do/should be/shouldn’t do/shouldn’t be et al. at such an incredible pace.
Taking a step back from all that and just spending even the smallest time in natural surroundings can be so good for us as a species. We just need to remember that.
Noticing a bright satellite I soon realised it as the International Space Station. I watched it cross above me eventually fading and disappearing into the Earth’s shadow thinking how incredible it was that there are people on board all the way up there in orbit.
Needless to say I did not sleep much that night as I stayed up, awestruck by the skies above me. Meteors continued to burn through the atmosphere ranging from short fain whisps to bright, fire balls. The Milky Way arched over the skies above me and I thought about all the stories, myths and legends about the night sky that I had heard about over the years.
Whenever I look up at the night sky I always ponder about people across history who have looked up at that same sky and those same stars and wondered what their lives were like and what they were thinking at that time.
After a couple more hours kip followed by exploring the area and watching the wildlife I packed up and headed toward the summit of Arenig Fawr. It was another beautifully warm day with a scattering of cloud and I enjoyed taking my time as there was no rush. Reaching the summit and stopping at the memorial to show my respect I followed the path down towards the southern flank before dropping down to reach the head of the valley. Here I sat for a while with the Jetboil on and watched people parascending off Arenig Fawr’s western flanks. Taking the path to the west I headed up to the summit of Moel Llyfnant, saying hello to the first person I had seen in the hills. The wind had picked up by the time I got to the summit so I didn’t spend too long there before dropping back down to the path which met up with the route down the valley.