Snowdonia is one of Britain’s most popular spots for mountain walking, but you can still find glorious solitude amongst the hills if you know which ones to ascend (the summit of the highest peak, Snowdon, definitely not being one of them!). The Aran Ridge, to the south of Bala, is a good example. This 15-km linear route along the 900-metre high ridge requires you to leave a vehicle at either end (or an expensive taxi journey) unless you want to retrace your steps, so it remains relatively untrodden. Yet for those who choose to take on the walk the rewards are ample. Rising gradually from the village of Llanuwchllyn the Aran Ridge eventually tops out on the 905-metre summit of Aran Fawddy, from where there are some of the best views in Wales. To the north the main peaks of Snowdon rise proudly; to the west you can see the lovely coastline of Cardigan Bay; south lies the remote massif of the Cambrian Mountains; and eastwards twinkle the waters of Bala Lake. There’s a thoroughly enjoyable tramp along the tops for a couple of kilometres or so before you descend to the delightful, unspoilt Cywarch Valley, above which the hills rise with remarkable grandeur – and the chances are you’ll see no more than a handful of other walkers along the way.
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