Arenig Fawr

Arenig Fawr from Cae-garnedd on the shore of Llyn Celyn


11 August 2012

Arenig, Snowdonia

SH 82700 36950; 52.91711°N, 3.74600°W


At 854m, Arenig Fawr (‘Great High Ground’) is the highest of the Arenig mountain range in Snowdonia. It lies six miles to the west of Bala and is close to Llyn Celyn reservoir.

At the summit there is a memorial to the eight US airmen from 303rd Bomb Group killed when their Boeing Flying Fortress crashed into the mountain in 1943. Arenig Fawr was also the scene of another crash in May 1964 when a Folland Gnat from Number 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley struck the mountain. On that occasion, the crew had safely ejected from the aircraft.

In the early 20th century, the mountain featured prominently in the work of a group of three artists — James Innes, Derwent Lees and Augustus John — known collectively as the Arenig School, which had its heyday in the pre-war years 1911 to 1913. The artists were at the forefront of a style known as ‘automatic’ painting. Their technique involved wandering about all day in the hills, stopping only when the conditions were just right and then painting impulsively until the sky changed and the moment was lost.

Painters at their peak: the forgotten wild men of Arenig (the guardian)

Ordnance Survey benchmark, summit trig point

Looking towards Arenig Fach from the summit of Arenig Fawr

6 thoughts on “Arenig Fawr

  1. I have often thought of climbing Arenig fawr, so far we’ve limited ourselves to exploring the granite quarry…very predictable! I think James Dickson Innes has to be my favourite painter in the group, I’ve always felt John to be over-rated, despite loving his “Blue Pool. Anyway, fascinating link and post, as ever!


    • The summit is supposed to afford some of the finest panoramas in Wales, with distant mountain ranges lying in all directions. I shall, however, have to wait until some future visit to verify this, as the weather failed to cooperate properly this time!

      I walked through the quarry on the way back down… didn’t spot anything of particular interest there.

      I have to confess to not being at all familiar with the works of the Arenig School, but later thought that I should perhaps have coloured in the sky in my opening shot in some nice purple tones 😉


  2. How strange. Don’t really know much about Arennig, and enjoyed your post this morning, then a few hours later read the statements of some game keepers of Lord Penrhyn’s about an accident where ond of the beaters was shot in the foot, at the bottom of Arenig. I could visualise the whole thing having just seen your pics. Thanks.


  3. Pingback: Arenig Fawr « GeoTopoi

  4. Pingback: Arenig Fawr – views from the summit « GeoTopoi

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