Corrugated iron farm building, photographed by Charles Hawes

A wildnerness walk in the Cambrian Mountains

May 3, 2015 · 9 comments

Quite a demanding trek over quite boggy ground in the Cambrian mountains below Plynlimon

Date walked: 27th February 2015

Distance: around 12 miles

Maps used: OS Explorer 215 Newtown and Machynlleth and 214

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Bob and I had stayed the night at The Mount Inn at Llanidloes. It wasn’t an altogether agreeable experience although the public bar itself  has a good feel to it with slate floors and  an open fire. We were not impressed with the rooms (which were in a different building); Bobs being shabby and lacking basic amenities (like soap) and my family room had all the character of a dishwasher. Bob thought his steak was good; mine wasn’t and the chips were wangy. The beer was fine. Breakfast, was very so-so and served on cold plates. We wouldn’t stay again.

For todays walk I had planned a trek through more isolated terrain, though yesterdays was only populated by ruins.  We took the wonderful road back to Dylife and then continued onto the ridiculous marker post….

Marker post near Dylife, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

I thought you might like to see this pic again, though

…..where a lay-by had just enough room for a couple of cars car.  We followed the wide track …..

Track off the mountain road near Dylife, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bit misty and overcast today

…..to the Glaslyn Nature Reserve….

The Glaslyn Nature Reserve, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Choosing here to give you the sense of wildness by avoiding the signs.

,….. but then forked right. The tussocky plateau of rusty coloured grass gave us a fine view towards a steep valley in the direction of Machynlleth.

View in the direction of Machynlleth from Glyndwr's Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Our confident dotted green line descended slightly, taking us passed a corrugated iron clad farm building….

Farm buildings of  Bugeilyn near Dylife, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

A good track for very little traffic, I suspect

… and a ruined cottage, marked on the map as Bugeilyn…

Bugeilyn cottage, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Sadly, I couldn’t find any more out about the cottage

…. before arriving at two small lakes linked by a small river.

The right-hand lake is called Lyn Cwm-byr. We could just about make out the wall of the dam which no doubt formed the feature.

Lyn Cwm-byr, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

I couldn’t find any references to this lake/reservoir

The larger one on the left is named Bugeilyn, after the cottage (or vice-versa). Our track passed between them and rose above the lake giving us a view over the incongruous (but rather sweet) boat house on its shore.

Bugeilyn lake and boat house, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

I couldn’t imagine when this boat house was used and by who

It was around here, that we went wrong, I think, seduced by the good track that curved around the hillside, giving us ever better views over the lake.

Bugeilyn lake near Dylife, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Beautiful, eh?

Bugeilyn lake  near Dylife, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bugeilyn lake near Dylife, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

If an upturned wellie on a stick was a message, we failed to read it.

View of Bugeilyn lake, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Or perhaps it was just a lost wellie

Suddenly our wide farm track became sheep sized, and rather wet.

Walking in the Cambrian Mountains below Foel Uchaf, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

I think of Bob as a Canary of the bogs

Boggy even, in places.

Boggy ground below Foel Uchaf, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

To be avoided at all costs

The next mile or so of more or less squelchy ground was punctuated by crossing several small streams that flowed into the Afon Hengwm over the our left.

Tributary of the Afon Hengwm, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

No, Bob, not there

Mostly this was achieved whilst maintaining dry feet, though sometimes it was touch and go.

Crossing a tributary of the Afon Hengwm, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Yes, that’s more like it

Walking above the Afon Hengwm, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Walking on this soft ground is quite taxing

We agreed that we were not taking any recognized footpath but we were also sure that other humans had used our route (possibly on a quad bike), which encouraged us to keep going; we knew that somewhere above us was a path proper and sometime we were going to re-join it.

And anyway, this was wonderfully empty and rugged countryside.

The Afon Hengwm, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Lovely example of a gently meandering river

On the far side of the river, the rocky hillside at the edge of Craig yr Eglwys exposed its twisted strata.

Craig yr Eglwys , Cambrain Mountains, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Craig yr Eglwys ( I think)

Cwm Gwerin, Cambrian Mountains, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Plynlimon is just out of sight to the right

Our river was joined by the smaller Afon Gwerin, which tumbled down the bottom of  Cwm Gwerin , a glacially formed valley.

At this confluence of water courses were the first signs of occupation that we had seen for a while, a low wall suggesting a sheep pen….

Sheep pen? below Cwm Gwerin, Cambrian Mountains, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

That’s my best guess, anyway.

….and nearby a ruin of what might have been a substantial cottage.

 

Ruined cottage below Cwm Gwerin, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

No problems from neighbor noise if you lived here.

I was getting cold now so I was glad to have with me a rather fetching pink Buff. Cue for a picture (thanks Bob).

Charles Hawes in the Cambrian Mountains below Cwm Gwerin

Me in my Buff (and Montane jacket)

This very light and thin garment (which has good UV protection, though not tested today) sits comfortably as a neck-warmer but stretches to form a snug headscarf (you can make it into a pirate look if you prefer) that did a good job of keeping my ears warm. It’s breathable, too (what isn’t?). You can see all their charity fundraising ones at Kitshack. End of Product Placement.

It had been my plan to follow the river to near where it enters the Nant-y-moch reservoir, which we had got close to on our walk over Plynlimon last year.  (have another look) But progress had been a bit slow and we decided instead to find the path above us that crosses over banc Lluestnewydd. But first a bit more boggy walking.

Track near the Nant y Moch resrvoir below Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

When you get a bit fed up with boggy paths you can always fall back on it being Good Exercise

Then a bit of scrambling was required up the hillside until we could see the path coming away from the river that we would take for our revised route.

Valley below Plynlimon and view to the Nant y Moch resevoir, photographed by Charles Hawes

That’s the Nant y moch reservoir in the distance

Time for a bit of a rest and our sandwiches. And to admire the lichen-covered boulders.

Lichen on boulder, photographed by Charles Hawes

Lovely stuff,lichen

We picked our way through the rocks to reach our new track. The higher ground and gravel surface was better drained, for which we were grateful; my boots were damp enough.

Track leading from Nant y moch reservoir, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

The view looking back towards Plynlimon

There was another little river below us now draining the boggy land- the Afon Hyddgen.

The Afon Hyddgen, Cambrian Mountains, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Georgeous

About a mile up the track another dropped down to the property called Hyddgen; we thought the No through Road sign a good joke.

No though Road sign at Hyddgen, Cambrian Mountains, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

There would be a lot of these in Wales if every dead end track had one

Our path took us straight into a conifer plantation, passing a memorial to a shepherd,  David Richards, a previous occupant of Hyddgen. (who died from warming up too quickly after getting frozen looking for his sheep – its a great story which I knew nothing about until I found the above link when writing this up).

Memorial to david Morgan, near Hyddgen, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

I don’t think I’d bother with the flowers

In the heart of the wood, a crossways of the forestry tracks demanded a consultation with our map….

Forestry plantation below Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

We were in little doubt that a right turn was required, but what little doubt we had was extinguished by a crusty finger post.

Finger post in woods near Hyddgen Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Stop being picky, I know that we are not on horses

We left the forest at its eastern edge, continuing  to climb gently on a well surfaced track.

Llanidloes day 2-55

Over to our left the steep upper sides of Dulas Gorge came into view as we headed back to the dammed lakes that we had passed by earlier.

Upper Dulas Gorge, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

A woman cycled towards us making me think that it was late in the day to be heading out. Ahead- a couple more people were exploring the dam.

Dam at Lyn Cwm-byr, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

Just before we reached the dam was the best view we had had of the horseshoe of  valleys that faced Machynlleth.

Deep valley near the Dulas Gorge Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

The cascade of overflow from the dam was a photographic treat.

Cascade at Lyn Cwm-byr, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

And the lake with its little island was looking atmospheric in the now late afternoon light.

Lyn Cwm-byr, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes

OK Charles, stop using cliche’s

Our path took us round Lyn  Cwm-byr……

Lyn Cwm-byr, Powys, photographed by Charles Hawes….. and then dropped down towards  the ruined cottage we had passed near the start of the walk, giving us another view of the boathouse on .

Boat House on Bugeilyn, Powys, photographed by Charles HawesBob passed the farm building without so much as a glance at it, but I was bowled over by the beautiful colours in its rusted side. Stunning.

Rusted corrugated Iron sides of farm building at Bugeilyn photographed by Charles Hawes

Rusted corrugated Iron sides of farm building at Bugeilyn photographed by Charles Hawes

As good looking as Corton Steel, much less expensive, but rather slow to achieve the effect

Bob, I think, was thinking about a drink. Quite right, too. We deserved one. (well, rather more than one).

Track leading away from Glaslyn Nature Reserve, photographed by Charles Hawes

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

David Marsden May 3, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Start collecting the wellies, Charles. They’ll come in handy on walks like these. That has to be the most lichen-y finger post I’ve ever seen. Did you stroke it? I would have. Beautiful photos as ever (annoyingly). But please stick with the blue panama, would you? I’m unconvinced by you in the buff (if you see what I mean). D

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Charles May 4, 2015 at 8:43 am

Thanks Rob, they can be a fickle lot, my commentators. Yes, packed with drama and event. Maybe I should allow more time for posts to front page .Worry not, though- I’ve 6 more WCP posts to come.

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Charles May 4, 2015 at 8:49 am

The thing is that some poor sod will be walking along thinking ” my left foot is getting rather wet” and then realise that they have lost a wellie and come limping back for it, so it wouldn’t be fair to pop it in the bag.
No, I didn’t stroke the post. I can’t explain why. Probably goes back to my childhood. I think I look good in the buff but it may be a minority view.

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James Golden May 3, 2015 at 6:42 pm

1. I wish I knew how to pronounce those Welsh names.
2. Beautiful landscape. You’re to be congratulated for doing this.
3. In Amerika, you couldn’t do this. You’d encounter “Keep Out” and “Private Property” signs everywhere. Keep to the public roads or you may be shot. Come to think of it, you may be shot on public roads too.

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Charles May 4, 2015 at 8:57 am

Welsh pronunciation is easy. First off, pop a few pebbles in you mouth. Then talk with a lisp. Everyone will understand. There is something very special about these wild places. I reckon we should go for a walk in the Brecon Beacons rather than visit gardens when you visit. A night out beneath the stars? We do plenty of “Private” signs – but mostly when they might be read.

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Paul Steer May 3, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Your lichens are lovely – and your rust. James Golden gives us a reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a country that gives us so much freedom to roam. (Just need to point out that Welsh pronunciation is not one of Charles’ strong points – much like my grammar! )

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Charles May 4, 2015 at 9:00 am

Thanks Paul. The rust was especially lovely. We are thinking of some Corton Steel for the New Garden. We are indeed very fortunate. Plenty more roaming to do!

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John May 4, 2015 at 8:34 am

In Charles’ case, “freedom to roam” is irrelevant. Have you ever known him to be deterred or even impeded slightly by “keep out” or “private property” signs, warnings about unexploded bombs, barbed wire, cage fences, walls, hedges, ditches or occupiers of lurid pink houses? And we need to add map-reading to his list of non-strong points. But we are indeed fortunate that as well as being a walker, Charles is an artist – seeing photographic opportunities that many would dismiss. Until now I would never have seen any beauty in rust!

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Charles May 4, 2015 at 9:12 am

Ah, I think you have hit the nail on its rusty head. I see all these signs as invitations to explore for the adventurously spirited. At Bodnant I once nipped over a “Private sign” in The Dell to find the lake and boathouse and took some lovely pics, one of which was published in a feature I did for Saga magazine. I was then informed that Lady Aberconway was a bit peeved about this cos it was considered part of her private garden. (I understand that they are allowing the public in there this year). Yes, I like to think of it as “creative map reading”. I think it will catch on.

Reply

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