Post image for Cambrian Way day 19: Dyffryn Castell to Dylife

Cambrian Way day 19: Dyffryn Castell to Dylife

December 10, 2017 · 10 comments

A very taxing 12 mile walk in the rain on boggy ground, following the Cambrian Way  in Powys from Dyffryn Castell to Dylife via Plynlimon. Not a lot of fun.

Date walked: 23rd October 2017

Distance: 12.6 miles according to the guide book

Maps used:

OS Explorer 213: Aberystwyth&Cwm Rheidol

OS Explorer 214: Llanidloes &Newtown

OS Explorer 215: Newtown & Machynlleth

(just as well that I had downloaded all these and the route onto my phone – not that it stopped us from wading through a lot of boggy ground)

Guide book: Cambrian Way by A.J. Drake

*****

There are days when walking is no fun. This was going to be one of those days. It was raining. Heavily. Paul and I (Neil’s absence is a long story; all you need to know is that I will be doing these next two walks again with him anon) had booked into The Star at Dylife for three nights, and had come up the night before.

This isolated Inn is on the route of the Cambrian Way, so all we needed to do after our Full English (I guess the produce might have been Welsh, but probably not the tinned tomatoes – I have not had them offered in a cooked breakfast for many years) was to get in my car and drive back to where we had left off in June.  Why so long since our last leg? The dedicated followers here will know that in the meantime I have had a painful knee problem investigated and successfully treated by an arthroscopy.

It was 45 minute drive to the car park of the ex-hotel at Dyffryn Castell and the weather had not improved one bit by the time we got there.

Car park at Dyffryn Castell on the Cambrian Way, photographed by Paul Steer

Thanks to Paul for setting our somewhat miserable scene 

I was trying out a new pair of Hi-Tec Ravine walking boots. They claim to be waterproof  which was reassuring.

Charles Hawes on the Cambrian Way at Dyffryn Castlell, photographed by Paul Steer

I’m not wearing a silly hat – it’s just how my hood was sitting

Paul had purchased a new Osprey rucksack for the occasion with a day-glo lime green cover.

Paul Steer photographed on the Cambrian Way at Dyffryn Castell by Charles Hawes

Paul looking as intrepid as he is able

A finger-post gave us a clear indication of where to start and we set off up the quite steep hillside, following the Nant Bowen …

View to Dyffryn Castell and Nant Bowen from the Cambrian Way, photographed by Paul Steer

Another of Paul’s pics

…. which rushed  down the little valley to our left.

Nant Bowen on the Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

A Paul pic of me forging ahead

It was wet, but not cold, and soon I began to overheat and had to lose a layer. As we climbed, so it began to get very misty and our path was quite indistinct at times (well, most of the time, really).

Charles Hawes on the Cambrian Way approaching Plynlimon from Dyffryn Castell, photographed by Paul Steer

Thanks again to Paul for the pic – I’m not paying him!

We climbed about 1000 feet on this very soggy ground; crossing several stiles…..

The Cambrian Way approaching Plynlimon from Dyffryn Castell, photographed by Charles Hawes

The stiles were very slippery!

…..before reaching the edge of a plantation of conifers.

Charles Hawes on the edge of the Blaen Peithant wood on the Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Looking pretty damp

At this point Paul declared his boots to be leaking, which was a bit of a blow, less than two miles into the walk. Mine were holding up.

This degree of wet is a challenge, I think, for any boots

Our route continued to be very boggy at times, though we were grateful that for a while we were on a firm, wide forest track.

Leaving the wood we climbed again for another 400 feet into the mist, following a stock fence as our only visible reference point.

The Cambrian Way approaching Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

I reckon we could see nor more than about 50 metres

We reached a large cairn as we approached the summit of Plynlimon

Cairn near Plynlimon photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Paul looking ever so slightly pissed off?

….before the trig point at 2,467 feet came into view.

Approaching the trig point at Plynlimon, photographed from the Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Paul’s pic again

The visibility was so poor that the trig point and its adjacent stone shelter were all we could see here. Still, a selfie had to be taken.

Paul Steer and Charles Hawes at the trig point of Plynlimon

You’ll have to trust me that we at the trig point

We took a break at this point, huddled in the walled “shelter”. Paul took his boots off and wrung out his socks.  This was not good.

Shelter cairn next to the summit of Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

Doing our best to be cheerful

It was rather frustrating knowing that from here, on a clear day, we would have had some fabulous views. Here’s a pic I took on an earlier visit.

View from the summit of Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

Tragic!

From Plynlimon the Cambrian Way has no footpath to follow for several miles. The Guide indicates that we should keep to the side of a fence.  We plodded along the rough and saturated ground, passing by the unmarked and unsigned source of the River Wye. Generally, there wasn’t much to see. A small pond we passed was marked on the map. That’s always reassuring when one is on an “undefined” route.

Poind near Plynlimon, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Pond

We both really loved the tapestry of colours in the reedy grasses.

Grasses on the Cambrian Way near Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

Beautiful

We passed an intriguing stone marked “W.W.W” and dated 1865.  The Cambrian Way website identifies this as a marker stone of the land of one Sir Watkin Williams-Wynne. 

Boundary stone of William Watkins Wynn'es land on Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Impossible not to think of the Internet

Other than this, the most interesting feature for a couple more miles was a large lump of peat.

Peat on the Cambrian Way near Plylimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

Look, beggars can’t be choosers at this visibility

Our “path” gave us the regular opportunity to wade through and by large puddles, during which my boots began to ship water. What larks.

But we passed another boundary stone to amuse us…..

Boundary stone of Watkin Williams-Wynne on the Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

… and a lot more grass…..

The Cambrian Way near Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

… and another boundary stone.

Boundary stone of Watkin Williams-Wynne on the Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

… and another pond….

Pond on the Cambrian Way near Plynlimon, photographed by Charles Hawes

… and yet another boundary stone.

Boundary stone of Watkin Williams-Wynne, photographed on the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

We were in danger of getting over-excited at this point, so coming across a stile over the fence and a real footpath made us quite giddy. This point, apparently, was where we might make a half a mile detour to see the source of the River Severn.  We gave this serious consideration and declined; our experience of water that day having already been quite satisfied.

Here our Guide says to “strike down the easy slopes of Carn Fawr to a footbridge”. Hmm. On the map this looked as if it should be a continuation of the direction we had been going in. We tried that and found no hint that other humans had been there. So we went back to the stile and took instead the path crossing the stile. This was a proper path….

Cambrian Way near the source of the River Severn, photographed by Charles Haswes

But it was not shown on the map

… which led us passed another boundary stone….

Boundary stone of Watkins-Williams-Wynn photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Not a good omen

…and then stopped. Or petered out. Or some bastard had hidden it. In any case we found ourselves tramping over a lot of very rough, very wet, very boggy ground. The only good thing to say about this was that the mist had lifted so we knew where we were (in a manner of speaking).

Undefined route of Cambrain Way near Carn Fawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

All of which made this very tiring

Oh, there was one other interesting thing. We came across some very gloopy stuff which was a complete mystery. We saw several patches of this in the day.

It was like big blobs of frog spawn without the frog

This section really was quite horrid and to make matters worse at one point Paul cried out in pain when something happened in his groin that shouldn’t have.

Eventually we got to the track where I could say for certain where we were and dosed Paul up with co -codamaol. I was on familiar territory again here as Bob and I had been here two years previously (see http://charleshawes.veddw.com/other-walks/plynlimon/)

Track leading to Bugeilyn, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

There was nowhere to sit and wait for it to kick in so we slowly carried on, grateful that at least that the track’s surface was firm, if still waterlogged in places. It led past a lake called Bugeilyn. 

Do have a look at the link above, it is a description from an agency trying to sell this moor and offers a “tutored wilderness immersion weekend”.

Bugeilyn lake, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

We were experiencing an untutored total immersion day

The track crossed the lake by the old boat house. Pause for a pic

Charles Hawes on the Cambrian Way at Bugeilyn , photographed by Charles Hawes

That is not a droopy moob – it’s my camera

 

Cambrain Way near Bugeilyn, photographed by Charles Hawes

One sheep does not a swallow make

….climbing to the ruins of the property also called Bugeilyn.

Bugeilyn ruin, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

According to the map a footpath should have taken us off this track and towards our destination but if it was there I missed it (I didn’t tell Paul this for fear he might cry or hit me). In fact it was only a little bit longer to stay on our track which curved eastwards and joined Glyndwr’s Way.

Cambrian Way approaching Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

Paul was feeling a bit more comfortable by now and began to pick up speed as he usually does when we approach the finish of a walk (or it might have been because the light was beginning to fade).

Glyndwr's Way and the Cambrian Way near Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

Around there, and for the first time in the day, the skies lifted and we finally had a nice view over the Clywedog valley.

Clywedog Valley, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

The scars of mining were clearly visible in the valley and on the trip that Bob and I had made here a couple of years ago we also walked down there. (click this link for that walk)

I kept a careful eye on our route at this point, making sure that we kept to the path leading away from the valley and towards the Inn. At the crest of the hill the pub was just half  a mile away, which made Paul very happy.

View to the Star Innat Dylife, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

One of those times when you are very happy to think you have nearly finished

What made him less happy was that we had one more rather unpleasant little boggy valley to negotiate which I insisted we take rather than the slightly longer route by the road. Sorry Paul.

Having got to the pub it was extraordinarily hard to face the fact that we couldn’t just shower and change and collapse in the bar as we had to drive back in Paul’s car to retrieve my own.   That was an hour and a half’s round trip and I resented every minute of it. Not a mature position I know.  Also I still feel pretty disappointed that the pub has no draught beer. That is unforgivable.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

David Marsden December 10, 2017 at 7:58 am

Pity poor Charles. There is so much grief here: ceaseless rain, tinned tomatoes (useful for cleaning a smelly dog – did I tell you that already?), non-draught beer, a plague of jelly, anguish, wet feet, groin strain and a resentful car journey. I’ve used up a whole box of tissues. Thank you for doing the walk in those conditions, so I don’t have to. May the sun shine on your upturned face next time, Dave

Reply

Charles December 10, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Most people seem to object to being pittied, but it’s fine by me. And indeed, there was a catalogue of aspects to the day that were deserving of pity. However, no indulgences are earned by you reading this. You must make your own pilgrimage. I thank you, though, for your good thoughts for next time.

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Bob December 10, 2017 at 8:29 am

Feel cold and wet laid in bed reading this blog.and then no draught beer.just as well you were with PAUL who I suspect is more toleratant of your poor advance research than I would have been.
A good pair of waterproof sock does sometimes mitigate against leaky boots.

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Charles December 10, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Jet lagged? Or just depressed at England’s lacklustre performance. Either way its good to have you back. Really there wasn’t any other sensible choice for a place to stay. Yes, I lent Paul the waterproof socks you gave me for the next day; I had a pair of fresh boots. (Or bottes in French – 67% fluent I am).

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Neil December 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

Horrid…! (Although that peat clump looked fascinating)…
I’m making sure that when we go (again, for you), it will be sunny, firm underfoot, and clear footpaths all the way ?

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Charles December 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm

OK, well good luck with that programme for when we do it. I suspect it will take the summer of ’76 to give us those conditions and then it’ll be too hot.

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John December 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

Once again the artist suffers for his art and in order to entertain us. Either that or you have a sado-masochistic streak and relish the punishment. Be careful of those standing stones in the mists – elves hide behind them to catch unwary travellers. I don’t think anyone honestly knows what those jelly-like lumps are. Some say regurgitated by herons as often found near water; deer stalkers insist that they’re stag semen as they’re often found where deer roam. The paragraph immediately following that photo is, of course, pure co-incidence but I hope Paul has fully recovered from whatever it was. I guess if you walk through puddles that are deeper than the top of your boots, you really want them to leak!

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Charles December 10, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Yes a bit of S&M is my only weakness. I don’t believe in Elves. Or dragons. Or most of what passes for Welsh culture. Look, just because you and Google don’t know what the blobs are, it doesn’t mean no one does. I will find that person who does one day. The next day is much nicer.

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Paul Steer December 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

What wonderful memories , I can still feel the pain 🙂

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Charles December 10, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Poor, wee, thing. You must get repaired.

Reply

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