Thursday, 7 June 2012

Pumlumon


After twice attempting to visit Pumlumon and not getting there it was a case of sitting down with the map and having a re think. The obvious answer had been staring  me in the face all along. It just. required a different approach. Possibly a slightly roundabout way of approaching things. Thus it was that on the Thursday that I was on the train to Aberystwyth.



As the train headed down the Dovey valley I noted the thick, lowering clouds that where blanketing the surrounding hills. It was drizzling at Aberystwyth as I walked around to the bus station. It was a relief to find  that my information in regards to bus times was correct. This time I was heading up the A44 to Nant y Arian. Conditions worsened as the bus climbed higher and soon we where in thick, wet fog. Getting off the bus, the silence hit me. After the rattle and roar of the bus, there was a silent stillness, everything swathed in the clinging fog, muffled, soundless, spooky! A quick change in to waterproofs, a check of the map and I was soon heading uphill. Having walked this way some years back I was fairly confident of  the first section of my route. However, walking in such poor visibility meant a constant checking of the map. Up past Pen Darren. and I had to pay attention to where I was heading. The map, though accurate, hardly corresponds with what is on the ground. The map shows the main bridleway bearing off to the left with a footpath leading straight ahead. In fact the main track goes straight on. Heading around and following a rough, well rutted track down the hill and across a minor road, on to an even rougher track. A tricky ford and on to Nant Dinas. Time was getting on, it was getting wetter and visibility was  poor. Was glad to get the tent up and a hot drink on.
Friday. Woke to calm conditions and with only the tops shrouded in cloud. Some pleasant walking over to Aber Peithnant. A drop down to a footbridge over the river, another climb up to the road with a pause to put waterproofs back on. Not heavy rain but thin drizzle carried on a steady breeze. Picking up the path I wanted at Hrnant proved a tad illusive. There was a faint outline of a path or a sheep trod. At least a  style indicated I was heading in the right direction. Coming on to the forestry track that led over to Blaen  Peithnant, I thought maybe I had some easy walking. Big mistake! Pausing at the bridge over the Ceunant Du, it was obvious that the first section of a bridleway/path that followed the river for a short distance was obscure. Also, the ground was wet and boggy. A study of the map showed the main forestry track as doing a short loop and then heading through the plantation to exit at the same place as the path. All sorted, and I headed off up the hill on the main track. Faint alarm bells soon began ringing in my head though. The track, as shown on the map was not corresponding with what was on the ground. It was climbing higher and  not in the direction shown on the map. My doubts where confirmed when the track ended at a vehicle turning area higher up the hill. There was nothing else and it meant backtracking down the river. Some sloppy, wet ground and I picked up the path through the forestry. At a junction in the path I resorted to a compass check to make sure I was heading in the right direction.  Fortunately my map reading was ok and  I came out above  Yr Ochrydd. A plod up a track that ran uphill beside the plantation. Despite it being quite early I decided to stop and camp just below the main ridge leading up to Pumlumon. Pushing on would have either meant a high camp or a long day.


Saturday. Looking out of the tent early morning it was to find everything blanketed in thick fog. Given the conditions I was reluctant to pack up and move; preferring to wait and hope things would improve. By late morning the ridge above me was almost clear and I was soon packed up and on my way Higher on the ridge    it was soon obvious that the weather window was closing fast. The wind was coming in from the north east and with it thick banks of low cloud. By the time I reached the trig point visibility was very poor.


Heading  over toward Pumlumon Arwy I almost stumbled over a cairn. Visibility was now bad. A dank,wet  grayness shrouded everything. My intention had been to carry on toward Baric Bugeilyn. That idea was soon scrapped. Trying to get accurate bearings on a compass when one's hands have a marked tremor can be difficult!
Poor weather, little visibility!
 My one intention now was to get down off the top. It took time to pick my way down. Knowing there where at least a couple of steep cliffs in the area I was heading to made me wary. Finally though I found myself at a fence which I was fairly sure ran over Pen CerrigTewlon. Further down and with some visibility I was able to pin point where I was. Finally finding the path that led up to Llyn Llygad  Rheildol I headed upwards. It was just a notion but I wanted to check and see if camping up there was a viable option. It was not and I headed back down on the path.  On the way down I was constantly checking for a spot to camp. There was nothing, but I was not going to camp in the little wood by the Avon Hengwm. Pottering around I went up the track to an old ruin and found a nice little grassy spot for the tent. It was actually dry and quite calm. Waterproofs where shed and laid out on a boulder to dry.
Sunday. Woke during the night to a  rising wind. Fine rain gently caressed the tent. Looking out early in the morning things looked dreich. Gray, moisture laden clouds where scudding down the valley. A boisterous  wind was chivying the tent. A wet, sodden morning did not offer any inducement to get moving. The day's plans where scrapped.The rest of was spent reading and drinking tea. Late afternoon and the wind began to increase. Heavy gusts began to slam in to the tent. Nipping out, I found one or two tent pegs becoming loose. Heavy rocks where placed on  all the pegs.With the increasing wind and rain I felt a little uneasy, the tent was getting pummeled. The rucksack was partially packed, just in case! Fortunately though the storm blew itself out by the morning. Starting out in dry, fairly calm weather made a change. Stopping to have a study of the map at Hyddgen. My route was quite straightforward. Somehow though I felt out of sorts and in the end I just carried on down the valley to Machynlleth. A pleasant saunter, with everything lush and green. My final mental wobbly though was booking in to B&B. That blew my emergency funds but I just wanted a shower, a clean change and a cooked meal.






8 comments:

John J said...

It sounds like you had a good trip, I know what you mean about having to grab a B&B - there are times when such things are absolutely necessary!

A wonderfully descriptive write-up - nice one Dawn.

Hope you're doing okay.

JJ

Dawn said...

Hi John, yep,not a bad trip. It served as a recce for something planned next month.

Geoff Edwards said...

A nice trip, pity about the weather.
However, camping can be very be very pleasant in the rain, warm and dry in your sleeping bag with a brew and a good book.

Mike Knipe said...

Well done, Dawn; so there really is a Pumlumon!
And Hyddgen is the soggiest place in Wales that's not actually a lake.
I'm looking forward to sampling the results of your reccies in July (which will be the height of summer by the way!)

Dawn said...

Hello Geoff, a book and plenty of tea bags are always in the rucksack. Mike, I have a little plan and an interesting route. Flippers and snorkel on order!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John J said...

[url=http://www.visitmidwales.co.uk/thedms.aspx?dms=13&feature=44&venue=1024287]Snorkel[/url] eh?

JJ

chrissiedixie said...

Hope you have a good time when you meet up with Mike :)

Dawn said...

Hi Chrissie, yep, a good time had by all.