By 5:30 I was parked at above Maesnant, at the far end of the Nant-y-Moch reservoir. Cloud was obscuring even the minor tops, but down here it was clear dry, and just a little breezy.
Today’s route meant that wet feet were going to be almost unavoidable, so I opted for trail shoes instead of boots, on the basis that they’d probably dry out faster anyway. The path on from Maesnant heads downhill at first, and a footbridge gives you the option of crossing the Afon Hengwm. On the spur of the moment, I crossed over and headed up the Hyddgen valley, with Glyndŵr’s ‘Covenant Stones’ visible on the far side of the river. I followed the track all the way to the edge of the forestry, where two old and probably rotten fire-beaters stand proudly. The ground here is so wet you could probably drown just trying to reach them.
I returned the same way, making the most of the good track before re-crossing the river and following the faint and boggy path to the ruined house where Cwm Gwerin meets the Hengwm.
I stopped just long enough to wring water our of my socks, as I could see the cloud had lowered up the valley and the wind was carrying a fine spray of drizzle.
Cwm Gwerin is a delight – the rocky crags towering over on the western side grab the attention as you slowly gain height, past waterfalls and with Wheatears for company. The cwm widens out at the top, and finding a dry path is a challenge. My photographs don’t do it justice, so I need to come back when the light (and weather) is better.
As I climbed upwards towards the plateau, I realized how much the cwm had been sheltering me from a very strong westerly wind. I was in the cloud now, with the steady drizzle reducing visibility even further, making navigation difficult.
I stopped just below the crest and took advantage of a lull to have some breakfast and repeat the dance of wringing out the socks.
I struck out across the plateau, heading for the windshelter on Pumlumon Fawr. Given the conditions, I was glad to be on familiar ground. I was able to find the faint path down towards Pumlumon Fach without trouble, and soon below the worst of the weather.
The reservoir track from Llyn Lygad Rheidol was sheltered at first, but after it turns to the left I was back heading straight into the wind, so I took a downhill shortcut to the car after passing the three small lakes.
While the rain had never been that heavy, It was enough to completely wet out my Marmot softshell in a few places, so changing into dry clothes for the drive home was very welcome.