It looked like for once I’d picked the right weather window. Plans for a day walk on Saturday were quickly rescheduled to include an overnight camp, with the extra flexibility in terms of time being counterbalanced by having to carry a heavier pack.
I’m sitting at home with at least six inches of snow outside, an almost-unheard of avalanche warning for Snowdonia, and a glass of wine. Unless you love wading through thigh deep powder, not a good day to be tackling the hills. Instead, I realised I’d yet to write up this walk from February : a good day in mid-Wales in the hills north of Pumlumon.
If you’re walking from Maesnant into Cwm Rheidol, the twin bronze-age cairns on Carn Hyddgen stand proud on the skyline across the river, keeping a watching brief on proceedings. And there’s been plenty for them to watch over the years : Owain Glyndŵr’s famous victory over the English in 1401, The construction of the Nant-y-Moch reservoir, and the sea of encroaching windfarms. From a distance the cairns look reminiscent of Adam and Eve, the twin monoliths atop Tryfan – But that’s a trick of alignment and perspective : the cairns stand 6 metres tall, and 20m apart, so the ‘freedom’ of Carn Hyddgen can’t be easily gained.
Snowdonia : Elidir Fawr, Mynydd Perfedd and Carnedd y Filiast
13 March, 2013: A deserted cwm, grass as far as the eye can see. It climbs gently at first, then depressingly steeply to the bwlch at the head. A pair of Ravens cronk loudly, demanding an audience for their antics. It could be almost anywhere in Wales, or rather almost anywhere else: Welcome to Cwm Dudodyn, on the unfashionable western side of the Glyderau.
In the brief window between last weeks gales and the forecast snow for Sunday and Monday, I snatched the time for a quick visit to the Arans. The forecast for eastern areas was better than for the coastal ranges, so this seemed a good plan.