Friday, 21 February 2014

Drygarn Fawr

What a difference a day makes, Saturday there was around a handful of people in the Elan Valley yet on Sunday there were hundreds. But then again Saturday it was wet windy and generally miserable while Sunday sunshine, blue skies and the Elan Valley in full glory, dams flowing; Red Kites and Sparrowhawks on show however we still managed to find peace and solitude with a walk up Drygarn Fawr we were out for over four hours and saw absolutely nobody a real escape in a true wilderness.

We parked up at the small car park at the south western tip of caban-coch reservoir and followed the clear bridleway/track which took us up the Nant Paradwys and giving some superb views down the Rhiwnant valley. As we gained height we passed through the final gate and into the Welsh wilderness the path became faint but still relatively easy to follow until we tried to find the path forking off west towards Bryn Rhudd we could see where we needed to go but no visible path so off we went across the wild damp terrain, actually I can see why we have so much flooding around as the ground is completely soaked up on the hills we passed numerous natural springs where the water was spouting out the ground like a fountain proving the water pressure underground is high.

The path became very clear again once higher up and we could now see the large twin cairns which adorn Drygarn Fawr’s summit. We eventually arrived at the summit after what seemed like an endless trudge across the soaking landscape and once on top it became very apparent to me just how wild this area is, there was nothing as far as the eye could see, a barren landscape with the only sign of civilisation being a wind farm barely visible on the far horizon towards the north. Don’t get me wrong I’m certainly not moaning about this in fact the total opposite I thought it was great and really enjoyed sitting on the summit peacefully eating my lunch looking out over this vista.

We then studied the map and decided to take the direct route back to the track at the opening of the Rhiwnant valley passing Carreg yr Ast summit en route. Progress was slow walking across the tussock strewn terrain and crossing the Nant yr Ych, we both lost our footing a couple of times seeing the funny side of it. The track came into view and it wasn’t long before we were back at the car and making our way towards the visitor centre café again.

This was a lovely walk albeit a bit wet under foot but who cares when you venture into wild landscapes like this on a gloriously sunny day.

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