Cambrian Way #9: Bryn y Fedwen to Mallwyd (Days 20-21)

The euphoria of knocking off 15 miles and nearly 1000m of ascent on a day when I was feeling sluggish soon wore off. The wind picked up in the night and was really pressing on the tent. Again I had bits of cheap Chinese inner in my face. I was glad to get up, but boy was it cold. I set off wearing 4 layers.

On Bryn y Fedwen

It was only a few metres climb from where I’d spent the night to the top of the hill. Glad I hadn’t camped up there though, it was even windier. I fought to stay upright on the summit then hurried down the north side of the hill to find the shelter of forest tracks. I cut up through the forest and emerged just below Moelfre. A steep (well steep for that time in the morning!) climb up to the compact summit, watched by bemused sheep. Again too biting to linger for long.

In the forest. Moelfre ahead
Across the moorland before descending to Bwlch Glynmynydd
A rest stop just after Bwlch Glynmynydd

I followed a fence line across the moorland, before dropping down to cross a deserted minor road. A bit more undulating got me to a sloping field that I just had to cross to find myself on tracks and road all the way to Commins Coch. Here, though, the sheep were a bit bolder than usual, a phalanx of ovines advancing on me from behind, driving me onwards. I suspect they were simply trying to protect the lambs, but I always find it funny when sheep try to herd me. Yes, it’s happened before. Several times.

Today I’m the herdee

Commins Coch was nothing more than a rest on a patch of grass next to the A470, a road last seen 3 years ago on the southern section.

The climb up out of Commins Coch was slow, and all the while thoughts of an early camp were running through my head. A brief reunion with Glyndŵrs Way, this time the northern arm of it, and thoughts of that path looking nicer and more interesting than the one I was on. A bit of tricky pathfinding across farmland, a fall into the trap mentioned by Tony Drake in the guidebook whereby a “nonsense right of way” led me into a wood with no discernable exit save a steep rugged ascent or descent. It seems the new route around the wood that he mentioned was being constructed has been made, but signage was lacking so I missed the chance to take advantage. Still I emerged by a stream and filled up for camp, my plan now to stop and camp at the first viable spot I found.

Tea while waiting for the day to advance to tent erection time
A good seat to watch sunset

I reached the top of the track leading up onto Mynydd y Cemmaes and saw a flattish patch of grass with a good view back down over the Dovey Valley. Still only 4pm Matt time (to avoid confusing my Suunto, I’d decided to stick on GMT for the rest of the trip even though the clocks went forward the night before), I’d had enough for the day, but refrained from pitching the tent just yet. A brew was the order of the day until a more respectable time came around. The Duomid was no sooner up and me settled in than the wind increased, pushing heavily on the back wall of the tent. Another night of saggy inner in my face ensued.

Camp on Mynydd y Cemmaes

Navigating the forest between Mynydd y Cemmaes and Waun Llinau

The wind had one advantage though. All night long I didn’t hear any of the noise of the wind turbines, the wind noise itself being so loud. The turbines were turning pretty ferociously as I set off next morning though. Decent tracks saw me northwards through the wind farm, and the fog that had descended overnight also helped obscure the Devil’s Windmills. A dogleg to get through the woods on Waun Llinau saw me then leave the bridleway in an attempt to find a route across pathless terrain to the point to drop down. Handrailing the fence seemed a good idea, aside from the bogs and the barbed wire that needed to be crossed at the end. The strategy worked though and I found the path down to Craig-For with ease. Now just a straightforward track winding around the hillside and I’d be in Mallwyd. The plan now was to stop either in Mallwyd or Dinas Mawddwy, these being better places to resume the walk next time than the other side of Maesglase. I’d decided to can the last day of the walk over Cadair Idris because of the forecast, and so I arrived in Mallwyd, cleaned up and had lunch in the pub while I waited for my taxi to Machynlleth and the train home. Just my luck that the pub was out of real ale, the last pint being pulled for the guy served just ahead of me.

Journey’s End. Pie time

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