…It was not OK.
As soon as the sun went down last night, the wind picked up, and with it the rain. The mountain forecast I was using had last updated at 6pm, and didn’t reflect the late build up of the storm. The forecast I did myself as darkness fell, was a little more accurate.
It was quite violent, although being under canvas does tend to magnify the apparent intensity of wind. In any case, it was pretty clear that Storm Evert was spreading its goodness a little wider than expected. Although only on the fringe of it, it was enough to kill any sleep, and raise some concerns for safety of my shelter.
As I lay there at 1am trying to decide whether to bail or try to stick it out, I hunted down the Met Office forecast for Pen Pumlumon Arwystli, the nearest mountain, and that showed the wind peaking around 3-4am, although at not that much more speed than I was currently getting.
I semi-packed in case it all went tits up and my hand was forced, and spent a couple of hours nervously waiting to see what happened, but around 3am I concluded that it was probably safer to stay in the tent than attempt to bail out in these conditions, and that I was pretty much at what was due to be the peak anyway. My upwind vent blew open and a shower of rain came in through the mesh panel in the inner aligned with it. Meanwhile my downwind vent spontaneously closed itself.
Around 4am, I must have dozed off, through sheer tiredness, as next thing I knew it was 8am and I was alive. Moreover, the tent was where I’d pitched it the night before. An inspection outside confirmed the tent had simply shrugged off the weather – absolutely nothing had moved except the two vents. The Pretents Lightrock appears to be appropriately named.
Day 5: Foel Fadian to Machynlleth – 19.89km, 600m ascent / 1128m descent
After surviving the (edge of the) storm, the main issue now was the overall lack of sleep, and this promised to turn what should have been a straightforward day into something more grueling. With a pub room booked for tonight, today’s target was fixed, though, and there would be no worries about where to camp or find water.
I packed up and dropped off of Foel Fadian to Glyndŵr’s Way proper, and began the descent from the plateau. Switchbacks helped shed height quickly and made for a straightforward walk down.
Once I hit farmland, though, the twists and turns felt somewhat farcical and at least twice I was walking in the complete opposite direction to today’s overall bearing. Consequently, it took a very long time indeed to lose sight of where I’d started the day.
I passed a field where a farmer was attempting to round up sheep, not entirely with success due to the amount of swearing going on. Then stood and watched as they were driven into the road for an onward journey to somewhere.
For the first time in the whole walk I was actually cold when I stopped for a rest at the 110km mark, just over halfway through the whole path. The break was a lot shorter than ideal, but after the next climb, I hit a sustained period of open forest, and a better feeling of progress was got. Music in, and grind it out time.
The path eventually wound its way around to overlook Machynlleth, but then a long time until I actually reached it, going past it and doubling back on the descent to the valley.
Safely ensconced in the White Lion, it felt good to have got over the halfway line, but the last 5 days had given me a lot to think about for tackling the last 4 days.