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Pumlumon Round - and my first ever wild camp

Pumlumon Round - and my first ever wild camp


Postby huwthomas » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:48 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Pen Pumlumon Arwystli, Pen Pumlumon Llygad-bychan, Plynlimon (Pumlumon Fawr)

Date walked: 12/08/2016

Time taken: 8.5

Distance: 29.5 km

Ascent: 1200m

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I'd wanted to try a proper wild-camp since I did the more controlled version on the OMM a few years ago , but the opportunity and the will never seemed to coincide!

Finally, this opportunity arose, with the g/f away, to try this route, driving up from Cardiff on Friday night, and continuing to my Dad's in Aberystwyth after the walk.


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Things didn't start to plan sadly, having left Cardiff later than hoped, then getting to the Car Park at Eisteddfa Gurig, only to learn that there was a £5 parking fee! I didn't have this money on me, even if I wanted to pay, which meant driving 1k down the road to a forestry entrance. It was therefore gone 8.30pm by the time I finally got on the hill, and worst of all, in my last minute rush, I'd forgotten my spork (more on this shortly!).

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Originally, I had hoped to get beyond the summit of Pumlumon Fawr tonight, to shorten the next day's walking, but a combination of encroaching darkness and rising winds made me opt to camp in the lee of the forest that edges Y Garn. This had the added advantage that I could hide more kit securely in the forest instead of carrying it the following day.

In the dark now, I managed to set up camp on a flat piece of moss, got my little stove going (a £3 little metal folded stove, with solid fuel), filled my mess tin with water I'd carried up, and got my boil in a bag pasta underway. Having forgotten my spork, I decanted the bag contents into a plastic mug, and 'drank' it like a thick cuppa-soup! Sadly, having dirtied my mug in this way, I had no option with my chocolate mouse pudding but do get my hands dirty. warning - graphic image!

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All in all, I slept well, but it was a pretty rough night, and I did wake up a few times due to the wind battering the tent. This probably explained why, rather than getting up around 7 as planned, I slept in, and by the time I'd had another boil in the bag for breakfast, It was gone 11 by the time I got moving. At least the all-pervading clag had meant I'd not missed out either on a starry night, nor a glorious dawn. I got the odd view through the cloud, which was sitting around the 650 contour, but to start with it was a pretty grey day.

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I'd walked these hills several times before, ticking off the Nuttall summits. The objective for today was now purely about exploration, so I dropped down off the ridge to visit the source of the Wye, where I filled my bottles...

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and the rather boggy source of the Severn, where I didn't!

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I then continued to the furthest point of the walk, bagging two Deweys, and circling Llyn Bugeilyn. My hope had been to see Glaslyn (which I'd visited from the road to the North, several years ago) off the top of Banc Bugeily, the second Dewey, but sadly the summit plateau didn't allow this, and I was running out of time to push further. Despite that, this still felt like truly wild country, and is probably one of the furthest points from a tarmac road anywhere in Wales.

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I then returned via Cwm Hengwm, which has a very airy feel to it, and hardly any sign of civilization.
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This was true for paths as well, with the good track I'd been on from the lake petering out beyond the watershed. In the end, I decided to wade across the Hengwm, in the hope of there being a better path on the other side (I had a hazy memory this was so), but found only knee deep tussocks and moss. This was less than ideal preparation for the final leg of the walk, which was also the greatest ascent, as I reclimbed Pumlumon Fawr to gain the ridge to pick up my tent and return to the car.

I was pretty tired by now, and the spongy moss which dominated the ground up to and beyond the 500m contour did not help. I finally gained the top of Pumlumon Fach, before a further short pull got me back to the main summit, 6 hours after my previous visit. With the clouds now lifted, I was well rewarded, and was able to make a definite identification of Pen y Fan to the south, and a probably identification of Snowdon to the north.

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It just remained to drop down the ridge, pick up my tent, and then a more direct line for the car, dropping steeply and hopping a fence, to get to my Dad's by teatime. All in all, a wonderful 23 hours in the wild. I will definitely be back out with the tent soon!
huwthomas
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Re: Pumlumon Round - and my first ever wild camp

Postby dav2930 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:29 pm

Looks a good tramp across some wild country. Shame the weather didn't play ball for your first wild camp, but at least it improved next day.

I've never been to Pumlumon but it looks worth a visit. :)
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dav2930
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Re: Pumlumon Round - and my first ever wild camp

Postby ChrisW » Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:07 am

Great stuff Huw, shame about the weather and lack of a spork....that is the least appetizing chocolate pudding I've ever seen :sick:
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ChrisW
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Re: Pumlumon Round - and my first ever wild camp

Postby huwthomas » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:00 pm

dav2930 wrote:Looks a good tramp across some wild country. Shame the weather didn't play ball for your first wild camp, but at least it improved next day.

I've never been to Pumlumon but it looks worth a visit. :)


Definitely. A wild place anyway, but the approach via the corrie to the north (which I didn't follow here) is an excellent walk; steep, a little scrambling if you hunt it out, and feels like a real mountain.
huwthomas
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