Day 29: 21 Apr 2014; Llangurig to Machynlleth

Day 29: 21 Apr 2014; Llangurig to Machynlleth
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 29
Date Mon 21 Apr 2014 Start to end time 09h 23m
Start point Llangurig End point Machynlleth
Miles today 22.04 Cu miles 548.51
Ft today 3,692 Cu ft 89,556
Route miles left 929.97 Route ft left 112,292
Today’s weather Dry and sunny all day. Strong south easterly wind on summits. Warm in valleys in afternoon 16 C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“I’ll be honest – I was apprehensive about today’s walk. First of all, it was very long – even with a bit of route-trimming it still came in at over 22 miles and 3,500 ft of climbing. Second, part of the route was on uncharted territory – I left behind the Wye Valley Walk which I had essentially been following since Chepstow, and headed off into pathless moorland, and I really didn’t know what to expect. And finally, last night lying in my tent listening to the wind howling and the rain lashing down, I had visions of the whole thing being an extremely miserable experience.

As it turned out, these worries were largely unfounded. Yes, it was a long walk, and yes, the upland section was pathless. But to my amazement, when I got up at 6 am today, I was faced with a cloudless sky and thick mist burning off in the early sunshine. An absolute delight and surprise.

I had packed up the tent and was away walking by 7 am. The first part of the walk followed the Wye valley uphill, into increasingly remote and wild territory. After about 8 miles, I parted company with the Wye Valley Way, as it headed off to find the spring that is the true source of the Wye. I followed a farmer’s track further uphill, and then turned off that to follow a fence that eventually led to the summit of Plynlimon. This is a lovely, and under-rated hill. It’s quite remote so little-visited, I suspect. Though I did see a couple of other walkers on the top – in fact they were the only people I saw out on the hills all day. At 2467 ft / 752m it’s the highest point in mid-Wales and for now is the highest point on my walk north.

It was simply stunning on the summit, and also on the long walk north from there to Machynlleth. The route I took descended sharply down from the top, to a small reservoir located in a corrie to the north of the main mountain ridge. (In retrospect I probably wouldn’t use this route again – it was a steep pathless descent through crags, bogs and boulder fields and not particularly easy). Then I joined an old farmer’s track again across the vast and desolate plain above Nant-y-moch reservoir. No sign of human habitation from horizon to horizon.

From the plain I followed the track, which eventually became a narrow road, all the way back to Machynlleth. As I descended, the weather became warmer and the wind dropped. In fact it was the first time I’d really felt warm whilst walking ever since leaving the Lizard. I’m treating myself to a night in a B&B in Machynlleth tonight (which, incidentally, is apparently is the “Historic capital of Wales”) and will shortly be going out for a hopefully extremely calorific fish and chip supper. A great way to celebrate a great day out!”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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Almost ethereal morning mist in upper Wye Valley soon after starting out this morning Either you are fascinated or repelled by them.  But abundant tadpoles appeared in a pool on way across moor. Curiously only in one place, though
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On the summit of Plynlimon. An under-rated gem of a mountain. Fantastic. Moorland springing into life in the warm sunshine this afternoon
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Mysterious looking cavern in the rock below Plynlimon. Not marked on the map so don’t know if it is a natural cave or a disused mineshaft. Not inclined to venture any further in though! I had to take my boots off to ford this stream. The peculiar white things in the foreground are my feet.
Panorama looking north from the top of Plynlimon
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue