The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Pumlumon - Day 2

It was a dark and stormy night and the rain came down in torrents … and I’ve already documented the result of those torrents of rain upon our chosen pitch. Fortunately, despite the storminess (and thanks to Wendy’s stability) I got a good night’s sleep.

Sunday started with a choice. We could take a high level ridge route (our original intent), or we could take the FWA valley route.

The low level was settled on, but then we reached the first stream and concluded that with the streams in spate and half a dozen such obstacles to cross on the low route, perhaps the high route was the better option. Uphill we went.

The next change of plan came when we reached the ridge; being lashed by stinging frozen rain, I found that I could barely make progress against the wind. Walking a few miles in those conditions would have been just too difficult.

The map was considered again and a route chosen to take us back down to the valley where we spent a pleasant morning, in conditions that were far better than we had expected (the wind was strong, but the rain stopped and the sky brightened). None of the streams required a large detour and at most we were able to find places to step across; only a couple required a running leap.

Much waterlogged terrain and patches of bog were negotiated and with relief we found, at the bottom end of the valley, that there was indeed a bridge crossing Afon Hengwm (the river running down the centre of the valley), which by this point was wide, deep and fast flowing.

Now only half an hour or so from the car (or so we thought) we stopped in a small copse, adjacent to the river, for a brew (and a packet of Jaffa Cakes that Mike magicked up out of his pack).

What I’d failed to notice on the map was that just a few paces over a rise from the main river was another stream. This one turned out to be the biggest raging torrent yet:
Upstream we detoured, to try to find a place to cross.

A mile later, and with 600 unexpected feet of ascent, we reached the llyn at the top of the stream, only to find that it wasn’t even crossable at the outlet point.

Husband found a place a short way downstream where he was happy that he could jump to the far bank. Mike was also happy that he could manage the distance. I was sure that I couldn’t. However, with little choice but to try (and at least the flow wasn’t too fast at this point, albeit the water was deeper than I would have liked if I’m going to fall in), I agreed to give it my best shot.

The chaps went first and after two false starts when I bottled it, I finally put my brain into neutral (don’t think about it, just do it), swung my arms and gave it my best. I landed about three inches too short, but threw my body forward so only one leg got submerged.

A track gave an easy route back down to the road which led to the car. It was a reasonably uneventful walk, give or take a few more flooded areas. We even met a chap on our way along (the only person we saw on the Sunday). There are some mad people around, willing to go out in such weather, you know…

The stats for Sunday were 7.5 miles with 1250 feet of ascent. Unsurprisingly in the conditions, it felt like a whole lot more.

I can’t speak for everyone but Husband and I had a good time, with a perverse enjoyment of the adverse conditions. Mike also said that he enjoyed it, but then he’s a polite chap so the real proof will be whether he accepts another invitation to join us in the hills, or whether he proclaims a prior engagement with hair washing that weekend! At least he can rest assured that having survived such conditions on his first trip, it’s unlikely that he’s going to encounter anything more trying, short of full winter conditions.


  1. It looks to me that if you can cope with this weekend you will be fine what ever the weather throws at you both.

    Nice report!

  2. You quickly got those blogs written - good picture of Nant y Llyn in full spate.
    Yes I am polite - and enjoyed the walk! Apologies for eating a cooked (but cold) Wayfarer breakfast in the dry Nallo while you were mopping out Wendy :)

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  5. Well done - very brave to venture out last weekend! Apologies for the deleted comments - misdirected abuse of Wendy without understanding the context of her mishap.
    Third time lucky, perhaps?

  6. How about Pumlumon for an outdoor bloggers' weekend? Perhaps when the weather has improved!!!