- Trip Outline
This is a challenging mountain day up to the summit of Drygarn Fawr, the highest point in the upland area known as ‘Elenydd’ which stretches from Pumlumon in the north to Mynydd Epynt in the south.
If we are lucky with the weather there will be outstanding views towards Pumlumon, the highest point in the Cambrian Mountains plus all the mountain ranges of South Wales.The summit is marked by two huge cairns, one over 8 feet tall and perfectly constructed, making for an impressive sight.
Drygarn Fawr is the most remote of all the Welsh 2000 footers but this wilderness area is under great threat from a new wind farm application known as ‘Lluest Y Gwynt’ which proposes to install 24 turbines, some of which may reach 180m in height around the southern slopes of the Pumlumon Fawr massif.
After heading out from the car park and crossing a bridge over the Afon Claerwen we pick up a minor road which quickly gives access to a track that heads into the Rhiwant valley. From this point on the walk takes on a feeling of wildness.The track winds its way through the tussocks above the eastern bank of Nant Paradwys and after about 2 miles reaches Bwlch Y Ddau Faen, a dip which seperates Drygarn Fawr from its easterly neighbour, Gorllwyn.
We now pick up a path that heads gradually uphill in a westerly direction and will take us all the way to the first cairn of Drygarn Fawr summit. This is a place to linger if weather allows with the huge landscapes of Elenydd on show and the colours constantly shift here with the light and the different seasons. This will be our lunch stop, 645m above sea level.
Now, we must head North from the summit across open country for just under a mile and descend into a hollow called Pant Glas. We will reach the infant Rhiwant river here and then follow it downstream through some very boggy conditions and eventually cross the river after skirting around the crags of Cwm Rhiwant. We then head for the Nant y Carw mine, the uppermost copper mine in the Rhiwant valley.
From the mine we can pick up a track that leads all the way down Cwm Rhiwant with some lovely views of the craggy valley floor below. On reaching a ford that is bound to guarantee some wet feet, the track starts to climb upwards to rejoin the main route into Cwm Paradwys and we can retrace our steps back to the car park.
This is a circular 9 mile (15km) walk in a wilderness area where the going will get tough at times over tussocky bog grass and there will be some very wet conditions so do come prepared to get wet feet and with the right footwear and clothing.
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