Mid Wales has some amazing country with a decent amount of mountains. This area is often overlooked – fortunately, because it means it is isn’t chock full of people scrabbling around for the one or two well known summits. It isn’t on the mythical ‘list’, which doesn’t actually exist in any case (and see the post on the history of the ML award and ‘The List‘ in this regard).
The mid wales summits stretch from Radnor Forest in the east through the Elan Valley to Pumlumon. The Elan Valley and Pumlumon effectively join up and there is scope for a demanding expedition taking in all the summits and the three bothies while crossing Wales from Offa’s Dyke to the coast. (That is, start on the border, do Radnor Forest, cross over to the Elan Valley, do the summits and take in the bothies, keep going up and take the Pumlumon summits). TBC…
To the south west you also have the Epynt (see Low Level QMDs) – worth a visit if for nothing else than the remoteness and bizarre experience of walking the Epynt way (no summits but challenging ground and some complex route finding and good and remote in many parts) to the sound of light artillery and small arms fire, and to the north east are the Berwyns, yet another excellent and remote range (also not on the mythical, non-existent ‘list’).
This page should have the different countries in order (east to west, or the reverse), but doesn’t.
Elan Valley Area
Reservoirs, hills, two mountains, ancient roads, standing stones, history. The standing stone on Pen Maen-wern seen shining like a single brilliant white tooth in midsummer sunlight from Drygarn Fawr is humbling.
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Summits of Elan Valley
Elan Valley Route Descriptions in downloadable PDF format
Elan Valley GPX Routes and Tracks
Elan Valley Variation of Elan Summits ROUTE
Elan Valley Extended Elan summits ROUTE
Elan Valley Matt and Bill’s KIMM Training route ROUTE (My first visit to this country while training for the kimm; Before the days of GPX, when you had to know what you were doing – we didn’t, but we were tough and we were committed.)
Elan Valley GPX Gamriw Gorllwn ROUTE (modified TRACK)
Elan Valley GPX Pen Y Garn
Elan Valley Pen Y Garn longer ROUTE
See also the Teifi Pools circular Low Level QMD on the Low Level QMDs and Walks Page
A delightful areas of the Cambrian Mountains with a decent one or two days of summit bagging. The land where dinosaurs still roam. Source of the Wye and Severn rivers, among others.
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The Pumlumon Summits
Pumlumon Route Descriptions in downloadable PDF format
Pumlumon GPX Routes and Tracks
Radnor Forest is great country as it is overlooked and not well trodden meaning you can get in a good QMD away from the bucket list crowds on the disneyfied tops. It’s bleak, tough going on rough ground, and a bit odd. The hills encircle a recently expanded live munitions testing site – privately owned and run. The live fire zone has been expanded to include the Great Creigiau summit (SO197636) and it would be irresponsible to suggest including this summit in a QMD, and it is a slog that is well worth the challenge. A hundred metres+ over rough, very twmpy, ground pockmarked with shell holes and possible unexploded munitions. But there are a couple of gates through the fence if I recall correctly.
If you want to extend a day I suggest incorporating Cowlod SO161636 and perhaps having a look around The Riggles SO185651.
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Gullies and rock
There are plenty of gullies around that may provide some challenges (but will be extremely chossy). Have a look at:
- Ystol Bach Brook (but it is inside the live fire zone) SO203633
- The two gullies at the top end of Harley Dingle around Shepherd’s Well SO188649 & SO186644
- There is also a path up to Water Break its Neck from Black Brook SO185599 so that may be worth exploring (although it is well used, so we avoided it).
- There isn’t really much rock in the area but it may be worth having a wee look at Cwm Blithus Rocks SO167614.
In terms of remoteness you can do well in this area, especially in bad weather – even if that is only a bit of mist. It is good space and the back reaches around Great Rhos provide some peace and quiet.