Pumlumon and Nant-y-Moch Bunkhouse Trip

Ok,

.

finally gotten around to writing this trip up. Its been such a whirlwind over the past few weeks I dont know where the time has gone. Still, I am able to report that I did manage to get out for 4 days into mid Wales. It was a trip long planned and as normal I anxiously watched the weather report. Coming up to the final days before leaving, the weather was a mixed bag, some sun, some cloud and some rain. Ok, so because there was a large group of adults and kids going, contingency plans had to be made.

.

The bunkhouse itself was picked after scouring the internet looking for accomodation big enough to house the numbers going, remote enough for us to get the wilderness feel and yet not going to break the bank either. I finally chanced upon a reference to Maesnant Activity Centre which is within a stone’s throw of Nant-y-Moch reservoir. The bunkhouse is a converted farmhouse leased out by Harrow District Council for mainly youth groups and educational purposes. After quick enquiries with the warden, it transpired that family (and adult) groups were also welcome. The centre looked perfect in that it had enough room for us all, was 6 miles from the nearest village and only £4 a night each. So far, ticks in all the boxes. The only downside (not for me personally) was the lack of electricity or gas but there were flushing toilets! This last point was well received by the group as last time we had a bunkhouse, we had to dig our own latrines….

.

.

So the usual preparations were made, huge amounts of food and drink were procured for the 4 days away and cars were crammed full of kit. On the day of departure, blue skies smiled on us and we set off. As always, the drive through from South Wales to Mid Wales was superb. We made good time and arrived at the centre at lunchtime.

.

 The normal scrum to find a bunkbed, empty the cars and explore the house and area ensued. An hour later, we had pushed all the clothes under the bunks, piled the food up in one corner of the kitchen and brewed up. Sounds of hyper children were also heard drifting in from outdside. All the settling in stuff done, it was time for a walk and exploration of the area. In this case, the most obvious place was the reservoir itself.

.

.

 Nant-y-Moch reservoir is a large standing body of water created in 1964 to help service the increasing demands of water usage in England and Wales. It has been in the news recently with regards to the wind farm proposed for the forested area to the north and east of the reservoir. I am not in favour of inland windfarms being sited in wild areas and by the end of this trip was even less so due to the fantastic beauty and remoteness of the area. Still, on the day of arrival, the sky was azure blue, the sun a brilliant daffodil yellow and we had the whole valley to ourselves.

.

.

.

The kids explored a mile of so of the reservoir edges looking at bird and animal tracks. Some of the guesses as to what animal had made the paw marks were quite extreme and unlikely! After a couple of hours of this, the kids were sent back to the centre and a few of the more willing adults went in search of a geocache further upstream. The sun still beaming down on us and the light reflecting from the water all around, we made our way to the slopes of Banc Lluestnewydd. We found the geocache after a bit of poking about in the rocks and then paused to take in the views. The summit of Pumlumon was visible to the SE, the Hyddgen valley to the NW, the Hengwm valley to the NE and the Nant-y-Moch valley and stream snaking back south to the reservoir. The shadows were beginning to lengthen and for a moment we were in the wilderness, not a soul or visible sign of human activity for miles in all directions. It was fantastic. After that we made our way back to the centre and to a well earned meal. We sat outside and watched the stars come out without any interference from artifical light and marvelled at their clarity.

.

.

.

.

.

In the morning, after a very big breakfast, we decided that we would take the kids down to the same spot we went to the previous evening and play in the multitude of streams there. The sun was out again and the forecast rain simply failed to materialise. After sitting around making tea with the kelly kettle whilst the kids played making dams we decided to make our way to Llyn Llygad Rheidol, a mountain lake nestling beneath Pumlumon itself. Half of the group decided to go back to the centre at this point whilst the rest of us walked up to the lake. After a short stop, I decided to press on to the top of Pumlumon whilst the others went back to the centre. It was a beautiful day and I couldnt pass up the chance for the summit walk. The wind was challenging but the climb to the top was rewarding and I found myself alone with just the cairns and the wind shelters for company. The views, needless to say, were fantastic. After that it was a brief but exhilerating scramble down the scree bank that covers the western flank of Pumlumon. A pleasant walk down the lower slopes through the bilberries and alongside the babbling Maesnant brook took me back to the centre and another evening of star gazing, fire building and talking late into the night.

.

.

.

Saturday dawned and it was found to be another grand day. The sun shone, the skies were cloudless and I found myself celebrating my birthday surrounded by family and friends in the great outdoors. We decided to walk halfway up the same slope I had walked down the previous evening and spend the day flying kites, playing in the babbling brook and generally taking it easy. I can honestly say I havent spent as relaxing a birthday as that for a long time. I even managed a snooze. Having spent the entire day on the hillside, it was back to the centre for one last night in front of the firepit and a reflection of being another year older.

.

.

The morning was the usual reverse scrum of trying to pack everything away, have breakfast and then set off for the journey home. For once, the car was actually better packed on the way home than upon the outward journey. I was the last to leave being responsible for the keys and one last sweep of the house for unclaimed items revealed a pair of jeans, 3 socks (all different), a pillow and a glove. The journey home was a sun-kissed tired slow jaunt but we were all happy to get back. The kids were dunked in the bath, put to bed early and found to be asleep within minutes. I myself wasnt far behind.

.

.

I can honestly say that all in all, the trip was one of the best I have made for a long time. The combination of friends, family, good food, a superb remote location and fabulous weather made it a trip to remember and one to be hopefully repeated.

.

Who says it only rains in mid Wales

Advertisements

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
This entry was posted in Trips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Pumlumon and Nant-y-Moch Bunkhouse Trip

  1. dave says:

    Fantastic mate, happy birthday memories! planning a trip there next weekend, a wee 3 dayer as well. Thanks for putting a shine on my morning, nice tale ;p

    • backpackbrewer says:

      I hope you have a great time Dave. The area is truly outstanding. I know it is not “mountainous” in the sense of towering peaks like Snowdonia but it has a real wilderness feel to it. Pumlumon is an underated or oft forgotten mountain as well. The climb up to the Llyn beneath its peak and then up the “bowl” to the ridge line of the mountain itself is a very nice walk.

      I hope you have the weather as well!

  2. Robin says:

    Sounds great. Make the most of it before the hills are covered in wind turbines.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Alas, all too true Robin. I sat in the middle of the nowehere that was the Nant-y-Moch valley and tried to imagine the impact of the proposed turbines. Having looked at the proposed siting of them, I think that the nature of the place will be irrevocably altered

      Sad indeed when you consider that the whole premise of wind power has extreme limitations, dubious cost effectiveness and a massive environmental impact all of their own….

      If people want to build turbines build them off shore or along motorways

  3. dave says:

    Thanks, I’m torn between Pumlumon and the Monks Trod area further south which also looks stunning – Martin Rye has been there recently….but have a feeling Pumlumon will win out ;p

    How is the land north of the top at Pumlumon? – looks like a broad ridge with a boundary….walkable?

    and on the other matter – sadly, we don’t need to imagine…someone has done the hard work for us:

    http://www.cambrian-mountains.co.uk/nantymoch-windfarm-photo-montage-index.htm

    This is an excellent website, the film ‘secret wales’ is also well worth a watch.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Dave,

      yes the top of Pumlumon has a boundary fence running roughly N-S. I climbed up from the western part of the llyn up the bowl and along the ridge to the trig point. This is land North of the peak itself to which you ask.

      There are no real paths as such although the going wasnt too bad. In places the tussocky grass makes the going a little tougher but its pretty good all over the broad ridge to be fair.

      The absence of paths tells its own tale regarding numbers of people walking the land north of the peak itself 🙂

      re the link, thanks for that…..depressing as it is

  4. dave says:

    grand, yep, after a bit of remote i think – gonna get wet feet by the looks of things tho ;0

    • backpackbrewer says:

      at the moment its a tad wet, granted, but I am sure things will improve by next weekend

      its is remote though 🙂

  5. backpackingbongos says:

    A fantastic way to spend your birthday Dave. An area that I love, probably the best bit of Wales to be honest. I hope that those turbines do not get erected.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Was a great all round long weekend James.

      I have always been a fan of the Brecon Beacons because its close to home and where I cut my teeth as a lad taking up camping and walking. Having said that, the more I see of mid Wales the more I like it and the more I see possibilities for weekend trips “away from it all”

      Best of all, its only 1.5 to 2 hours from my house to get there depending on where I go

  6. Looked a fantastic few days Dave. Great to get out and it looks like the children enjoyed themselves. It is the simple pleasures that are the best.
    Mark

    • backpackbrewer says:

      couldnt agree more Mark. Really good to get out and even though probably didnt do more than about 15-20 miles the whole stay it was very nice indeed.

      The kids loved it so much in the bunkhouse that they are threatening not to go in a tent ever again!

  7. Good stuff hope the wind farms don’t come here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s