WILD CAMPING IN THE CAMBRIAN MOUNTAINS: aUGUST 29TH/30TH/31ST
Over three days this week, Helen Menhinick (Bryn Walking) and I headed into the remoteness of the Cambrian Mountains as part of her planning before offering "Wild Camping with Bryn Walking For Women" as a new event for her members in 2024.
Our primary objectives were to test suitable routes and campsites in a wild environment and undertake risk assessments for such an activity.
Additionally we'd review the equipment we used and assess it's suitability for journeying in such remote terrain where there isn't any phone signal so self-dependency is essential.
Helen and I met in Llangurig at the Blue Bell Hotel where we'd arranged to leave my car for the time we'd be in the hills and also enjoyed lunch there. Travelling on along westwards on the A44 we turned northward on a minor road to a roadhead north of Pumlumon.
A word of caution to those reading this would be that several Public Rights of Way on the map simply don't exist on the ground and in these areas, the ground is hard going.
Heading north on a track below Fainc Ddu Uchaf/Isaf we reached the "stream" which was deep but Helen knew the area well and so we used our alternative footwear (Crocs/Teva Flip Flops) and carried our boots and socks across safely. Rucksack chest and waist belts undone as standard procedures for crossing water features!
Beyond the "stream" we reached the footbridge and continued on the south bank, eastwards, of the larger river on a restricted byway but soon abandoned this idea as the going was so difficult. Back at the footbridge, which we crossed, we continued eastwards on a very faint path (along the 380m contour) which was very wet in places to the old ruins of Lluest Newydd and Hengwm-annedd farms where we decided to camp for the night. In this remote area, there were few suitable areas for camping, mostly because the vegetation is so tall and the ground so uneven.
day 1 - campsite
It's important to select an overnight campsite with several factors to take into account, for example:
day 1 - tea/dinner
As we'd both enjoyed a cooked lunch back at the Blue Bell Hotel, we'd decided to enjoy a simple evening meal of cheeses (Cathedral City Cheddar and St. Agur) with biscuits and olives. There had been a plan to enjoy a pork pie as well but this somehow didn't appear from Helen's share of the food being carried.
tents: Eiger trekker single + TERRA NOVA POLAR LITE 3 +
Cooking equipment (gas): msr pocket rocket + msr reactor
MSR equipment is highly recommended by Helen and myself
Breakfast: Bacon and egg rolls with freshly brewed coffee. The coffee was prepared on my MSR Reactor stove with the optional MSR Coffee Press which proved to be an amazing piece of equipment. Helen was very impressed with the speed the MSR Reactor boiled water.
With the ground being so difficult to cross, we thought we try to follow the line of a bridleway (not visible on the ground) northwestwards, across the open hill into another valley to camp for the night. The distance wasn't far and we'd set up camp by midday so that we could explore the area and continue with planning discussions for 2024. Our campsite was out of sight and well above the restricted byway in the valley with a nearby stream for our water.
day 2 - campsite
day 2 - lunch + tea/dinner
Lunch: More of the two cheeses and biscuits. There was still no sign of the pork pie sadly......
Tea/Dinner: Steak baguette sandwiches.
Breakfast: Bacon and egg rolls with freshly brewed coffee.
It was a morning with overcast weather and drizzle from the time we broke camp until the time we reached the car.
food & beverage arrangements
As we were never intending to cover vast distances, we agreed that food and beverages could be a level up from hard core wilderness backpacking......
It had been an interesting recconaisance and planning exercise ready for 2024.
Following on from retirement, more time will be available for hill and mountain walking on a personal basis with friends.