In-between lands: an ode to the Welsh moors

(7-minute read) ‘But how do you know?’ my hiking companion Chris, in normal life a calm rational fellow who runs marathons, screams at me in near hysteria and defeat, up to his knees in Mid-Welsh peatbog. Unwavering rain has been pile-driving down on us for two consecutive days, during which we have also been doing most of our walking off paths and across sopping moorland. … Continue reading In-between lands: an ode to the Welsh moors

Road Trip: Llandovery to Tregaron via Llyn Brianne

This rollercoaster single-track run begins in Llandovery, on the cusp between the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales: a dinky, delightful market town seemingly designed for kickstarting road trips with its legendary bikers cafe. It whisks you through the verdant Upper Tywi Valley, via the winsome villages of Cilycwm and Rhandirmwym, up to the tentacular reservoir of Llyn Brianne, swooshing you through … Continue reading Road Trip: Llandovery to Tregaron via Llyn Brianne

Snow wonder: Wales’ other Sugar Loaf bares its white winter soul

There are hills that, though humble in height, captivate the imagination. Places that somehow draw you back time and again to their season-changing wilderness, their lonely trails, their idiosyncratic landscapes. Sugar Loaf (Sir Gaerfyrddin), a mere moor or two away from the endearingly odd town of Llanwrtyd Wells (of bog-snorkelling world championship and numerous other mad festivals fame), is one such place. The hill – … Continue reading Snow wonder: Wales’ other Sugar Loaf bares its white winter soul

The source of the UK’s longest river

Walk length: 16km (out and back). For an upland that can make so many bold claims (highest point in Mid Wales, one of the greatest uninterrupted wildernesses in Wales and, as will shortly be elaborated upon, the source of Britain’s longest river, fifth-longest river and the longest two to flow across Welsh soil), Pumlumon is a very unfrequented place. We can vouch for that. When … Continue reading The source of the UK’s longest river

Claerddu Bothy: far-removed (and free) accommodation on the Mid Wales moors

Most people, in our experience, don’t know what a bothy is. Of those that do, most think these life-saving wilderness shelters are only located in Scotland. Of those that know there are actually eight or so in Wales, only a handful harbour a desire to stay at one and of those, not many ever do. Suffice it to say, then, that Claerddu Bothy, becalmed on … Continue reading Claerddu Bothy: far-removed (and free) accommodation on the Mid Wales moors

Drygarn Fawr: a trip to the gaping gap on the map (and three ways to reach the summit)

Distance: Routes vary in length between 3 and 10 miles. On a hike in a totally different part of Wales at a totally different time last year, Undiscovered Wales met, on the trail, what you could only describe as a true veteran of the hills. A hardened, rain-lashed, wind-grizzled walker who imparted a knowing look whichever part of Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons or Mid Wales … Continue reading Drygarn Fawr: a trip to the gaping gap on the map (and three ways to reach the summit)

Gentle wilderness along Abergwesyn Common

It can be a wild, stark place, Mid Wales: sometimes too much so for day-trippers who prefer Snowdonia’s more Instagram-able blockbuster beauty. At Undiscovered Wales we love the wildness and the starkness. But sometimes, we crave a lazy, languid day out too: the pootling drive out to a jaw-dropping beauty spot to picnic, cool off in a river and dreamily look at the view. Abergwesyn … Continue reading Gentle wilderness along Abergwesyn Common

In search of the cave of Twm Siôn Cati, the Welsh Robin Hood

Walk length: 4km. In almost all countries, it seems, there is a Robin Hood figure, usually treading that hazy space between fact and fiction in history: someone who takes from the rich, gives to the poor and then gets heroised in popular culture. In Wales, it is Twm Siôn Cati: a canny 16th-century Mid Wales outlaw about whom reams of stories have been written but … Continue reading In search of the cave of Twm Siôn Cati, the Welsh Robin Hood

Scaling Mid Wales’ highest summit, Pen Pumlumon Fawr

Walk length: 8km. All around us is yellow – rise upon rise of unpeopled yellowness, save for a tiny oasis of green, our start point, far below and insignificant on the horizon. Sun beats down out of an absolute blue sky. We turn and head on into the wilderness, heads bent into the driving wind…not a snippet from one of our trips to the Sahara, … Continue reading Scaling Mid Wales’ highest summit, Pen Pumlumon Fawr

The Caio Forest: the forest that foiled an English king

Discovering the truly undiscovered inevitably entails sometimes opening up the OS map, scouting out the sort of terrain you love, hedging your bets and just going there. So it was with the Caio forest for us: it had expanses of trees, some thrillingly close-together contour lines, a promising little network of marked paths and a proper parking place. So off we went. (The marked paths … Continue reading The Caio Forest: the forest that foiled an English king