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

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)

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

Llyn Brianne: South Wales’ biggest body of water is a true recluse

When we moved to remotest Carmarthenshire, the place we heard recommended to us again and again for a day trip was Llyn Brianne. Some places fall far short of the hype. Some, you finally get there and think ‘OK, nice enough.’ Some just totally exceed expectations. Llyn Brianne belongs firmly to the latter group. This snaking reservoir nestles hidden in the upper Tywi Valley, spread-eagled … Continue reading Llyn Brianne: South Wales’ biggest body of water is a true recluse