How to climb crowd-free up Cadair Idris (Penygadair): a hardcore alternative for hikers

Distance: 27km (one-way). The highest summit in southern Snowdonia, Cadair Idris (also known as Penygadair) is no secret. We wish it was, but it isn’t. Looming large above the twin lakes nestled breathtakingly beneath its crags, with staggering views of the Llŷn Peninsula and with two well-trodden trails snaking up to the top from the trailheads of Ty-nant (north side) and Minffordd (south), this is … Continue reading How to climb crowd-free up Cadair Idris (Penygadair): a hardcore alternative for hikers

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

Meeting a modern-day pilgrim: insights from Iain Tweedale, pilgrimage guide

Pembrokeshire hiking holiday experts Journeying go a lot deeper than pretty day walks: a holiday with them is a spiritual journey retracing the footsteps of the early Celtic saints and the historic sites associated with them. We talk to trip leader Iain Tweedale on the current popularity of pilgrimage, St David, Pembrokeshire’s strange and special beauty and life on monastic Caldey Island. Journeying concentrates on … Continue reading Meeting a modern-day pilgrim: insights from Iain Tweedale, pilgrimage guide

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

Cwmdu Inn: community-run tavern that could be Mid Wales’ most wondrous watering hole

Making the journey north from Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire, a distinct change takes place in the landscape. The county’s fertile lowlands, main towns and main roads are now behind you. The hills get bigger, the valleys deeper; communities more scattered. You are entering Mid Wales: the wildest tract of the country. Cwmdu village is about the most paradisal initiation to this region you could imagine, and … Continue reading Cwmdu Inn: community-run tavern that could be Mid Wales’ most wondrous watering hole

A Ramble around Dinas Island

Walk length: 4.75km. Right from the off, Dinas Island dishes up surprises. Because of course, for one thing, it is not an island but a bulbous peninsula. For another, the access point from the A487 at Dinas Cross between Fishguard and Newport is unpromising: it scarcely suggests one of Pembrokeshire’s finest stretches of coast path could be so close. But weave down a couple of … Continue reading A Ramble around Dinas Island

Gliffaes: an elegant country escape in the Brecons

If you’re seeking a country escape in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Gliffaes is a class act. Framed by 33 acres of grounds that bristle with rare botanical species, this Italianate Victorian manor is old-school in the best possible way – whether you’re taking afternoon tea on the terrace or playing croquet on the lawn. Why we love it… Gliffaes still feels … Continue reading Gliffaes: an elegant country escape in the Brecons

Dryslwyn Castle: one of the greatest Welsh-built fortresses

Despite Wales’ likely status as the planet’s most densely castellated nation (only the Czechs and Slovaks can justifiably vie for this title), it is regrettably a myth that a fortress seemingly crests every hilltop, as some tourist-oriented merchandise intimates. Travelling along the fertile Tywi River valley between Llandeilo and Carmarthen, however, is one of those zones where the myth holds true. Dryslwyn Castle is one … Continue reading Dryslwyn Castle: one of the greatest Welsh-built fortresses

In the footsteps of the Physicians of Myddfai

Walk length: 8km. What do a succession of medieval medics often attributed with being the forerunners of the NHS, Prince Charles and a boutique range of Welsh toiletries have in common? The unlikely answer lies in  – or, rather, scattered around – the sleepy hamlet of Myddfai on the northwestern fringes of the Brecon Beacons. A history of herbalists hereabouts… Sleepy today, perhaps. But back … Continue reading In the footsteps of the Physicians of Myddfai

Sacred solitude on Mwnt Beach

Sometimes, when you ask around in a local area for good off-the-grid recommendations of places to visit, you wind up disappointed or downright annoyed if you follow through with the suggestion and go there: local recommendations are not always great. Admittedly, Mwnt and its big USP, its beach, are a mere five miles from Cardigan, the second-largest town in the county of Ceredigion with its … Continue reading Sacred solitude on Mwnt Beach