Craig y pistyll

Despite the inclement forecast which proved to be rather inaccurate, there was an excellent turnout for the first CMS walk of 2024 led by the Belsey partnership who lived in this beautiful valley for 34 years and so were able to provide us all with some interesting information on the history of lead and silver mining here. So much silver came out of these hillsides that this metal entirely funded the English Civil War, a Mint being established at Aberystwyth castle in the 17th century!

Soon we were heading diagonally across the hill on the Borth to Devils Bridge Trail high above Cwmsymlog village, with fine views below of the old mine chimney, chapel (that featured in the first episode of the BBC Crime drama, Hinterland) and various leftover mine spoils. After some handy work by Chris to cut away some wayward gorse bushes in front of a stile (coming equipped is one of the benefits of having done a recce) we dropped down into Cwmerfyn, making a quick diversion to look at one of the fenced off mine shaft entrances on the hillside with its dark and imposing drop below. We were reliably informed that this was one of the deepest shafts of all the Mid Wales mines.

After a much welcome coffee break to help warm us through we set off towards the first of several picturesque lakes renowned for their good trout fishing. Not much in the way of waterbirds were seen at either lake, sadly. Continuing on forest tracks through the coniferous plantations of Mynydd March we settled on a very muddy clearing and log pile for our lunch break – still managing to avoid the rain.

The final section was a blustery affair heading directly into the westerlies blowing through the Leri Valley but rewarded with some outstanding views across to Craigypistyll towering above the valley (photo 1) An excellent start to what will be a varied programme over the coming months.

Cambrian-mountains-Leri-ValleyI promised Dwynwen, that I would include a photo looking down the valley towards her distant one-time home, as a nice memory of her time spent here, so here it is.

Walk report: Neal Batchelor