July’s walk was touch-and-go for several days as the weather forecast veered from appalling to merely wet through lunchtime. Nonetheless, five intrepid members stuck to their guns (despite several others pulling out) and set off from Eisteddfa Gurig under low cloud, celebrating each minor flash of sunlight. The hills were streaming from the last month’s rain, and drizzle did favour us on and off, but once we’d crossed the ridge and dropped down into Cwm Gwerin it was no more than mildly damp – and the hunt for the late hermit Ken Jones’ cave took our minds off it completely. It is quite a challenging scramble up to the cave itself, and clearly still as unvisited as it was in the days when he spent his summers meditating here.
His poem (from the book Stallion’s Crag) recalling red lichens on the rock roof of his ‘coffin bed’ makes perfect sense when you see the tiny crevice at the back he presumably slept in – now occupied only by lichens, mosses and ferns.
While we sheltered among the rocks for lunch, the clouds started to lift and by the time we’d fought our way back up through deep and pathless bilberries and moss to the ridge once more the peak of Pumlumon Artwystli was clear. Turning our backs on it, we tramped up the slope of Pumlumon Fawr to be rewarded with a view our walk leader said was the best he had ever had from the top: clear (under the clouds) to the surf at Barmouth and Borth beaches and a long view south over the Cambrian Mountains plateau. Cadair Idris to the north, which often looks close enough from here to touch, remained stubbornly hidden in mist but we felt we had had all we could have asked for, given the forecast. Walking back down past remains of yet another 19th century ruined mine we saw never a further drop of rain. So it was all the more satisfying, when promptly as we drove off after a thoroughly satisfactory day’s hike, the rain returned!