Sunday 27th June 2021

Ornithologist Red Liford led a small group on a 10-mile upland circuit from Llyn Pen Dam on the western side of the Cambrians.

Starting at the small parking area at Grid Ref SN 710839 in a brisk breeze under grey skies, we headed to Cwm Leri taking in glimindustrial-heritage-near-Bont-Gochpses of the distant sea (beyond Wales’ oldest wind farm).  The clouds gradually cleared, though never leaving perfectly blue skies.  But there was enough sun to photograph the striking rock forms across th e valley and some rather curious abandoned metal structures a couple of metres across and with various fixtures.  Possible uses were discussed but no obvious answers presented themselves.  Red kites floated by a number of times, and skylarks’ song accompanied us almost all the way.

Carrying on down into Bont Goch, we followed a very narrow road towards Moel Golomen, being passed by several cars which, though appearing to be on their way to nowhere, never did turn round and come back again.  Maybe there was a socially-distanced party taking place somewhere?  Near the end of the road we came past a small group of black cattle well attended with hordes of hungry horse flies, and made a hasty ascent up the next rise batting them away from us.  But once back in the wind they troubled us no further, and we could pause to learn to recognise the supposedly-obvious “little bit of bread and no Cheeeeeese” call of the yellowhammers, of which Red told us there were 3 or 4 singing higher up the slope.  Though we couldn’t actually see them among the scrub willows and bracken further up-slope.

We had view-from-Bwlch-Yr-Adwylunch on the way up to Bwlch Yr Adwy, admiring the Hinterland location scout’s persistence in finding such very remote places for the filming.  At this point a small group of three walkers passed us heading the other way – the only other walkers we saw all the way, though after lunch we did have a convoy of off-roaders following us very cautiously for a distance and then met two groups of trail bikes coming the other way.  After Bwlch Styllen we paused by Llyn Syfyrdrin to admire a couple of Great Crested Grebes (alongside a much larger number of Canada Geese) and a male Tufted Duck, though loitering on the far side of the lake they were too far away for cameras without telephoto lenses.  From there it was a short stroll back on the road to Llyn Pendam and the cars.

The 10-mile circuit has 1,000 ft of ascent, mostly on tracks but 1 and half miles on a minor road.