My tent stands pitched on the flat 645m summit of Drygarn Fawr, one of Wales’s remotest and least visited peaks. A huge beehive cairn, topped by a piece of white quartz, dwarfs my fabric shelter, offering me protection from the rising wind blowing in off Cardigan Bay out of sight to the west.

P1016709_1Through the night, I hear gusts whistle through the stone slabs of the Bronze Age cairn, before they rush on unimpeded across miles of lonely snow-flecked moorland, reminiscent of the Canadian tundra. It’s mid April, but winter is not yet ready to relinquish its hold here above the valleys.

I find myself shivering from the chill of the wind penetrating my fleece jacket; or perhaps it is the thought of Bronze Age ghosts stalking the moors.

Fortifying myself with hot chocolate, I trace my route on the three OS maps that I struggle to unfold in my cramped one-man tent. Between the small town of Llanwrtyd to the south and Machynlleth to the north, the 55-mile walk I’m planning crosses the sparsely populated centre of Wales.

P1016812Interrupted by only one main A-road – stretching across to Aberystwyth in the west – and with no café, pub or shop in-between, this is one of Britain’s last wild areas south of the Scottish border.

While some of my route, by necessity, will take in forestry plantations and farmland, much of it will be cross-country, navigating through some rough and tough terrain.

The Elenydd or Cambrian Mountains – also known as the ‘Green Desert of Wales’ – was once described in a book on the area as “miles and miles of bugger all.” And after months of being cooped up indoors, bugger all was just what I needed.

Read the rest of the article in TGO Magazine

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