What brought me to the area was actually a ‘race to grid reference’ challenge, as part of DAS Resilience (www.facebook.com/denbigharmysurplus), so my aim was to get to the given GR as quick as possible, but also allowing time to enjoy this personally unexplored ground.
The Berwyn range features a ridge linking the three main peaks from Cadair Bronwen (770m) in the north, along to Cadair Berwyn (827m) via Craig Berwyn, then further south to Moel Sych (827m). Further to the South is the magnificent Pystyll Rhaeadr waterfall , one of the seven wonders of Wales and which stands over 240ft high (Higher than Niagara Falls in the USA & Canada though it doesn’t have the volume or the width in comparison.) and has many myths and legends associated with it.
I began the walk having parked up at the end of a track from Llandrillo, and continued up through the forest until the landscape opened up before me providing a visual of extensive moorland. The said fog was holding on snugly to the peaks preventing me from seeing the summits of Cadair Bronwen and Cadair Berwyn.
The route itself is pretty clear with a path leading over the moorland and up toward the ridge of Bwlch Maen Gwynedd, though I decided to go across country and up to Moel Pearce (601m) which lies to the North West of Cadair Browen. The ground here was ankle to knee high heather which slowed down the going somewhat, but not as much as the discovery of a hundreds of bilberry (aka blueberry) bushes.
Once up to a fence line I followed it all the way to the summit of Cadair Bronwen to be greeted by the organisers of the race, only to be told that I had been pipped to the post! I knew I shouldn’t have spent so long gorging on bilberries (then again, have u seen the price of them in shops these days!). The summit was still enveloped in clag so the view from this height was not on display, which is a shame as near the summit cairn is ‘Bwrdd Arthur’ (Arthur’s table) where King Arthur himself may have sat and looked over across all of his land.
Without spending too long at the summit I followed the path down south of the ridge taking the pathway to the right and down the valley, eventually running alongside the spring Ffynnon Maen Milgi. The path way is fairly good underfoot and passes by a random small wood where I suspect devil hounds, aliens, pixie and the other mythical creatures hang out and terrorize lone wanderers. At this point, with such thoughts in my head, I jogged down the rest of the path before coming to a gate where I lost the pathway on the other side as I ventured off to pick more bilberries. "No worries" I thought as I was unable to find the path again ‘I
"’ll just go cross country'"
After a while I managed to get out of the blanket bog and back on to the path which took me back to my starting point just above the track where I had parked.
Having experienced the Berwyns it is fair to say I will be back as there is so much of the area still to explore, and let’s be honest....hopefully get to see a UFO or a scene from the many myths and legends associated to the land.
The Dogs of Darkness however, I’ll take a rain check on that thanks!! (http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northeast/guides/weird/mythsandlegends/pages/dogs_darkness.shtml)
OS Map 255 - Llangollen & Berwyn