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Y Garn (Pumlumon)

Round Cairn

<b>Y Garn (Pumlumon)</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Nearest Town:Machynlleth (16km NNW)
OS Ref (GB):   SN77568515 / Sheet: 135
Latitude:52° 27' 0.45" N
Longitude:   3° 48' 6.85" W

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In my experience it is often the case that either end of a linear mountainous ridge will receive its fair share of walkers coming and going. As usual, however, Pumlumon does not subscribe to convention... in fact I reckon you will be hard pressed to find any more unfrequented 2,000ft plus hills in all Wales than Pumlumon Cwmbiga at the northern apex. Y Garn, occupying the southern end of the Pumlumon massif, in my opinion possesses a very similar atmosphere. The difference here, however, is that - despite being higher than its distant counterpart - it is much easier to achieve that special upland ancient vibe.

I would suspect that most of the visitors Y Garn does pay host to are 'peak bagging' - after all the the mountain does rise to 2,244 ft, very respectable for Mid Wales - either taking a detour during the ascent from Eisteddfa Gurig to the east, or engaged in an 'out-and-back' from Pen Pumlumon-Fawr itself. Indeed it was by way of the latter that I first came here way back in 1993. There is another option, however. One that offers up the chance to visit a rather fine cairn-circle as either a suitably splendid hors d'oeuvres... or else a classic prehistoric finale to the day; namely an ascent from Lle'r Neuaddau more or less directly below to the west. Great site....

Most prospective Citizens Cairn'd will presumably approach via the (signposted) Nant-y-Moch road from Ponterwyd [As it happens I came the opposite way, following a look at the Nant Maesnantfach cairn... but no matter]. If so, look for the copse of trees on the right (not shown on older editions - i.e mine - of the 1:25K map) just past the Lle'r Neuaddau farm buildings, noting the track heading through the trees. I parked a little way up the road to avoid being in the way of 'farm-related business' (as I recall the occupants are 'proper' decent people) and, after emerging from the forestry upon the aforementioned track, simply made a steep ascent to the east all the way to the summit, crossing one fence by way of a conveniently positioned stone. Of course it isn't quite as straightforward as that.... the climb is very steep in places, not to mention more or less trackless (so far as I noticed).... but further directions are, frankly, superfluous. Er, up. That-a-way. Great retrospective views across Nant-y-Moch, of Disgwylfa Fawr and to the coast provide ample reasons for comfort breaks... in addition to the most obvious.

The summit cairn, when it arrives, is a very welcome sight indeed and much larger than I recall from that visit 19 years ago. Sure, it is defaced somewhat by a section of dry stone walling across the southern arc.... presumably for the benefit of livestock, not homo sapiens? The monument is also not that tall; if ever it was so, the cairn has now collapsed and spread to form an extensive footprint. Nevertheless there remains a very significant volume of stone piled upon this mountain top, complementing the 'greener' example upon Disgwylfa Fawr across the Afon Rheidol. Unlike Disgwylfa Fawr, however, whatever was interned within Y Garn's cairn has been lost forever.

I stay on site for a couple of hours to revel in the exquiste vibe in such fine weather. Yeah, it's not often one can enjoy absolute, complete and utter silence... incidentally I spy a couple of punters striding the far ridge to Pen Pumlumon-Fawr. But none bother to come here to break the spell. Nonetheless the seed is planted and begins to germinate... quickly, too. Pen Pumlumon-Fawr doesn't look that far away, does it? 'Passionate Gladman' and 'Conscientious Gladman' battle for supremacy, the latter surmising that the hamstring won't hold up. For better or worse, however, the former wins. In the end he is proved right. But only just.
26th November 2012ce
Edited 26th November 2012ce