Top of the Cambrians

Pen Pumlumon Fawr, Pumlumon, Eisteddfa Gurig, Ceredigion, Wales

Pumlumon is the crown of the Cambrians reaching a total of 752 metres (2,467 ft) at it’s highest point on Pen Pumlumon Fawr.

Pumlumon is Welsh for “five peaks” and according to Welsh folklore is home to a sleeping giant. It is also the source of the longest river in the UK, the Severn and several other rivers including the Wye and the Rheidol.

As always with the uplands the weather can change very rapidly, changing from beautiful blue skies to thick cloud that ruined the chances of seeing anything but objects within a 100 meters, so there was no chance of seeing the stunning views.

The summit of Pen Pumlumon Fawr is unusual in being covered in mosses such as Wooly Fringe-Moss Racomitrium lanuginosum (2) and also clubmoss rich-grassland, with two species of lycophyte.  The tall brached Fir Clubmoss Huperzia selago (6) and the much lower growing Alpine Clubmoss Diphasiastrum alpinum (4) could both be found growing high on the summit. Both of these species belong to the oldest extant group of vascular plants which were dominant during the Carboniferous period.

The summit of  Pen Pumlumon Fawr is marked by a Trig point and a series of cairns and is meant to have a stunning view of Ceredigion and Powys, although sadly today there was very little to be seen.


A Lead Past

Pumlumon Mine, Pumlumon, Eisteddfa Gurig, Ceredigion, Wales

Pumlumon, like most of the upland areas of Wales is full of mines which hark back to a more industrial past.

It’s hard to imagine this bleak and empty valley was once a industrial, dirty and busy mine. It’s situated 550m up along the Afon Tarennig and unlike many of the mines in the Central Wales orefield which have been worked since ancient times, the Pumlumon mine was first worked in 1864, it consisted of several adit mines which yielded ca 3270 tons of lead during the mines working period until it closed in 1897.

There was still a large amount of evidence from the sites past uses, with the large slag tip being in evidence from quite a distance away. Once closer you could see the old water wheel trench, which once held a 40ft wheel and an old tipper bucket.

Nature has slowly started to take back the site which has been badly affected by the heavy metals released during the mines history. In a small pool close to the trackway, Round-Leaved Crowfoot Ranunculus omiophyllus (7) could be found growing.