Pumlumon 2009

Time for me to stop pretending that Mid Wales has no mountains.

The Cambrian Mountains stretch all the way through Mid Wales, from the Brecon Beacons of South Wales, right up to Snowdonia in North Wales. The character of them is so different within Mid Wales, that they earn their own name; Elenydd, though typically the name Cambrian Mountains is used to refer only to the part that makes up Mid Wales. Unlike the mountain ranges at each end, there are virtually no mountain peaks and no massive glacial scarps, and all that remains is a vast area of boggy moorland with very little change. Part of it is even known as the Desert of Wales, due to its barren appearance.

I had largely ignored this part of Wales for a long time, perhaps being spoilt by the more important ranges to the north and south, but in all honesty, it's because Mid Wales does not look like it has any mountains at all. They look like hills. Small, bumpy hills. Occasionally, dramatic valleys cut through them, and produce some sense of altitude, but realistically, they all just feel like hills.

In actual fact, there are four areas containing mountain summits in Mid Wales; Pumlumon near the northern end, the northern Elan Valley area just south of Pumlumon, the southern Elan Valley area even further south, and the Radnor Forest area to the east of that. There are no mountain summits in the southern part of Mid Wales. In total, there are 11 mountains, of which the 5 tallest are in the Pumlumon area. 3 of these are over 700 metres high.

The name Pumlumon is the Welsh form of the name, and the preferred version. Plynlimon is the Anglicised version of the name, stemming from a failure to listen. All of the sounds of the Welsh version are available in English, and could be spelled Pimlimon, but apparently that would be too easy. Since the Welsh version of the name is used for all the other peaks that share it, and the Anglicised version is only applied to the biggest, I will use the Welsh spelling for all peaks. This is also what is used by the Nuttall listings (though not the Hewitt listings). Given that this is a bilingual area, and locals will prefer the original name in either language, it is the right name to use.