Wild Swimming at Wolf’s Leap   2 comments

Nothing finer than a day lazing by the river during the long hot balmy days of summer. Summer, you remember don’t you, all that warm sunshine, endless blue skies, day after day. Well you would if you were somewhere else in the world! In the UK such days were few and far between but back in early August we got one that coincided with a weekend and we took off to mid Wales to investigate Wolf’s Leap

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

I found this place in the rather excellent Wild Swimming guide by Daniel Start. There are several in the series including one on beaches and one dedicated to the South West (more treats from that book in upcoming posts). Rather unfortunate that I picked the coolest summer for a while to buy it but I now have an endless list of new places to visit

It’s tucked away on the lonely roads that lead across the Welsh Mountains between Builth Wells and the Cardigan Bay coast. The valley approach is just superb and after a cool wet summer the hillsides were a deep verdant green with the bracken in full growth. The river is broad and shallow for the most part but halfway along it narrows, dramatically in one section, and tumbles over a series of small cascades into deep pools

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

After a little explore and some close-ups of the bog (the hillsides in this part are very soggy) we found the perfect spot. Flat expanse of cropped grass next to a huge deep pool where the river emerges from an extraordinarily narrow gorge.

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

A picnic rug was spread out and while TBF and TJF dithered I plunged in. The water was astonishingly cold but clear and refreshing in a brown, bog drained sort of way. The sun however was warm and the sky blue so it was great to be able climb out and warm up quickly. Eventually TJF and TBF got in the water (TJS is not really into this wild swimming thing) and enjoyed their very cold dip

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

All that exercise set us up for what we do best, eat. We gorged on a fantastic picnic lunch, fresh crusty bread, pate, chicken and cakes for afters. I can’t think of a finer way to spend a sunny day than lazing on the grass with a good feast in spectacular surroundings with the chance of cool swim thrown in

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

To keep TJS happy (he was getting itchy feet by this stage) we took off for a walk. The edge of the crags above the valley looked like a good route and so it proved. After a short steep scramble we were up on the edge where the view back down the valley were superb.

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

We followed a series of thin sheep tracks along the edge before scrambling steeply back down to the road to return to the Funsters. Memo to self: mid-Wales is not best suited to walking in sandals!

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

Time for another swim to cool down. This time I took my camera with me and this time the water seemed to have warmed up considerably. I swam into the heart of the narrow gorge for a subterranean adventure. It was amazing that a river 20 feet wide for the most part, here flows through a cleft only a couple of feet wide. My photos don’t really do it justice (I still had the settings wrong).

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

A cuppa in the sunshine before we had to pack up and head home.

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

abergwesyn, wolfs leap, afon irfon, esgair irfon, craig irfon, wild swimming, picnic

A cracking place for a lazy day and so far from anywhere that we only saw two other groups enjoying the facilities on such a perfect day. One for the future if we get a summer next year

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2 responses to “Wild Swimming at Wolf’s Leap

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  1. Had a look at that book on a well known online tax-dodging corporation’s site – looks like a really excellent investment.
    Wolf’s Leap looks great. The narrow gorge must be a proper mini adventure. Maybe next summer we’ll get a proper warm spell?

    Like

    beatingthebounds
    • It’s a spot to rival the Esk Gorge, some deep pools and mega-leaps as well as waterfalls and scrambling. One of the standout days of the non-existent summer.

      There is hidden beaches book by the same people as well – all really good – I have the full set now including the France one which will be the basis of my summer holiday planing for 2016

      Like

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