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Climbs 16
Rocktype Shale
Altitude 520m a.s.l
Faces NE

Crag features

A very remote cliff at the head of Cwm Gwarin (wrongly named Cwm 'Gwerin' on OS maps) which has been climbed on in the past but with nothing recorded. Absolutely guaranteed to be crowd free; this is the quintessential all-year-round Bank Holiday crag.

Craig y March translates as 'Stallion's Crag', the stallion in this case being 'Llwyd y Bacsiau' (Grey Fetlocks) who was Owain Glyndwr's great war horse. 

Of all the ghosts who haunt these empty hills, Owain Glyndwr, Prince of Wales; statesman, shaman, soldier, mystic and perennial national hero is by far the most illustrious. It was at Hyddgen, near Craig y March, that Glyndwr's half-starved liberation army won its first victory in the war of independence against the English Crown. In the summer of 1401, a punitive expedition of English and Flemings marched into the mountains. They were doubtless spurred on by a rumour put about by King Henry's agents that if Glyndwr were victorious, the English would all be forced to learn Welsh! Owain's ragged little band amounted to a mere "120 reckless men and robbers". Finding themselves surrounded, the Welsh resolved to: 'make their way through or perish in the attempt: so falling on furiously with courage whetted by despair, they put the enemy, after sharp dispute, to confusion; they pursued so eagerly their advantage, that they made them give ground, and in the end to fly outright, leaving two hundred of their men dead on the spot of engagement.' It was probably little more than an out-of-the-way skirmish, and yet there is something other-wordly about the place; indeed the same can be said about the whole Cwm Gwarin valley. 

High up on Craig y March's central section is a long abandoned Buddhist hermitage, once regularly used by a now deceased local Buddhist. Rudimentary bivi gear remains, as does a small cache of stores: "My cave is no more than an overhang in the cliff, with a fern-hung rockfall to keep out the wind. The interior is bright with lichens and pungent with sheep shit."  Some distance above the cave there is a small effigy of Buddha in a grotto. Visiting climbers are respectfully requested to leave all religious and other artifacts undisturbed, as this was once an important  place of solitude, meditation and prayer for one very devout individual, who one day left with every intention of returning, but illness meant that he never did......

There's other gear to be found on this cliff as well. The abandoned climbing gear on the spectacular but rotten main central overhang is a testament to great but ultimately mis-placed optimism.

On the plus side, Craig y March has the distinction of having Pumlumon's only multi-pitch climb to date, which is worthwhile, plus a number of easy, pleasant slab climbs on surprisingly good rock. 

For further information, see the new Central Wales - Elenydd guidebook.

Approach notes

The crag is on access land. The long, though relatively straightforward walk-in, is fully detailed in the new guidebook.

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Climbs at this crag

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