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This Week's Walks - Archive

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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 29 April 2017

[Brecon Trip] Saturday Walk - South Britain’s best ridge walk: The Black Mountain – Y Mynydd Du (Glyntawe Circular)

Length: 21.9 km (13.7 mi) [shorter walk options available]
Ascent/Descent: approx. 1000m; Net Walking Time: 7 hours
Toughness:  10/10     

Meet at 08.50 in the south east corner of the Morrison’s car park in Brecon’s town centre, near the four-way road junction opposite the Bus Interchange (drivers: please bring your cars). We’ll then allocate walkers to cars. The start of the walk is in Glyntawe at the bus stop by the bridge over the River Tawe. This is on the A4067, south west of Brecon, Grid Reference SN 846 167.
Both publicans in Glyntawe have expressed their strong preference that walkers who spend all day on the hill, do NOT park their cars in the pub car parks. Please use one of the few side roads off the A-road (and not the small lay-by by the church either).

In the case of more walkers than spaces, the ‘spare’ walkers will have to…
Take the 09.10 bus T6 (direction Abertawe/Swansea) to Glyntawe (Tawe Bridge), arrives Glyntawe 09.43. [Missed the bus? Take the 10.10]. Return buses run at 16.23, 17.23 and 19.23.
In any case, the walk will not start before the bus has passed through.

The Black Mountain (Y Mynydd Du in Welsh), in the Western Brecon Beacons, is often referred to as the last wilderness in the Brecon Beacons National Park and a walk along it as South Britain’s best ridge walk. It traverses a series of high peaks along a sequence of steep dramatic escarpments and features some of the most spectacular upland scenery in Britain. The route involves remote and rugged terrain, with a couple of glacial lakes and superb mountain views and leads almost entirely through open country.
From the Tawe Valley you rise steeply up a grassy hillside onto the first ridge, Fan Hir, and soon follow its edge with some far views to the two famous peaks in the Central Beacons: Pen y Fan and Corn Du. After dropping into a saddle you re-ascend to Fan Brycheiniog and then onto the northerly top Fan Foel. The views of the moorland and open country to the north are spectacular, and reveal the isolation of the range. Turn west through a deep saddle to conquer the even more spectacular ridge of Bannau Sir Gaer.
The return route along the bottom of the steep escarpments, past some glacial lakes and moraines, reveals a different and fascinating perspective of the high buttresses and some steeply carved valleys below.
Shorter circular or out-and-back options, as well as a start from near the northerly end, are described on the webpage and on page 2 of the pdf.
An alternative return route from the last top initially leads through open pathless, sometimes boggy, moorland, then through a veritable moonscape of shake holes, swallow holes, pot holes and limestone pavement before dropping back into the Tawe Valley (Cwm Tawe in Welsh).

Lunch: Picnic on the ridge.
Tea: Tafarn Y Garreg pub or The Gwyn Arms (note: this latter pub has somewhat conflicting policies regarding walkers: no walking boots, but no socks only either).

For all walk options, a summary, route map, height profile, photos, walk directions or gpx/kml files click here.T=swc.279


Thomas G said...

About 25 people had arrived early enough on Friday to partake in the group dinner at The Bank, kindly initiated and organised by Stargazer, our thanks go out to her.
One car's engine had given up the ghost en-route, and a late leaver from London got stuck in some horrible traffic in West London before even getting out of town, else everyone got to Brecon w/o hiccups.
n=36 walkers (incl. one first timer, courtesy of a tip by Blackheath Ramblers) then met this morning in the town centre to find out whether we had enough cars for all of us to drive to the start. We did. 5 of us opted for the alt. start and short walk from the North at Blaenau Car Park, the rest drove off to Glyntawe.
So we got started at 10.00 and to the first proper top around noon. The weather was w=dry-all-walk-with-sunny-breaks-and-blustery-on-the-tops. This provided for.some.astonishing far views: Bristol Channel, Exmoor, Cardigan Bay, Pembrokeshire, Pen y Fan, etc.
Later on any walker intended on taking the shortcut off Fan Foel was convinced/coerced into believing that the 10/10 main walk was indeed what they really wanted to walk. And so they did, with no regrets.
We bumped into the alt. start walkers on the ridge at some point and met them again later in one of the Glyntawe pubs.
A very challenging but rewarding day out. Thanks to all the drivers.
There are also another 3 SWC regulars in town, but they spent today in Brecon.

Thomas G said...

Oh, 3 of the 31 main walkers followed the alt. ending via the Shakeholes route, through a veritable moonscape of limestone pavements and upland bogs, incl. the diversion to the Sgwd Ddu waterfall. Their only slight disappointment was that the stream that disappears into a Swallowhole at Sinc Giedd was just a dry streambed, as the winter here hasn't been all that wet (reservoir levels look very low as well).