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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

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

Monday, 16 September 2019

Monday Walk - Airy ridge walk across three tops with a scenic descent: Crickhowell Circular via Table Mountain and the three Pens [Black Mountains Trip]

Length: 20.4 km (12.7 mi)  [shorter and longer walks possible]
Ascent/Descent: 944 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10

10.00 Bus Line X43 from Abergavenny Bus Station Stand 5, arrives Crickhowell Square 10.20. Return buses: 17.31, 18.31.

From/To London:
Take the 06.45 Swansea train from Paddington (07.12 Reading), arriving Newport (Wales) at 08.31. Connect to the 09.05 Transport for Wales train to Manchester Piccadilly, arrives Abergavenny 09.28. For the quietest route from train to bus station, consult the pdf for SWC 334.
Return trains: 18.14 --> 21.12, 18.57 --> 21.31, 20.45 --> 23.39.

From the centre of the rightly popular town of Crickhowell, within minutes you rise up steeply (with an 12% average gradient) for 3 km – mainly through pastures – to the excellent viewpoint that is the eponymous Iron Age hillfort site of Crug Hywel (or Table Mountain), which gives its name to the town and towers above the Usk Valley. You ascend further up the flank of the main mountain range above the town to Pen Cerrig-calch, the first of three high tops along the ridge. Continue to the slightly higher second top, Pen Allt-mawr and down to the third top, Pen Twyn Glas. The further descent now follows the easterly spur of the range with a gentle gradient and some fantastic views to the valleys either side and out to Sugarloaf/Y Fâl. A short stretch of road walking is followed by a re-ascent up to the col between Table Mountain and Pen Cerrig-calch and then follows the Beacons Way contouring the hill for a while before dropping down to town through the ancient woodland of the Cwm Cumbeth, with the bubbling Cumbeth Brook never far away. The route finishes through the heart of Crickhowell past most of its tea options.

A Very Short Walk leads back down to town from the Table Mountain, on a westerly loop along the Beacons Way and down the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (7.5 km/4.6 mi, 389m ascent, 3/10).
A Short Walk leads in a westerly loop from either Pen Cerrig-calch or Pen Allt-mawr (the latter route partly map-led) and down the lower part of the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (11.5 km/7.2 mi, 658m ascent, 6/10; or 16.5 km/10.3 mi, 741m ascent, 8/10).
A Variation of the Ending continues along Llanbedr Lane, entirely on tarmac, cutting out the re-ascent to the Crug Hywel and the descent down the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (cuts 1.5 km and 217m ascent, 8/10).
An out-and-back Extension from the last of the Pens to Waun Fach, the highest top in the Black Mountains, results in a 31.0 km/19.2 mi walk with 1402m ascent/descent, a strong 10/10. [map-led]
A Longer Walk out to Waun Fach, followed by a descent along its easterly ridge to Llanbedr village and along roads to Crickhowell, has 31.6 km/19.6 mi and 1218m ascent/descent (10/10). [map-led]

For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.

Lunch: Picnic.
Tea: Plenty of options in Crickhowell, see the pdf for details. T=swc.333


Thomas G said...

N=14 on the walk, in various subgroups at the start (bus, car, early start), but all united on Pen Cerrig-calch. The ascent to Table Mountain had been relentless but dry, and with the rewards of fine views. The further ascent to the ridge proceeded under dark clouds and eventually we were engulfed in them, an effect known as 'slight drizzle with no views'. So it stayed for the duration of the high ridge walk. At the first top 4 had taken the 2nd possible shortcut to catch the 14.20 bus back to Abergavenny. Between tops 2 and 3 we had some hard rain, then drizzle, to then finally emerge from the clouds, now with views again, after about 2 bours. The weather improved enough to take waterproofs off for the long scenic descent, with the higher ridges still under clouds, but partly emerging. Quite atmospheric.
4 chose the road ending, avoiding another 240m ascent and 6 went back up and across the ascent route by Table Mountain for a scenic descent along the slope then down along the wooded Cwm Cwmbeth and past some Highland cattle lookalikes with impressive horns. Time enough was left for tea in Crick and then the 17.31 bus...

Thomas G said...


Anonymous said...

Sunny Wales Club? Smashing Weather Club? 2 years running with phenomenal weather in Wales (except for Monday, but it was nice to get some use out of that wet weather gear after carrying it all weekend). Another great SWC trip.

Thomas G said...

Plus 1 late starter, who had to go to Cwmbran first thing to pick up her mobile phone at the bus depot, and walked the short version. N=15