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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

Friday, 17 July 2020

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

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

Meet at 09.00  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 willing to take passengers in their cars: 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 (called: Glyntawe, near Field Study Centre). 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 case of more walkers than spaces, the ‘spare’ walkers will have to…

Take the 09.20 bus T6 (direction Abertawe/Swansea) from Stand 5 to Glyntawe (near Field Study Centre), arrives 09.52. In any case, the walk will not start before the bus has passed through.
For the easiest short option of walking SWC 86 instead (see below), the next bus at 11.20 would suffice.
Return buses run at 15.56 and 18.09.

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.

Fully written up, shorter circular or out-and-back options, as well as a start from a car park near the northerly end, are described on the webpage and on page 2 of the pdf.
For a very straight-forward short option with easy-to-follow minimal text, consider walking SWC 86.
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 last time had 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


Stargazer said...

Llyn y Fan Fach is listed as one of the best wild swimming spots in Wales.....

Thomas G said...

We had enough cars (and drivers willing to take passengers) to no one of the n=10 walkers having to take the bus. Some drizzle fell during the drive, but for the rest of the day it was dry, albeit mostly with cloud cover and a fair wind on the tops.
The two groups of 5 (the rear group containing the potential swimmers and the short cutters) quickly put some distance between each other on the initial ascent. First views of the escarpment after 45 mins or so showed that the last cloud cover was just lifting, and indeed we never had no views along the route. Early lunch in my group was had in the storm shelter on Fan Brycheiniog, a second one on the beginning of the descent to Llyn y Fan Fach. Plenty of people on that stretch, as it is easily accessible from the Blaenau car park.
We had a third stop at the end of the glacial moraine before the final 400m of descent, with brilliant views, but also with no wind which meant the notorious Highland Midge (Welsh variety) came out in numbers, moving us on rather swiftly.
Back in Glyntawe, the enlarged Tafarn-y-Garreg had a magnetic appeal (Beer! Outside seating! The other walkers!) and we convened there for a not so swift one.
One of the grandest SWC walks in fine company. One swam. W=overcast-but-dry