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Black Mountains (South)
by Daveyf » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:05 pm
Hewitts included on this walk: Mynydd Llysiau, Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch, Pen y Gadair Fawr, Waun Fach
Date walked: 01/08/2019
Time taken: 9
Distance: 27.4 km
Ascent: 1057m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
A cloudy misty start to the day was expected and that’s just what I got, as long as it stayed dry I was more than happy, especially as I forgot to bring any sun tan crème! Back in the area again to check out the Southern Hewitts in the Black Mountains. Having parked in a small lay-by just outside of Llanbedr, I headed along the road approx. ¼ mile and followed the path on the left sign posted Table Mountain. Obviously not as dramatic or challenging as its namesake in South Africa but still has its own appeal. The initial track is actually a concrete driveway up to a farmhouse and is surprisingly steep so early in the walk! Another ¼ mile after leaving the road and it’s time to leave the farmhouse and driveway and bear right over a style. Continuing in the same direction along a track between fern either side, the views behind open up. The lower slopes of Crug Mawr on the other side of Llanbedr and the distinctively pointy Sugarloaf farther afield. The clouds to the East make it seem gloomier than it actually is.
Half an hour after leaving the car and I’m at the top of Table Mountain greeted by an ancient cairn and several horses. Whilst admiring the views and taking a few pics, a very low drone fills my ears from the East. Looking around I see nothing, look again and there it is, the RAF completing a low flying alarm call in a Hercules for the residents. I don’t know how high they are other than not very, Table Mountain is only 1479ft and the valley floor is maybe 300-400ft and there’s quite a lot of daylight between the Hercules and me as I look down on it, I wonder if they ever get claims for roof top damage?
The grassy path from here heads north up towards the first Hewitt of the day Pen Cerrig-calch. It’s an easy climb, not at all strenuous. At the top there is a trig point and approx. 100 yards further on a cairn which at 2300ft is apparently a smidgen higher than the trig. It’s very much a dome shaped top and Table Mountain has now disappeared from view so don’t forget to look behind while heading up the path.
Leaving the top behind, the easy to follow path drops slightly and bears right and follows the edge of the flat topped mass of Pen Allt-mawr all the while giving great views of the valley to the East and the distant hillside linking Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr.
Approx. 1 ½ miles after leaving Pen Cerrig-calch the path rises to a cairn and the wonky trig point at the 2362ft Pen Allt-mawr which now opens up the views north towards the northern boundary of the Beacons National Park. Mynydd Troed stands on its own and Mynydd Llysiau is on the path ahead linking it all up. Not sure what happened with the trig point for it to become so lop-sided, struck by lightning, collapsed under its own weight maybe or perhaps just feeling tired as we all do from time to time!
Continuing along the path, there is a steep descent from Pen Allt-mawr heading down to Pen Twyn Glas. After approx. a mile the path splits, taking the right hand fork takes you to the not very impressive summit. Not a great deal to see here, a small collection of rocks marks the high ground at 2119ft, it’s of Hewitt height but doesn’t quite make it as a Hewitt due to having only 21m of prominence.
Next stop is Mynydd Llysiau, the path still heads north, hides occasionally then pops up a little further on. Another mile and ½ on and another gathering of rocks announces the top of Mynydd Llysiau. A long top and if it weren’t for the collection of rocks at 2175ft, the summit would be easy to miss.
The third Hewitt of the day gives a good view of the path leading up to Waun Fach. Having previously visited both Waun Fach and Gadair but not Pen Twyn Mawr, there was a temptation to take the direct route to Pen Twyn Mawr, however that would have meant a drop down to the bottom of the cwm and then climb all the way up again, much of the climb up would also be pathless. I decided to stick to the path, take the long way round and enjoy the views up on the ridge, it’s a longer way round but probably easier!
Having decided on which route to take, I left Mynydd Llysiau, continuing north with the path laid out ahead, it dips for a short while before gaining height again and finally rising steeply to the summit of Waun Fach. At 2661ft Waun Fach is the highest point in the Black Mountains, unfortunately it’s nothing to look at, a large upturned bowl, barren with no obvious peak. The cairn at a junction of paths takes the form of a coffee table and is a nice place to sit and admire the views. The excellent new path is asphalt and leads all the way to Pen y Gadair Fawr which is a far more interesting peak, and very symmetrical when approached from Waun Fach. The ancient cairn at the top sits at 2625ft and commands great views of the entire route taken so far and is therefore an excellent place to sit for a while and enjoy a bit of lunch.
The good path from Waun Fach has now come to an end. The path heading south east from Gadair is not so good, a little boggy in places, not impassable but this is August, it may not be such a pleasant walk in the middle of a wet winter. A mile and ½ later and I arrive at Pen Twyn Mawr. Another peak marked by a small gathering of stones. 2159ft is the height, again Hewitt height but very little drop, so just a mere subsidiary top.
Heading off south, it’s a good 2 ½ miles to the next and last hill top of Crug Mawr, a trig point awaits on the top of just 1804ft of hill, but there is a great view in every direction and as the sun is now making an appearance, the views look even better. A great little hill if ever there was one.
The final walk down to Llanbedr follows, from Crug Mawr the grassy path heads south west between acres of heather which at this time of year looks spectacular. Eventually arriving at a signpost marked ‘Ffordd Road’ and directing the walker through a gate and into woodland. On exiting the woodland onto a country lane, turn left and after a 1/3 of a mile turn right over a style into a field and back into woodland following the way marked signs. Before long the sounds of the rushing river can be heard which is crossed by a stone bridge that looks as old as the surrounding hills. After the river head up a slight incline into the village of Llanbedr by the church which is of course right next door to the pub. Passing the pub, head out of the village on the main road which rises slightly at the end. 17 miles and 9 hours after leaving the car, I turn the final corner glad to see the car still there and can’t wait to take my boots off!
An excellent walk taking in 5 Hewitts and another 4 tops, a long ol’ walk but very rewarding, great views all day long.
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