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Gt Rhos – not quite Liathach, but why not?

Gt Rhos – not quite Liathach, but why not?


Postby clivegrif » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:04 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Bache Hill, Black Mixen, Great Rhos

Date walked: 27/11/2011

Time taken: 4

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 670m

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“I’ve got to go to a meeting on the Welsh border this Sunday”, says She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, “but I can get a lift”. “No don’t worry about that, I can take you”
Great, get the maps out – where can I go in the time available?
So half an hour after dropping her off I find myself in New Radnor with my boots on and the sun is shining.
This trip is hot on the heels of Malky who reported on these hills a couple of weeks ago, and is the route he hinted at that starts from Radnor.
The way begins up a steep little lane with the wonderful name of Mutton Dingle. About half way up I encounter a little old lady with her Collie who starts barking at me. “You’re a good dog, are you seeing me off”? “Yes, he is clever; he barks at aeroplanes and they go away too”
A little further on is a sign warning of Kangaroos ahead. I didn’t see any; presumably they are already hibernating despite the late onset of winter.
The lane goes all the way to a Forestry Commission plantation high up on the hill, and it has a car park if you are feeling lazy. Take the bridleway that is to the left of the entrance to the plantation. The walking is easy on short grass, and it skirts around the outside of the wood. Expansive views open out across the valley to Gt Rhos, and forward to Black Mixen. Turn a corner and over a fence is the tump named Whimble.
I would recommend climbing it; it is the shapeliest thing round here and even has the odd patch of rock poking through. Unfortunately last night’s storm has quite past, and its blowing a Hooley. Thank goodness for Olympus Image Stabilization, otherwise there would be no point in getting the camera out.
Across a dip – dare I call it a Col? – lies the first Hewitt of the day, Bache Hill. I slither down the wet grass to a stile at the bottom. It would appear someone thought it amusing to add another wire fence on the other side of it and so it becomes a real tangle. Anyway, upwards and onwards. This area has a number if slopes that appear very easy and feel like you should be able to skip up them, but they are at that wrong gradient that makes them hard work. The slope eases off and across the heathery moor you go. The heather gives way to short grass where the sheep are maintaining it, before hopping over another stile and back onto heather. So far it’s not been very wet at all. The top of Bache Hill is what appears to be a small tumulus, with the trig point on the top. I think the farmer would prefer you to follow the path back to the stile, the direct route towards the next top Black Mixen is blocked by a fence with impressively sharp barbed wire (wonder how I know that…).
Across a large field with short grass and fat sheep, down to the next ‘col’. Here you have the choice of hopping over the fence and taking the dirt track to the mast at the top of Black Mixen – or do the manly (i.e. stupid) thing of wading across a bog and then up a slippery grass path before taking to the heather again. There is a faint path through the heather, which gets wetter as it approaches the highest point of the hill. Note - these hills do not have summits, this is very much moorland and the top is the part that is vaguely higher than the rest of the surrounding ground.
Black Mixen has very obvious furniture – namely a communication mast complete with an array of microwave dishes. I wonder if the ‘summit’ of this hill is now at the top of the mast? I note that the mast is only protected by a flimsy wire fence. Where’s the razor wire and ‘Keep off’ notices? Are we hill-walkers seen as being such a low Health & Safety risk that they don’t need to bother with security? However, I wouldn’t recommend it, having climbed a radio mast before I know it is hard work and they sway about in the breeze most alarmingly.
The west side of Black Mixen is distinctly soggy, but at least the path down to Shepherds Spring is clear enough. The wind has dropped, and my fingers start to feel slightly cool, so I warm them in the pockets of my summer weight Craghopper trousers. This time last year I was fully clad in winter gear walking about in snow!
Round the corner at the valley head, and walk alongside the next plantation. I have to say so far the navigation has been easy, following fence lines or trees. Over another stile and continue walking along the tree line. At the point where I turn left to head onto Gt. Rhos itself I meet the motorcyclists, 6 amiable chaps clearly having fun. They are the only people I will meet all day, and they got there by motorcycle. This really is a place where you can get away from it all, including other people.
I follow the fence line out onto the hill to a point where the fence turns away to west, and then navigation starts to get a bit more interesting. Take the path that goes straight on from the fence line, it slowly curls round eastwards to the Trig point. If in doubt – and there is sufficient visibility – you will see there is one stand out feature on this featureless heather moor, a solitary and slightly scruffy looking conifer tree about 6 feet high. This tree is actually quite a good marker as it is about 200 yards or so north of the Trig point and is the tallest feature for miles. You don’t actually see the Trig point until you are quite close to it, and it is debatable as to whether it is on the highest point. There seems to be ground which is at least as high just to the south.
From the Trig point there is a faint path that leads through the heather, but it leads too far west and peters out – yes, I did find out the hard way…. It is better to head across the moor slightly east of south, and keep more towards the edge of the Harley Valley. Every few hundred yards are warning signs for the Ammunition Testing site below, but the ‘Keep out or we’ll shoot’ signs are good markers to help navigate off the hill.
Eventually, you will reach a steep drop off, leading down to a flag pole – no red flags flying today. This marks the start of a very good bridleway that leads down a pleasant little stony valley with real rock outcrops and a pinnacle! The path goes all the way to the bottom of the Harley Valley, and gives quite scenic views across to the day’s earlier hills.
At the bottom of the valley, cross a delightful stream by a footbridge to the track beyond. About 10 yards further on there is a track leading off o the left. Take this as it leads to another bridleway that leads back to Radnor, and is much better than plodding along the A44.
As you can tell this is very much a moorland walk but on a day like today with good weather it does give expansive views and is definitely good for the soul!
Attachments
Whimble.JPG
Whimble rocks.JPG
Bache Hill.jpg
Black Mixen.jpg
Black Mixen furniture.jpg
Creigau.jpg
Ammo testing.jpg
Over Harley valley.jpg

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

User avatar
clivegrif
Rambler
 
Posts: 1451
Munros:282   Corbetts:33
Grahams:11   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:6   Hewitts:194
Wainwrights:50   
Joined: Nov 28, 2010
Location: Worcester

Re: Gt Rhos – not quite Liathach, but why not?

Postby malky_c » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:17 am

Wasn't expecting to see another report from round here so soon :lol:

Nice to see the views that I missed out on around Whimble. I have added Bache Hill to my very short list of summits I'd probably not bother revisiting, but it is probably OK in this weather :)

Good report 8)
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5978
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:272   Hewitts:269
Wainwrights:122   Islands:35
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Gt Rhos – not quite Liathach, but why not?

Postby clivegrif » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:10 pm

Hello Malky - funnily enough I didn't expect to be there either!

Your report was a good guide for this, and hopefully between us we have given the readers a couple of options.

Where are you going next? - I'll need to get the maps out! :lol:
User avatar
clivegrif
Rambler
 
Posts: 1451
Munros:282   Corbetts:33
Grahams:11   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:6   Hewitts:194
Wainwrights:50   
Joined: Nov 28, 2010
Location: Worcester

Re: Gt Rhos – not quite Liathach, but why not?

Postby malky_c » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:45 pm

clivegrif wrote:Where are you going next? - I'll need to get the maps out! :lol:


Shame I read this too late. You'll see shortly when I've written up the report :D
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5978
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:272   Hewitts:269
Wainwrights:122   Islands:35
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Glasgow

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