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Black Mountains bike-and-hike - round 2

Black Mountains bike-and-hike - round 2


Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:56 am

Hewitts included on this walk: Mynydd Llysiau, Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch, Pen y Gadair Fawr, Twmpa, Waun Fach

Date walked: 15/06/2018

Time taken: 6.75

Distance: 26.5 km

Ascent: 1268m

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This is a report on round 2 of our S Wales jaunt, using again the same procedure as before: drive to the end, cycle to the start.

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BIKE ROUTE 20km, 400m of ascent.

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The bike route is quite superb, being as it is almost entirely on single track minor roads. Bike & hike assumes a new dimension when the rides are a great pleasure in their own right. :D

We start just below Twmpa - or, as it's also known: Lord Hereford's Knob...

Image20180615_084643.

We cycle to the campsite at Cwmdu, where we leave the bikes, and head off up to the hills. It's a slightly tricky navigation before we get out on to the moor - tracks shown on the map are not very evident on the ground.
Image20180615_104209. But before long we're out into country. The path is greatly appreciated, given the thick bracken everywhere else! But it doesn't continue for very long, and after that we are yomping through mainly short heather - none too difficult.

Image20180615_104240. As we climb, the picture postcard prettiness of rural S Wales reveals itself.

Image20180615_104906.

Image20180615_105654.

Image20180615_111545. Ahead the first Hewitt of the day, Pen Cerrig-calch, which involves a bit of an "out-and-back"...

Image20180615_115339. ... and like a good few Welsh summits, is a tad lacking in drama! But Dr Frank poses to add a bit of character... :D

Image20180615_121933. Looking out towards Pen Gloch-y-pibwr. I've been unable to identify the pyramid-shaped hill in the far background... Any help on this welcome ...

It's then very easy walking along a broad path to...

Image20180615_122716. Pen Allt-mawr, the second Hewitt.

It's quite a steep drop off Pen Allt-Mawr...
Image20180615_123606.


Image20180615_134348. ...and then a goodly old walk to Mynydd Llysiau (Hewitt Nr 3), with a stop for a leisurely lunch at Pen Twyn-glas on the way. This view is looking back the way we've come, rather emphasizing the green desert character of these uplands.

Image20180615_135145. Looking ahead, more or less NNE is Waun Fach, Hewitt Nr 4.

Image20180615_135213. The summit itself is once again less than wholly inspiring :wink: .

Image20180615_140639. The path on to Waun Fach is broad and hard to miss...

... which gives me time to reflect on what the attraction of these hills is; for, notwithstanding their ostensibly bland uniform character, we are thoroughly enjoying our walk. The monotony itself has a certain attraction - I guess in the same way that deserts have. But in part, I think it's a bit like the Cairngorms, or the upper reaches of the Yorkshire Dates: the appeal is in the views from the tops, rather than the tops themselves; and the great contrast of that austere monotony with the verdant prettiness of the valleys really points up their Constable-like rural character of the latter. Also, there is a certain appeal in making quite rapid progress, rather than bashing painfully through waist-high bracken or heather :D .

Image20180615_143206. At least the summit of Waun Fach has something a bit formal about it: "this is a summit".

Then it's another out-and-back to Pen y Gadair Fawr.

On the way we get a closer look at Grwyne Fawr reservoir, which we saw yesterday from the other side of the Black Mountains.
Image

Image20180615_145647. Looking back from its summit north west towards Waun Fach

Image20180615_145729. " I came, I saw, I conkered..."

Image20180615_153845. Then back to the crossroads/paths, and on the way to Twmpa.

Image20180615_160014. Easy walking along a broad path, with impressive views north west from the scarp...

Image20180615_160632. ... and along the scarp itself.

Image20180615_163913. Progress is pretty swift, and soon we're on the ascent to Twmpa. This view is looking back south west along the scarp towards Rhiw y Fan and Rhos Dirion.

Image20180615_164054. Twmpa summit - "surveying all before him..."

Image Below us, more or less centre pic, is the car, and 10 minutes later we're in it and on our way to Cwmdu.

SInce leaving our bikes here in the morning, when the field was almost empty, it's now quite full of teenagers doing DoE. We're a bit concerned that it might be noisy at night, but in fact it's fine - I guess they're all quite tired from having lugged their heavy packs across the hills.

After getting our tent pitched, and ourselves showered, we take time to visit a local establishment of cultural, historical and architectural distinction...
ImageFarmers Arms Cwmdu
...which is a commmunity pub, serving a decent range of vitamin drinks :D and good food. Over a pint or two of vitamin drink we plan the next day in the Brecon Beacons.
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Alteknacker
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Posts: 2494
Munros:165   Corbetts:28
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Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Black Mountains bike-and-hike - round 2

Postby dav2930 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:21 pm

Enjoyed this and part 1, it looked a very enjoyable trip. Brought back a lot of memories of a special family holiday in this area when I was 11, which was my first experience of British hill country - I've been hooked ever since! We stayed at a 10th century farm in Michaelchurch-Escly called Ty Caradog, which was fascinating. We went up onto the ridge to the west of there and I was absolutely blown away by the view across the vale of Ewyas. It's a beautiful area which I've been wanting to revisit for a long time. Excellent photos btw. :D
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dav2930
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Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Black Mountains bike-and-hike - round 2

Postby litljortindan » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:47 am

Looks a great walk. I think your pyramidal peak is Sugar Loaf (according to peakfinder.org).
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litljortindan
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Re: Black Mountains bike-and-hike - round 2

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:04 pm

dav2930 wrote:Enjoyed this and part 1, it looked a very enjoyable trip. Brought back a lot of memories of a special family holiday in this area when I was 11, which was my first experience of British hill country - I've been hooked ever since! We stayed at a 10th century farm in Michaelchurch-Escly called Ty Caradog, which was fascinating. We went up onto the ridge to the west of there and I was absolutely blown away by the view across the vale of Ewyas. It's a beautiful area which I've been wanting to revisit for a long time. Excellent photos btw. :D


Very enjoyable it was. Solo walking is great, but so is walking with a mate, especially if it's one's sibling.

And thanks for the kind words regarding the photos - to which, sadly, I have to say, as always: very little to do with me and everything to do with Ewyas is definitely in the "mind-blowing" category!
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Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2494
Munros:165   Corbetts:28
Hewitts:195
Wainwrights:71   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

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