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Garreg Las

Garreg Las

Postby Daveyf » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:38 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Garreg Las [Twyn Swnd], Garreg Lwyd (Moel Gornach)

Date walked: 26/06/2019

Time taken: 5.5

Distance: 16.25 km

Ascent: 577m

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After a morning of walking around the Carreg Goch loop in the clouds it was time to head just a few yards west in the hope that the afternoon sun would burn off the morning mist.

Following the A4067 north out of Brynamman it soon becomes the famed Black Mountain Road, this is a twisty turny road popular with petrol heads. The road heads over the hills towards Llandovery and includes a five mile stretch of sweeping corners and hairpin bends, seducing the driver into thinking they too can drive like Ayrton Senna if only for a few miles. It is cracking drive especially when the sun is shining and if you’re lucky you won’t get stuck behind a coach or have a sheep wander into the road and ruin the experience. There are a number of car parks along this stretch and I stopped at the main one known curiously enough as The Mountain Road car park.

The sun was indeed shining now and promised distant views in all directions. From the car park there is a grassy path that heads south east up to Garreg Lwyd. The path comes and goes over rocks and it’s fairly easy to wander off the desired line as did I! After spending the morning in the clouds with lousy visibility it was a treat to actually see where I was going and hardly a problem just aiming for the high ground. Once up on the higher level a large cairn comes into view with a trig point just to its eastern side. At 2021ft Garreg Lwyd just makes it as a Hewitt although it doesn’t really feel like one, it’s only about ¾ mile from the car park and only about 500ft higher so relatively little effort required to get to the top.
Ancient cairn at Garreg Lwyd

On top of Garreg Lwyd

A mile away to the east lies, the next port of call. A very distinct grass path heads down approx. 250ft before heading up again to the top of Foel Fraith.
Heading down Garreg Lwyd towards Foel Fraith with Garreg Las in the distance

An upturned saucer of a hill with no obvious summit, there are several gatherings of rocks any one of which could be the highest point of 1975ft.
A pile of summit stones at Foel Fraith, Garreg Lwyd beyond

Continuing east along the path for approx. 300 yards I turn off the path right, and head towards the distant lower peak of Carn Fadog. For the most part it’s a case of picking a line through all the grassy stuff and around the numerous shake holes. After a mile a grassy path appears and heads on up the last ¼ mile to the top of Carn Fadog which surprise surprise is another hill with no clear summit, a couple of rock clusters each vying to be the high point of 1680ft.
At the top of Cefn Carn Fadog

Summit at Cefn Carn Fadog

Heading north along the lesser spotted footpath it’s a fair trudge to the next hill top of Garreg Las which can be seen a fair way off in the distance.
A distant Garreg Las from Foel Fraith

To be fair there is a hint of a footpath for most of the route, even when it does disappear it’s not long before it pops up again. Along the long approach to Garreg Las, part of which is actually the Beacons Way, height is gained slowly and grass starts to give way to slabs of rock and a few small boulder fields. Soon the two mahoosive cairns can be seen in the distance. They’re still a long way off but are still huge from all this way away. After 2 ¼ miles after leaving Carn Fadog I’m eventually at the gigantic twin cairns of Garreg Las. These are among the largest cairns I’ve seen which prompts the question why build them so big? How long have they been here? If they’re to commemorate a burial ground from way back when, then is it because they had scores of dead beneath the stones, did a plague decimate a nearby community or was a VIP tribal head honcho interned here? Why this hill top, the dramatic and higher tops around Llyn y Fan Fach are only a relatively short distance away? And why build two? His and hers maybe? Theories make for interesting discussion but I guess we’ll never know for sure. At 2083ft, add another 10 when sitting on top of these mega cairns, there are great views from here back to Foel Fraith and Garreg Lwyd can be seen beyond that, the next peak of Cefn y Cylchau waits the other side of the cwm, behind me is the higher ground of Waun Lefrith and the more visited areas of Black Mountain around Llyn y Fan Fach however it’s a little shy today and hides itself in a cloud.
At the top of Garreg Las with Waun Lefrith behind in the clouds

At the top of Garreg Las

The giant twin cairns at Garreg Las

Leaving the double cairns behind I head west down the hill and soon pick up a south bound path that takes itself clockwise around the cwm.
Looking down the cwm between Cefn y Cylchau and Garreg Las

A mile after leaving Garreg Las the path starts to swing west and all but disappears, a pair of paths can be seen heading up the southern flank of Cefn y Cylchau unfortunately to get to either path there’s a gap of ‘no path land’ to plough through first. Once on the path heading up the hill it’s an easy climb up the hill for just under a ½ mile when it’s time to leave the path behind again veering off left towards the top of the hill. Not much to report at the top, there are a few stones at what seems to be the summit of 1824ft.
Summit stones at Cefn y Cylchau with the twin cairns of Garreg Las just visible behind

Heading off the last hill of the day, the route back to the car is a fairly straightforward 2 mile walk along mostly clear paths, after a mile, cross a couple of streams and keep left a relatively close to the disused quarries where a little height is gained before dropping down to the car park.
A typical view

Looking back towards Cefn y Cylchau

Northern quarry end of Carreg Lwyd
Munro compleatist
Posts: 26
Munros:12   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:50
Wainwrights:22   Islands:2
Joined: May 4, 2017
Location: Hampshire, miles from the nearest mountain!

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