Date walked: 03/09/2019
Time taken: 3.5 hours
I’m glad to arrive at the car park to be greeted by blue skies, it’s not long since the sun woke on the other side of Hatterrall Hill, so despite the blue skies it’s still a little dull. Heading out of the car park the deserted priory does have a sense of reverence about it and I wonder how many stories have been told in the local hostelries of things that go bump in the night?
Passing around the priory there are direction signs from the start towards Hatterrall Hill that are easily followed which lead round to the other side of the priory before heading through meadows towards the woods. A couple of gates, stiles and hedgerows are passed along the way before the ground starts to rise in earnest. Again the route couldn’t be any clearer, the grassy path heads up the hill between fern and bracken and after approx. 1¼ miles of leaving the car park, the top of the ridge is gained. Great views behind down into the valley and at the moment the priory is still in shade. Another 5 minutes walk along the now asphalt path and a cairn is reached which is where the Offa’s Dyke Path is joined.
Once up on the ridge the scenery is fairly constant, moorland heather and peat bogs stretching for miles alongside the path, ponies and sheep dotted here and there. To the west the other ridge tops of the Black Mountains can be seen including the highest point Waun Fach which at the moment has a cloak of cloud around it, Pen y Gadair Fawr a smidgen further south and a smidgen lower can still be seen clearly.
In the distance the trig point at Pen y Garn Fawr (North Daren) can be seen ahead gleaming in the morning sunshine, it looks miles away to start with, but the path is level and is a good combination of asphalt and flagstones so the going is good and takes little time to reel it in. The whole top of the ridge feels completely flat, although apparently Pen y Garn Fawr is 2001ft making it maybe 6 inches above its surroundings.
The second top of Pen y Garn Fawr and I use the word ‘top’ hesitatingly is about a ¼ mile north from the trig point and supposedly 20ft higher. I find the location of the hill but the ‘hill’ itself is very conspicuous by its absence. I plant my poles amongst clumpy grass where the ground seems to be marginally higher although there’s no way of knowing for sure where the ‘summit’ is without lugging a theodolite along.
Moving on, the English / Welsh border continues north for more than a few miles, but after just one mile there is a collection of stones representing Black Mountain South Top, which at 2090ft is the highest point of this walk.
Black Mountain itself is a further 2 miles further on and rises to 2308ft, however the South Top is as far as I go on this walk. I turn back heading south for about 200 yards. At a point where the path changes from flagstones to asphalt there is a faint path heading off to the right in the direction of the valley between the ridges, It’s easy to walk right past it so make a note to look for the end of the flagstones. Soon the path becomes a little more obvious and winds down the hillside, zig following zag through the fern, eventually reaching a stile which skirts the edge of some woodland before eventually emerging onto a country lane.
The country lane is pretty much the route all the way back to the car park, it’s a fairly straight forward trek heading South East for just shy of 3 miles in total. Once on the lane, turn left and follow it for 1¼ miles and just before the main road, turn left through a gate. Follow this dark path which then comes out onto another lane before spilling out onto the main road by the Half Moon Inn. A hundred yards past the pub, turn left through another gate which leads back into the car park.
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Date walked: 03/09/2019
Cefn yr Ystrad
Date walked: 02/08/2019
Mynydd Llysiau, Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch, Pen y Gadair Fawr, Waun Fach
Date walked: 01/08/2019
Bannau Sir Gaer - Picws Du, Fan Brycheiniog, Fan Hir
Date walked: 27/06/2019
Garreg Las [Twyn Swnd], Garreg Lwyd (Moel Gornach)
Date walked: 26/06/2019
Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)
Date walked: 13/05/2019
- Location: Hampshire, miles from the nearest mountain!
- Activity: Mountain Walker
- Mountain: Helvellyn
- Gear: Camera
- Munros: 12
- Corbetts: 5
- Grahams: 1
- Wainwrights: 17
- Hewitts: 32
- Sub 2000: 1
- Islands: 2
- Filter reports
- Trips: 18
- Distance: 255.55 km
- Ascent: 12375m
- Munros: 4
- Corbetts: 3
- Hewitts: 23
- Joined: May 04, 2017
- Last visited: Sep 14, 2019
- Total posts: 23 | Search posts