Black Darren – A slip in time   4 comments

After the less than hedonistic New Year celebrations, New Years Day dawned dark, gloomy and unpromising. After a very leisurely morning and much wasted effort trying to persuade the kids to go out for a walk, me GM and Jane decided to go out anyway. I’d wanted to introduce GM to the delights of the Black Mountains so we headed for the steep slopes above Longtown for a little amble around the Black Darren

Black Darren, 1,000 feet of ascent, 3 miles

This is a walk I’ve done a few times in the summer when the east facing slopes still catch the sun and it provides a short walk onto the tops from a high start. The weather looked very threatening with dark skies all around and wind howling through the trees but it wasn’t all that bad and reasonably clear albeit dull.


Jane, GM and Black Darren

The climb up to the main ridge is relentlessly steep but the cold wind pushed us on.


GM climbs the steep slopes



In summer the lower slopes are smothered in bracken and the paths resemble Hampton Court Maze with long avenues of fly filled vegetation. No such problems today but when we hit the ridge the wind was ferocious and we barely paused as we strode down the ridge awhile


Patchwork fields of Herefordshire

The best part of the walk is the descent through the cliffs and rocks of the Black Darren. The “Darren” is local term that seems to relate to features caused by landslips off the steep slopes. There are several in the Black Mountains and this is one of the most impressive, creating an mini-alpine feel of narrow ridge and boulder strewn valley not unlike a glacial moraine. We found a bit of shelter just above them and spent time playing with the camera settings and taking various artistic shots.


More Patchwork


Jane looking quirky


Monochrome patchwork

We then headed down and along the “arête” formed by the crest of the landslip, an unusual and airy experience.


The valley of rocks


The "arete"

The end is quite a rocky scramble which Jane wasn’t too impressed by but GM compensated by posing for a photo on the edge.


GM Posing


The rocky prow

As we reached the easy slopes the rain that had threatened all day finally arrived and it chucked it down for the dash back to the car. Not a bad day all in all and a few beers and some mulled wine well earned

Enjoy the slideshow


Posted January 17, 2012 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

Tagged with , ,

4 responses to “Black Darren – A slip in time

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  1. Looks like a cracking route.
    Do you think that the b&w photo gives more of a feeling of depth than the colour one?


    • I think the b&w photo captures the sky and landscape better on a grey day. Have to say I like a colourful world as a whole but that shot isn’t bad. It is a great short route and the landslip is a fascinating little feature


  2. Looks like a good walk for a wild day! Like the music too, thought it might have been Old Crow Medicine Show to start with. Have I found another closet Blue Grass fan…?


  3. We caught a half decent couple of hours for the walk. It battered it down the rest of the day after we got back to the car. Happy to come out of the Bluegrass closet and to out Mark as well. I’ve downloaded a couple of OCMS albums on your recommendation!


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