New Years Day on Lord Herefords Knob   26 comments

The final part of the Black Mountains New Year trilogy with me D and GM. Another promising day’s forecast meant that New Year’s Day was a mountain walking day. Another session of poring over the map led us to Capel y Ffin for walk taking in Lord Hereford’s Knob, an honourable 3rd place in the list of comedy mountain names.

Twmpa, Lord Herefords Knob

7 Miles, 1,420 feet of ascent

It was clearly much colder than the past couple of days as we booted up and headed off.

Vale of Ewyas

Vale of Ewyas

Waun Fach

Across to Waun Fach

Its a steep start to the walk heading over the fields, past Pen y Maes farm and along the path/stream to the bottom of the steep eminence of Darren Lwyd.

Pen y Maes

Stream/Path above Pen y Maes

Darren Lwyd, Vale of Ewyas

G on Darren Lwyd

The bright patches of blue to the east were being replaced by dark brooding clouds to the west. Evidence of rain in the air was provided with a rainbow as we crested the ridge.

Darren Lwyd

GM and D on Darren Lwyd

It’s a long plod up to LHK but you can massively improve the aspect by ignoring the main path and heading to the right to pick up the path along the cliffs. It gives some great views down the length of the Vale of Ewyas and up towards the Gospel Pass and Hay Bluff.

Vale of Ewyas

Vale of Ewyas

The main path is pleasant enough but can be a bit of a drag and the edge route is much more satisfying.

Darren Lwyd, Gospel Pass, Hay Bluff

GM on Darren Lwyd looking to the Gospel Pass and Hay Bluff

D was behind for most of the way to the summit clearly suffering from 3 days walking and a late night to watch the New Years Eve fireworks on TV. Easy to forget he’s only 13 and still finding his feet as it were.

Darren Lwyd

D struggling along Darren Lwyd

Black Mountains

Sunlight shafts across the Black Mountains

It was blowing a gale on LHK. GM was planning to send the customary “I’m sitting on Lord Hereford’s Knob” text to his mates but it was just too cold so we headed down.

Lord Herefords Knob, Twmpa

Father & Son on Lord Herefords Knob

Our original plan was to continue around the northern edge to pick up the long path along to  Chwarel y Fan before heading back to the car. The dark clouds and D’s reduced enthusiasm pointed us towards a descent down into the Nant valley. This it turned out was an inspired choice. I’ve often wanted to explore but all too often have kept to the summits. We had a brief lunch tucked into the soggy heather and tussocks before exploring our way down.

Nant Valley

Lunch in the Nant Valley

The valley is a steep sided with numerous side branches and waterfalls to sustain the interest. The path stays well above the stream but me and GM descended to it’s depths for a closer look. It would be a fine sporting route just to stick to the stream-side in drier conditions. There are even a few secretive small spots to throw a tent up although like all such places in the Black Mountains the sheep have also discovered them with obvious results.

Nant Valley

Looking South along the Nant Valley

Nant Valley

Looking north along the Nant Valley

The valley opens out lower down to reveal several cracking summer picnic spots by small waterfalls although they are pretty damp at the moment.

Nant Valleys

Waterfall in the Nant Valley

Nant Valley

D makes his weary way down

Someone had even gone to the trouble of building a towering thin cairn right in the middle of the stream that seems to survive the floodwaters that must have roared down the valley in the past few weeks.

Nant Valley

Mid-river cairn

Rather than walk all the way down the road we took the side path that traverses the western slopes of Darren Lwyd to Pen y Maes farm, another fine choice and a great finish to the walk.

Darren Lwyd

Traversing across the lower slopes of Darren Lwyd

Not out as long as we thought but still a fine day with a great mix of mountain and stream scenery to keep us entertained. GM headed home the next day. I offered D the chance for another walk – he declined 🙂

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26 responses to “New Years Day on Lord Herefords Knob

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  1. Couldn’t find a piece of music with ‘knob’ in the title then……..? Mumford and Sons was a good choice nevertheless.
    Poor D does look a touch tired in some of those pics! Around 13 was the age when our Abi kind of lost the use of her walking legs for a while….the movement came back eventually though 🙂

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    • There is actually a song called “On top of Lord Herefprd’s Knob” by the eponymous “Half-Man, Half-Biscuit” but I though that was a little obvious. Strangely I don’t have any songs with knob in the title other than that one. Bit worried about what I might find if I search 🙂

      Poor D was a little jaded that day but he said he still loved it. Like me he does his thinking while out walking so even when he is up with the pace he’s often quiet and reflective

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  2. You soon realise just how big Lord Hereford’s Knob is when you are astride it. Looked like a good New Years , ahem ‘stretch’.

    Chrissie says “Mumford and Sons was a good choice nevertheless” is that a slur on their character!!?

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    backpackingbongos
  3. I hope not because I love Mumford and Sons! LOL Well I am now left wondering what number 1 and 2 are on your comedy list of mountains?!

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  4. Great photos. The Vale of Eywas is beginning to assume a sort of Magic Kingdom status in my imagination.
    13 eh? Ee Gads! It doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since we were in that cottage by the docks (where?) and the EWO was regarding D like some sort of UXB.
    Anyway, I’ve had a change of heart – you’re not toughening him up enough. These posts have had me thinking about the walks I used to do with my own Dad and his friends when I was about D’s age. When I was 12 I did the first half of the Lyke Wake Walk, at which point my Mum made me pack in because me toes were bleeding. When I was 14 we tackled the 40 mile bog trot which is the Derwent Water Shed walk. Somewhere in between we did the Dales 3 peaks. It was the era of ‘The Big Walks’ books and I think my Dad felt cheated if a walk was less then about 25 miles. I better start toughening myself up for when my kids hit their teens!

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    beatingthebounds
    • That’s brought back memories of my dad taking me on 20 mile cycle rides when I was 7 years old (he was a competitive cyclist), plus up and down Ingleborough in a blizzard at the age of 6. And in those days we didn’t need rucksacks with extra clothes etc…..as long as you had a Mars Bar in your anorak (cotton) pocket, everything was fine…….

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    • I’ll take you up the Vale of Ewyas (steady!) if you come visit in the summer, some great walks and picnic spots. The cottage by the docks was in Kinlochbervie, the trip of Foinavon, Arkle and the magnificent Sandwood Bay. The last Easter trip as well, happy days

      Clearly I had far too sheltered an upbringing, all this talk of long bike rides and challenge walks is making me feel inadequate.

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  5. Another valley gem discovered fortuitously, looks like a very attractive descent. Sometimes a change of plan reveals new pleasures in the most familiar hills.

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    • It is indeed a gem, there are a few of these in the BMs most very quiet and unspoilt. You are absolutely right that sometimes an unexpected change of plan is a bonus, teaches you the lesson not to treat a walk as route march to be strictly followed but as an exploration

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  6. Beautiful waterfall!

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