Top of the (local) world – Waun Fach, November 2013   8 comments

TJS had been hassling me for a “proper long walk” as we hadn’t been out together for a couple of months. We had a decent looking day so I took him on the the promised long route, a round of the Grwyne Fawr valley, taking in the highest summit in the Black Mountains, Waun Fach, the local high point.

10.5 Miles

10.5 Miles

It was perishing cold and windy when we set off but with blue skies overhead.

After a steep start through more of the dark, primeval forest that cloaks the lower slopes round these parts we emerged blinking into the bright sunlight. The summits were shrouded in clouds but there was clear sky elsewhere so I was confident it would clear later and so it proved.

Grwyne Fawr Valley

Grwyne Fawr Valley

Across the soggy slopes up onto the ridge at the Blacksmiths Anvil. The views across the Gwyrne Fawr reservoir and dam were especially fine.

Grwyne Fawr Valley

From here the long broad ridge proceeds endlessly but easily over Twyn Talycefn to the Trig Pillar and un-named point overlooking the northern escarpment and Wye Valley. It had pretty much cleared now and it was a fine day.

Twyn Talycefn

Grwyne Fawr Valley, Pen y Gadair Fawr

Black Mountains

TJS is into his third year at High School now and is choosing his GCSEs. We chatted long about his options and the time was flying by. It’s really enjoyable to share these big days with him, and chance to catch up and talk as I’m out most of week working so glimpses of my kids are fleeting

We needed some lunch and pressed on looking for shelter. Unfortunately this area seems to be plagued by motocross riders and the damage was extensive turning what used to be a decent path into a 30m wide mess of ruts and mud. Quite why they have to come up here when there must be endless muddy farmers fields they can churn up I don’t know. They can have no idea of the damage a single bike can cause in seconds let alone in greater numbers. If the pattern continues many sections of these great hills will become irreparably damaged and impassable.

We wandered off piste and found a sheltered little spot on the western side overlooking Mynydd Troed where we’d walked last new year. The sun was already low in the sky with the short days so there was no time to linger. Low sunlight however means stunning views, highlighting the autumn browns to great effect

Black Mountains

Mynydd Troed

Black Mountains

Onto the broad summit of Waun Fach, the summit of the Black Mountains. Not as boggy as I remember it but a wild a lonely place nonetheless. TJS was pleased to reach the high point of his local hills.

Mynydd Troed

Waun Fach

Waun Fach, Pen y Gadair Fawr

Over more soggy ground to Pen y Gadair Fawr. It’s more prominent than Waun Fach with a distinctive flat top and always looks higher from wherever you see it. I’ll have to take the word of the OS that it’s 1m lower 🙂

Pen y Gadair Fawr

The way was enlivened by another motocross rider, spraying mud lavishly as he went, appalling and heartbreaking in equal measure.

The sun really was setting fast and the light streaming through the clouds was grand.

Brecon Beacons

Clee Hills

We’d done all the hard work though and it was a simple matter of plunging down the slopes to the road to get the car.

Brecon Beacons

TJS got his wish – a 10.5 mile walk possibly the longest he’s done. He keeps pace with me know so it’s only a matter of time before he’s waiting for me to catch up 🙂

8 responses to “Top of the (local) world – Waun Fach, November 2013

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  1. Excellent looking day there! We very nearly got down to south-ish Wales a few weeks back with James, but came to the conclusion it was just a bit too far for one night. One day soon, hopefully!


    • Give me a shout if you’re ever down this way and we can finally meet up and I can ta for the jacket 🙂

      I’m quite proud of my local hills (they are mine by the way!) and pleased I get them mostly to myself. This was another day when we saw hardly anyone


  2. Looks like another cracking day. Enjoyed reading that.
    Slaid Cleaves, Ted Hawkins? You’re a man of impeccable taste.
    (But wrong about avocados)


  3. Love the views from the wide open spaces!


    • Thanks Bob. My local hills don’t have much in the way of rocky cliffs or dramatic edges but they are wild and austere and relatively quiet and unspoilt. Ideal; for long walks on their expansive summit ridges


  4. A cracking area Andy, one that I walked frequently when I had use of that Welsh Longhouse a few years back. Not been for a few years, I should go back and wild camp up on the ridges.



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