More new terrain for the Sherpas   6 comments

A couple of weekends back we had a glimpse of spring before the winter storms returned. The area between the main Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountain, Fforest Fawr is not somewhere I’ve really explored so it was time to put that right

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

Grey and gloomy as we set off from home the skies cleared as we headed west and were under sunny blue skies as we parked up. We squeezed onto the verge next to the monolithic stone of Maen Lia. I assume its a glacial erratic. There was an information board but I couldn’t be bothered to climb over the stile to take a look. Stiles cause me more grief than rocky mountains these days.

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

Grass is the name of the game in this part of the National Park. Big, broad rolling grassy hills with an occasional rocky cwm to divert the eye.

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

This little tour also had a nice high start at over 400m ideal for a lazy-ish day. To try and make some kind of circuit we found a route in a book that promised a fine traverse under the northern escarpment of Fan Nedd out to Fan Gyhirych and then back over Fan Nedd.

Fforest Fawr 1

Fforest Fawr 2

This was a sound recommendation and after a bit of grass bashing we picked up the path that follows the wall and contours perfectly from one side of the mountain to the other

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

The view back down the valley of the Afon Senni was especially fine

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

Over some squelchy bog and up to the northern escarpment at Bwlch y Duwynt. Panoramic views to the north and a particularly fine view of the shapely summit of Fan Gyhirych (some very tricky summit names in these parts). “Never ask for directions in Wales, Baldrick. You’ll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight”

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

There is a wide and gravelly landrover track that heads up toward the summit. I figured there would be a thin path that traces much nearer to edge and I was right. It was a fabulous walk, highlighted with a couple of lingering snow patches for added interest.

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

We spiralled around the broad and boogy summit to appreciate the full vista of views out towards the Black Mountain. With its very distinctive shape, easily identifiable  and its lonely expansive views it immediately dropped into my favourite summits list.

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

We retraced our steps along the edge back down to the bog and this time hit the summit of Fan Nedd.

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

By now the sun was warm and we were out of the wind on the summit. We had a vague plan to descend the south ridge and return to the car via Fan Llia on the other side of the road. The soft grass and warm sunshine seemed a much better idea. Boots were removed and a long lazy lunch stop seemed in order. No sense wasting good mountain summit lazing time.

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

The arrival of another group signalled our time to leave them to enjoy the summit for themselves. We wandered down to the cairn at the far end of the ridge and then in a rather enjoyably lazy and aimless sort of way, headed back to the car via a succession of sheep tracks and menacing tussock fields.

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

The car was hot and needed a blast of aircon before we could sit inside. Spring really was here. False dawn as always. Storms last night blew down more of my garden fence, tore a few more soffitt boards off and seriously damaged one of our upstairs windows. 2014 was the years of the floods, 2015 is the year of the gales

maen llia, brecon beacons, fforest fawr, black mountain, fan nedd, fan llia, Bwlch y Duwynt, afon senni, Fan Gyhirych

And with that I have an announcement. After nearly 2 years of blog slavery I’m finally up to date!! I have no more write ups to do (this walk was only 2 weekends ago). I never thought I’d ever do it but I have. Feels weird. Luckily I’m off to Scotland tomorrow for some winter backpacking in Lochaber followed hopefully by a weekend in Snowdonia. I’ll soon be several posts behind again. Perhaps I should stop going out, life would be so much easier.

A fine group of hills these and very quiet with only a handful of people seen all day. We waved at the masses on Pen y Fan but they didn’t wave back 🙂

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6 responses to “More new terrain for the Sherpas

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  1. Very fetching these grassy lumps with sculpted edges, and it looks like you weren’t in much danger of bumping into the “huge gangs of tough sinewy men” who “roam the valleys terrorising people with their close-harmony singing”.
    I was out that weekend (on the Sunday) and whilst the sun did shine, it definitely wasn’t t-shirt weather: there was a very cold wind.
    Now that you’re up to date – can we expect a guest post from TJS about his recent exploits? Anyway, I hope that you both enjoy Lochaber.

    Like

    beatingthebounds
    • Not sure why I’ve neglected these hills, probably because circular routes are a bit of a challenge but glad I’ve dedicated some time to them. Amazinging fickle weather of late. Warm and sunny this weekend, storms and gales the next, full winter on our first day in Scotland, warm spring sunshine by the end.
      Lochaber was superb, posts and smugness to follow shortly

      Like

  2. Wonderful 🙂
    Funny you should mention stiles, though. Had a few altercations with some last week in the Lakes. I can only assume that the average stile builder has never tried using one – and especially not with a backpacking sack….

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    • Great hills, well worth a visit with some very nice wild van camping spots.
      TBF sometimes goes walking with the local Ramblers group and often chuckles at how long it takes all of them to get over a single stile. That’s me now!

      Like

  3. Gorgeous landscapes again. The beautiful stone wall was nice surprise among Your gorgeous photos. We have them only around the countryside churches generally.

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