Black (and White) Mountain Show   4 comments

Back into August again. With a day to myself I was off to try some new hills. Ive walked the Black Mountain extensively, its my favourite of my local hills but I’ve never been out to their extreme western fringes. It takes a bit of getting to but worth the effort as you can see. Unlike the dark stone of most of the South Wales mountains, the predominant rock is limestone (hence my attempt at humour in the title).

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

As they spread out east to west the summits are not easy to fashion into a circular day walk. Keen to avoid any ascent if I can. I parked up at the top of the mountain road from Brynamman to Llangadog and headed out east, eventually putting together a pretty fine ad hoc route that avoided any road walking

7.2 Miles

7.2 Miles

The limestone has been heavily quarried and the area near the road is a fascinating mix of old mine workings, quarries and levels. There is a historical trail around these features that would be a fine summer stroll. I pressed on past the Industrial Archeology theme park and out into the hills

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

I passed a few waterfalls and then it was into wild country along the Afon Clydach. A mix of tussocks, grass and bog but much easier to walk on than I thought. I spied a few potential wild camp sites but most of the area is a little soggy for such nonsense.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

I’d brought supplies with me and managed to find a relatively sheltered spot to conjure up some bacon butties and cup of tea. The forecast had been good and up till I stopped reasonably sunny.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

Of course as soon as I was set up the sun went in and wind picked up. For a few grumbling moments I thought it was going to rain such was the darkness of the clouds.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

After some introspective moaning about fickle weather I ate heartily anyway and packed up. Within 10 minutes the sun was out again

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

I reached the top of Foel Fraith – well at least I think I did. Hard to tell on what was a very wide and featureless summit – and then followed the Beacons Way to Garreg Lwyd. It was marvellous, easy, high level strolling with these little known hills mostly all mine save for an old guy and his even older and blinder dog who took to following me instead of his owner for a while – bless him.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

I wandered back to the road, crossed it and headed back up to the broad plateau to the west and the summits of Pen Rhiw Ddu and Pen y Clogau still following the Beacons Way.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

Again the terrain was easy and untaxing allowing me clock up the distance pretty much without thinking. Views were expansive and a fine contrast between moorland and the green pastures of farming country to the north.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

I passed through a lovely spread of heather in full purple bloom but I haven’t yet mastered the art of capturing such colours on camera.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

To the west the magnificent castle of Carreg Cennen stood sentinel on its rocky outcrop. A castle well worth a visit when you are in the area.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

I had thought that I’d have to walk back along the road to the car but I managed to string together a really rather fine selection of sheep tracks, traversing back to the top of the pass such that I didn’t walk on the road at all. Clearly the road is a playground for local boy racers who were busy trying to kill themselves and everyone else with some suicidal driving manoeuvres.

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

afon clydach, black mountain, foel fraith, garreg lwyd, pen y clogau, carreg cennen, pen rhiw ddu

I was back at the car much earlier than I thought and the distance at just over 7 miles much shorter than I thought. A fine walk indeed at hills that reward a bit effort to reach them and explore

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4 responses to “Black (and White) Mountain Show

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  1. Marvellous wide-open spaces there. Great to get a different perspective on Carreg Cennen – definitely one of my favourite castles.
    Des’ree? – (insert suitable sarcastic comment here, I’m too stunned to try- my flabber has been well and truly gasted.)

    Like

    beatingthebounds
  2. The clouds did look quite dark – I’m sure you were glad they blew over without any rain! Love the purple heather.

    Like

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