Black Mountains Wander   4 comments

I like to think I’m a local expert on the Black Mountains. I’ve walked them many times over the past 14 years I’ve lived in their back yard and discovered most of their ridges valleys and paths. Occasionally I find a small section I’ve never walked before and have a hankering to tread on some new ground. So it was on this day in mid-March.

Having left TJF to fend for herself, me and the remaining Funster and Sherpa headed out for the day. Didn’t get off to a great start. TJS who is a teenager and therefore by definition, lazy and vague forgot his boots. He assumed I’d put them in for him despite the fact he’d seen me carry the boot bag out to the car and hadn’t thought to check till we were at the car park. He had to do what turned out to be a very long walk over some rather rough and at times very soggy terrain in his school shoes.

Anyway we headed up swiftly on to Bal Bach and Bal Mawr, the initial stretches of which fitted the “new ground” criteria for the day. It was a splendid day albeit a little hazy

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We walked at brisk pace (to gain some distance between us and a large but friendly family group) along the most splendid ridge of Chwarel y Fan. Its one of my favourite walks in the Black Mountains

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My idea had been a ambitious round of the whole Grwyne Fawr valley up to Lord Hereford’s Knob (still funny) and back. However it was clearly a very long way and we didn’t want to leave TJF on her own too long into case she slipped into an iPad or Netflix induced coma. I thought we might be able to take a shortcut across the Grwyne Fawr dam and indeed it was so. It involved crossing a seriously soggy stretch of ground to get to it

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Well worth it though. A spot by the reservoir was a fine place for lunch. Sheltered and almost warm in spring-like conditions

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Across the dam and off-piste across more lakes cunningly disguised as open moorland and mountains and back up to the ridge on the far side

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There were still some patches of snow left over and it gave a very fetching contrast to the brown of the bogs/mountains and the blue sky

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Indeed the snow patches near the summit of Pen y Gadair Fawr were nearly waist deep. I discovered this to my cost as I plunged in. I was wearing shorts for some stupid reason and it was mighty cold on my bare pasty legs

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I’ve always avoided the ridge south from here over Pen Twyn Mawr. There was a huge blanket of dense coniferous forest right up to ridge that I thought would spoil the views and make for a rather boggy uninspiring walk. Now that they have cleared the forest the views are rather fine and there is a pretty good path most of the way

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It was a long way though to our route back to the car. A very long way. My ageing knees and sore feet (I have Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot) were in some pain by the time I stumbled back down the path to the car.

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Still it was a very grand day out and new views and ridges ticked, always a bonus

4 responses to “Black Mountains Wander

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  1. He ‘had’ to do it in his school shoes?
    That all looks magnificent.
    Please pass on my congratulations to TJS, he is doing a very fine impression of a moody teenager in all these photos. I imagine he was his usual cheery self, but he looks morose and and self-pitying with his hood up and head hanging, just as every self-respecting teenager is duty bound to. Well done that man!

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    beatingthebounds
    • He wears his school shoes everywhere. They were what he was wearing in the car. It was either that or sit in the car all day. He does that morose sulky teenager look very well. I’m sure they must teach this at secondary school. He even wears the look on the mountains. I think he was happy, hard to tell, he doesn’t speak much unless you’re interested in blocky online games

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  2. Does he wait at Pelican Crossings without pushing the button, as well? They all do around here. Drives me mad when I cycle up to the crossing and have to press it, when there’s already half a dozen of them already stood there.
    But what about someone in shorts?! With snow patches still about? It’s not really like a hot day high in the Alps – might be excusable then……
    Superb photos though.🙂

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    • More than likely he’d assume someone else would press the button for him.
      I like to wear shorts whenever possible although my legs probably shouldn’t be seen in public till they have some colour. In my defence it was quite a warm day at home and I could easily have walked round the snow but it looked like fun to plough through it – having forgotten i had shorts on!🙂

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