Winter Was Here   14 comments

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Back a couple of weeks to a time of cold weather, frosts and snow. Time to pack away the summer rucksack, bring out the winter version and fill it with winter mitts, bothy bag and down jacket. Slight overkill for the Black Mountains but you can’t be too careful.

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Started off beautiful clear and frosty with a strong wind and a deep chill in the air.

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The walk along the ridge beyond Castell Dinas is excellent and referred to as the Dragons Back locally. Whilst that’s overstating things a bit, it is a very nice way to reach the main Black Mountains summit of Waun Fach.

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The views back to Mynydd Troed, our target for the second half of the day were superb.

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Looking along the ridge to Waun Fach.

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And down the valley towards Crickhowell.

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See, I told you we needed winter gear!

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Just after we left the summit of Waun Fach we were hit by a serious snow shower. Proper winter conditions in the air if not on the ground (the snow was wet and thin)

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There was a Mountain Marathon in progress with lots of people wandering about in shorts and Lycra in what was a blizzard and temperatures well below freezing with wind-chill. Definitely not the weather to be spending a night in a bivvy bag (or dressed in lycra for that matter).

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The snow melted pretty much immediately, the skies cleared and we found a nice spot behind a wall for lunch.

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I’ve walked this route many times as a shortish half-day but this time wanted to make a longer circuit.

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We picked a route off the hills and along the lanes down to the village of Waun Fach (not the mountain) and up towards Mynydd Troed (my first ever mountain ascent when I was ten for those that don’t know that story).

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There was a major fire on the mountain in the dry summer and you can see traces of it in the left of the shot below.

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And as we climbed up onto the ridge.

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But the scale of the damage wasn’t apparent until we were near the top.

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What used to be a dense covering of knee-deep moss and heather had been stripped bare by the fire. All that remained was the grass on the path which I assumed was fresh re-growth.

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In places there wasn’t even that and it looked desolate and bare. The plants up here are pretty resilient so I hope that in time it will recover.

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The weather had closed in a bit and there wasn’t much in the way of sunshine. We did get some nice sunlight streaming through the clouds over Llangorse Lake and the Brecon Beacons

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We didn’t linger on the top as it was ferociously windy and bitingly cold. We took our leave plunged down the steep NE ridge down to the car

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A good 12 mile stretch of wild winter walking

Mynydd Troed

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I like winter walking and I enjoyed this very early blast of cold and snow. Pity the weekend just gone was back to typical November, all gloom and mild wet drizzle

14 responses to “Winter Was Here

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  1. Looks a good entertaining hill range. I suppose it’s similar to burning off the heather on the grouse moors unless its much deeper into the peat and killed the roots completely. Interesting to see if it grows back.

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    • It does look like quite a severe burn. There was no shred of vegetation left on the surface so hopefully the heather has deep roots. We had a load of fires a few years ago and the area recovered dramatically quickly – hoping this will recover equally well

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  2. Some quite changeable weather. The week before last I was marshalling on a local park run in sleet, hail and thunder and lightning. Hopeful the hideous scarring of the burnt ground will eventually heal itself.

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    Brenda-Dawn Linney
  3. That was like two walks in one. Can’t believe those pictures in the middle. Sitting here now and its well above 10 degrees again most days, it seems like winter is still a fair bit off and autumn is in full swing!

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  4. A walk of three halves! Or maybe four if you count the scorched area? What a contrast with the photos in the middle during the snow. I’m with you – obviously – give me cold and bright any day over grim and wet. Quite a bit of up and down there too I suspect?

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    beatingthebounds
    • Never thought of doing that walk before and it worked really well. Lots of contrast with the weather and the burn area. Just two big climbs. My OS maps says over 4000 feet of ascent which can’t be right!

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  5. With your opening sunny clear shots, it was quite a jolt to see you walking in snow!

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    • There wasn’t any snow showers forecast but it was pretty wild for about 30 minutes. I like walking in snow though, shame it didn’t last on the ground more than a few minutes

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  6. Snow next week by the sounds of it….

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