Archive for the ‘hatterrall Hill’ Tag
A very unusual experience to be posting about a walk only a couple of hours after getting home. Normally it’s weeks or even months delay.
Been a quiet couple of weeks since my last post. A weekend of truly dreary weather last week and a drab an grey one this week. Yesterday I indulged my new “passion” for cycling with a 35km ride around the Forest of Dean but today the weather seemed a little brighter (I could actually see the Black Mountains from the bedroom). Forecast said east and not too high so the classic circuit of Hatterall Hill from Cwmyoy fitted the bill.
I’ve been up here many times as its short and satisfying for a half day or after work.
I’ve enhanced the walk of late with a sneaky way up the back of the small un-named top created by a landslip – I think anyway. The cloudy views were enhanced by some beams of sunlight and scant patches of blue sky
It was a very mild day but there was a keen wind so finding a lunch stop was a challenge as was not getting ourselves shot. For the second time recently we had to share the hills with several people driving around the summits in 4WDs and armed with shotguns. I have to say I find it intimidating. I have no idea what today’s sport was but in the few hours we were out I never heard a single shot so they can’t have been very successful
We did find a spot out of the cold wind with a fine view over the Marches countryside
Nice to get out but I’m starting to reach that point in the year when I want the weather to make up its mind. Either winter needs to re-assert itself or it needs to bugger off for the year and warm up so I can start walking in T-shirts and shorts again. I hate this cold gloom, not sunny but not cold enough for clear skies, frost and snow
Finally managed to get in some evening walks as well as Sunday stroll. All routes and hills I’ve done many times so just a few photos to prove I don’t sit in front of the TV every evening, just most of them 🙂
Ysgyryd Fawr – iPhone photos as I forgot my camera and no summit cuppa due to a dodgy gas canister
Bryn Arw – another classic “small hill with disproportionately good views”
And a Sunday afternoon stroll around Hatterrall Hill. Complete with young foals – everyone say “aaaaahhhhh”
I drive past all these hills on my home from work so nice to climb them from time to time after a long day in a crappy office doing a crappy job. Equally, as they are on my way home I should do it more often. But there are so many great TV shows around I need watch though…….
One week on from deep snow and spindrift in Scotland we were back home and treated to a glorious warm spring day. TBF was away at her sisters so I informed the kids we were going out for a walk. TJS was chuffed TJF less so.
I chose my classic Hatterrall Hill walk as it’s an easy high level stroll for such a fine day. I’ve posted about this several time , the last one over Xmas a couple of years back and a post work walk a year before that. Plenty of words on those posts so just a few words and memories from the day this time:
Past the wonky church at Cwmyoy
Spring lambs were frolicking or in this case asleep
The day was warm and glorious
TJS strode out ahead
While TJF pottered along at the rear taking photos
Once on the summit the walking was easy and the views superb
We enjoyed playing with self timed photos and remote shutter releases
Onto Offa’s Dyke and a visit to the Trig Pillar
Before starting the stroll back down
The green fields under blue sky and sunshine were a good deal more pleasant than in the dark in the mud
A fabulous day out just the three of us and even TJS enjoyed it more than she’d like to admit 🙂
There is still hope….
A repeat of a walk I did with TJS at the same time last year. This time he was off on a school trip to France and TJF was in a actting workshop. Me a TBF had a few hours to complete a walk before we picked her up. It was something of a brisk walk to make sure we got back in time to pick her up but it’s a fine walk. This year we stopped in the churchyard for lunch. There is a full write up at the link here so I’ve just included a few choice photos and slideshow for this version
I like the title of this post as a possible title for a book I will never write. I’ve developed quite a fondness for small hills and this one on my doorstep is real favourite. Located just on the fringes of the Black Mountains, themselves relatively quiet, this hill I guess sees few visitors. I’ve been up many times and rarely seen anyone on its summit or lower slopes.
I’ve posted walks up here a couple of times before (read a post here with more words), so here a few pictures from a winter day when we all grabbed a short walk between the rains that swamped the UK back in January
I dropped the family off where the paths starts and took the car to the other end. The road back is nice and quiet and I enjoyed the walk, it was streaming with rain water!
As we climbed up the steep slopes the clouds looked mean, moody and magnificent with the dark blue winter sky between
A breezy lunch stop overlooking Ysgyryd Fawr
The ridge is broad and easy angled and perfect for a family stroll. Even TJF seemed to be enjoying the day. As with all small hills it gives an unrivalled views of the higher peaks
I’ve been watching this poor, gnarled old tree slowly wither and die over the past 11 years I’ve been walking up here. It’s well and truly dead now.
Wonderful winter day and as always we saw no-one, a hill well worth seeking out.
Still playing catch up with the blog. Been busy planning a major family trip for next summer so I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties. This one is from mid April after the cold weather from Easter had gone for good. Me and TJS stole an afternoon for a quick jaunt into the Black Mountains from Llanthony Priory
5 Miles, 1,250 feet of ascent
It’s a splendid spot situated in the fine Vale of Ewyas. In my humble opinion it’s one of the finest valleys in Britain and deserves to be better known. I’d neglected to pack my camera so the photos are taken with my iPhone. I know that people claim that phones take as good a picture as most compact camera’s but I’m not convinced. I rarely take photos with the phone but one thing I would say is that they are very handy fall-back for muppets like me who forget their camera when out walking!
The climb to the ridge is through open fields, woodland and then up over Loxidge Tump and onto the open fellside. It’s been such a while since I did this walk and due to the limited photos I only have a vague recollection of the finer points of the day. I do recall hearing birdsong near the ridge and thinking it was the first I’d heard this year and how perhaps winter was now officially over!
The stroll along Offa’s Dyke and down the ridge was as always pleasant and easy going. I’ve walked part of this section on many occasions from the opposite side to take in the Black Darren landslip (the most recent walk is here).
It was hard to imagine that only a few weeks previously the whole area was blanketed in snow. Despite it being a sunny day there was a chill wind blowing and we had to drop down to the NE slopes to find some shelter for the usual routine of packed lunch and fresh cuppa.
We continued along the ridge towards Hatterall Hill and then turned sharp right back onto the Brecons Way. The path is another of those high level and gently traversing paths above the valley that I love so much. You can cover the ground with ease while still taking in the expansive views. The summit ridge is so broad that the views are a little restricted but on these paths the views are much more open and interesting.
We chatted about the possible plans for our big holiday next year (more to follow when I’ve sorted it) and almost before we knew it we were heading over the fields back to the priory. A short day, but a good one – from what I remember anyway.
I like to think of myself as a budding local expert on the Black Mountains having been exploring them since I moved to the area in 2002 and especially in the last couple of years. I’m always on the look out for new routes to get some new perspectives and experience a different flavour. After a comment exchange with James over at Backpackingbongos I came across his route on Crug Mawr and the Twyn y Gaer Hill Fort. The latter with its long low ridge towards the main Black Mountains summits has caught my eye several times without ever tempting me enough to scale it. Crug Mawr I never really noticed before so the route was confirmed. As always these days the budding mountaineer and walker that is my son, the Junior Sherpa accompanied me.
9 Miles, 2,300 Feet of Ascent
It was fairly cloudy when we set off from home and the start of the walk in Grwyne Fawr Valley was in dark woodland. As we set off through the forest there was a promising glimpse of blue above the canopy.
Sun through the canopy
I’m not a great fan of forestry plantation roads but this one was fine with shafts of bright sunlight to lead the way.
Pastures in the forest
We headed onwards through the trees to emerge at the buildings of Ffordd Las Fawr. James had mentioned that he stayed here with friends when he did the walk before and how fantastic a spot it was. It’s no longer occupied and boarded up but the charm of the place is still apparent. There was a sign at the bottom of the hill noting a planning application so hopefully someone will restore it to greater glory. For now I took some photos for James, dreamt of turning this into my home and moved on.
Ffordd Las Fawr
Ffordd Las Fawr
Ffordd Las Fawr
From here the route climbs steeply through the woods and boy are the trees dense here. It was quite extraordinarily dark. I was expecting fire-breathing dragons and ogres to lurch from the depths and take us for a snack. No such excitement but it was strangely eerie and unsettling nonetheless. I tried a few photos but it was just too dark. After passing through a couple of clearings we emerged on the ridge into bright blue skies and blazing sunshine, it felt almost springlike.
Black Mountains from the ridge to Crug Mawr
Across the Vale of Ewyas to Hatterrall Hill
All around was the desolation of cleared forest. I guess it will take generations, if ever, for the landscape to recover its former state. I’m really not a fan of the blankets of coniferous plantations that cloak large portions of our uplands but they seem to be clearing now slowly but surely. We turned and headed for Crug Mawr at the southern end of the long ridge that stretches from Waun Fach, the highest of the Black Mountains. As we approached the top the wind kicked in and it suddenly turned from spring back to winter. It was bitingly cold.
TJS on Crug Mawr summit
The views more than compensated. All a round was blue sky and dark brown heather and bracken clad mountains. The summit is only 550m but it feels higher such is the feast of views spread out beneath.
Waun Fach from Crug Mawr
Sugar Loaf from Crug Mawr
I could have lingered longer but the cold forced us to move off and down the faint path along the slopes towards Partrishow . After a rather brief and cold lunch spot (it was one of those days when the wind searches you out wherever you sit) we headed down to the valley bottom again past the beautiful stone church of Partrishow.
Time to head back up again and we followed a succession of green lanes and paths, twisting and turning this way and that until we finally emerged onto the open slopes of the Twyn y Gaer Hill Fort.
The top was surprisingly crowded with several families playing army and rolling about on the slopes of the old grass ramparts. It had clouded over a bit but the wind had dropped and we found a quiet sheltered spot behind a gorse bush for a snack. The long ridge stretched out before us towards Bal Mawr and the sun returned as we rested. The views were as excellent as I hoped.
Black Mountains from Twyn y Gaer Hill Fort,
Hatterrall Hill from Twyn y Gaer Hill Fort
I was pleased to add another mental chapter to my book “Small Hills with Disproportionately Great Views” I checked the map and realised it was quite a stroll back to the car so we pressed on down the easy angled slopes and along the ridge. The first part was enclosed by forest and walls but soon opened out to a narrowing grassy ridge with superb views out to the NE over the Vale of Ewyas.
Twyn y Gaer Hill Fort
As the path climbs the ridge towards Bal Mawr, our route took us off on a quite splendid path traversing back above the Grwyne Fawr Valley. The skies had cleared again and we were treated to more spring-like sunshine and golden hillsides.
Black Mountains and the Grwyne Fawr Valley
TJS on the final leg
It really was a terrific walk this one and one I’d be glad to repeat in stages as a post work walk. All that remained was to follow the path down to the forests and back to the car. Quite a long day in the end at just over 9 miles, both me and TJS were a little weary by the end, both ready for our Sunday Roast when we got home.