Archive for the ‘mynydd troed’ Tag
On a cold clear winters day the best time to be out is early morning. Having convinced TJS into an early start we settled on a route around Cwn Banw in the Black Mountains, one of my favorites. We were walking at just after 8am and it was a glorious albeit chilly morning at -5C
The silhouettes of the trees are always something that fascinates me and this morning at the early hour was a great time to capture them
The low morning sun also lights up the bracken and heather to very dramatic effect. It seems to glow with a warm deep brown contrasting to the frosty cold air
The plan was to breakfast on Table Mountain (this allows the early start and is also a rather fine thing to do). Even though the air was cold even in winter the sun has a little warmth. What we hadn’t banked on was the surprisingly strong wind that turned the chilly air into an a more arctic feel
Luckily Table Mountain has a terrace below its sloping flat top and we found a great spot in the sun but sheltered by the wind and overlooking the Usk Valley and the Brecon Beacons
Is there a finer way to spend a winters morning than a freshly cooked bacon sandwich and cup of tea overlooking the mountains under a deep blue sky? Answers on a postcard please
The pimple of the Sugar Loaf prominent in these parts as always
We ambled back over the grassland of Table Mountain and then onwards towards the higher summits
It really was most extraordinarily cold in the very strong wind. I would love one of those portable Kestrel weather stations but I estimated that with an air temperature a few degrees below freezing and the strong wind, the windchill must have been around -15C. We certainly didn’t stop!
We summited Pen Cerrig Calch from where the views were equally magnificent
Our goal of Pen Allt Mawr visible in the distance
A long and bracing walk along the edges above Cwm Banw brought us to the summit where we found a little shelter to admire the views once more
The views over Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse were especially fine from here
A pretty decent sunburst shot with some vapor trails to add interest
From here its always tempting to make a long round and include the main summits of the Black Mountains themselves. My knees aren’t really up for that at the moment and forecast was for increasing cloud through the day. No sense spoiling a great day so we plodded down the very fine and very frozen ridge of Tal Trwynau, pausing at the end for a final stop and snack in the sunshine
These two photos show what its like to go hiking with a 21st Century teenager. Head always looking down at their phone, lest they miss a vital social media message.
Over the fields and back to the car to finish a superb day out
Well here’s a first, writing up a blog post the same day I did the walk. Never see the like of these days again once my summer hols kick in next week.
Another supermarket breakfast and another day in the hills to follow. This one a very similar trip to one we did with GM a couple of winters back. This time a more detailed exploration of Mynydd Llangorse and its far western ridge.
We parked up in Cwmdu and headed across the fields taking in the sights, sounds, smells, scratches and stings of the bracken
Small in height but large in area, Mynydd Llangorse is a wild upland heathland. Off the beaten track we had the whole mountain to ourselves save a few ponies and couple of cyclists
It’s a place to clock up long walks and we ticked off the miles as we strode on to its broad summit. The views across Llangorse Lake to the Beacons were very fine indeed.
After a brief rest on Cockit Hill we were off up Mynydd Troed, slightly higher but packing a mighty wallop of a steep slope to the top. The Bracken that clothes the lower slopes in these parts gives everything a stunning verdant hue. Much more pleasing on the eye from a distance than when you are bashing through it at close quarters
We headed off down the fine summit ridge before a session of the aforementioned bracken bashing on the lower slopes mixed in with a healthy smattering of nettles and head high thistles. Why I insist on wearing shorts round these parts in summer I’ll never know
We concluding the day with a long plod down the knee-jarringly hard minor lane that skirts the eastern slopes of Mynydd Llangorse but the sun was warm and the views stunning
An uneventful day of easy walking on two of the quietest mountains in this wonderful range I call home
I had a lazy day planned. I’d been out for a few beers on Friday night and needed a weekend off to recover. That’s old age for you. Sunday was grey and dreary and I settled down in front of the TV for some serious couch potato action. Then the sun came out and then blue sky filled the view. Betrayed by the weather I was forced into a walk
I ticked the following boxes on the form. “Short walk”, “Park as high as possible”, “Isolated Summit”, “Fine Views”. Mynydd Troed was the answer
A day of contrasts. In the sun and out of the wind it was like summer. In the wind and shade it was still winter
A brutally steep ascent brings you directly to this fine summit. Views of the Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons and the Wye Valley abound
We sat for a while on the top, pretending it was summer while we shivered. We talked long distance footpaths I recall. TJS and TBF are fans. I’m not
TJS was feeling a little under the weather so rather than head along the ridge we circled back down to the car
A short walk but a fine one under a surprisingly abundant and unforecast blue sky.
Hangover cured, all was back in sync with the world
It caught me off guard did this day. Forecast was for sunshine and showers but I hadn’t checked the temperatures. As we drove out towards the Black Mountains all was white on the tops. I thought we’d seen the end of the snow but no – there was more.
This is another of my favourite routes, one I’ve done many times before, the most recent here. However TJS has never done this route and he was up for it. For a cold wintery day it’s ideal, high enough to get up into the snow, short enough that it’s not too far if you get a soaking.
Which is exactly what happened to my DSLR camera when it fell out of the boot of the car into a puddle when I opened it. Luckily it was in it’s case so it’s just fine although the case still has the mud marks
Narrow-ish ridges are a rarity in South Wales. Y Grib is one to be treasured. We were soon on it’s crest and heading up into the snow. It was a bitingly cold day but with that clarity of air that comes with a showery winter day.
Everything looked white up high. There was only a couple of inches of snow but it covered everything.
The cloud came down and swamped us while we were on the summit but no matter. The edges are much better viewpoints in the Black Mountains than the summits.
It was too cold linger so we rushed on heading down and looking for somewhere for lunch. We found one at the col before Mynydd Llysiau although it was a little bleak and draughty especially for TJS as I’d forgotten his hot chocolate. He took it well, probably better than I would have done had the roles been reversed
By the time we set off my fingers were numb, took me a good half hour to get the feeling back. Sometimes my quest for a brew on a winters walk should really be curtailed
The weather was really indecisive, flirting between blue skies and deep black clouds and heavy snow showers.
The walk finishes with a climb up Castell Dinas – a brutually steep one at that but a very fine viewpoint to finish off a day in the Black and White Mountains
A very fine walk this one, good to see it under some snow this time
Having a family means commitments that sometimes means having to make sacrifices. The Xmas holiday delivered some pretty decent weather that in other circumstances would have me out early for a long day in the mountains. TJS would normally join me but TJF is not big on the outdoors and walking. That’s not to say that I haven’t given up trying to encourage her and also to a degree forcing here away from her iPad to see the real world outdoors. I think it’s important that we do things together as a family and that sometimes that involves and fresh air and exercise and giving up a proper walking day. It’s sometimes a tough call but ultimately rewarding to see TJF enjoying the walk (although she denies it at the time!)
What’s needed are lots of easy short walks with expansive views with decent spots to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch even in winter.
In this regard we are blessed with several such walks that I can call on when the need arises for a short day out especially in Winter. The Begwyns, discovered at Xmas last year is one of the best in this regard. A wild, open expanse of heathland capped by a stone wall encircled copse of trees called The Roundabout that provides a perfect lunch spot. It’s also relatively unspoilt and peaceful as no-one has heard of it, tucked away to the north of Hay on Wye.
I’ve done a couple of write ups from my walks up here, so I’ll do my lazy trick of letting the photos do the blogging for me and ask you to search the blog for the other posts if you need more words and some contrasting images.
This was our last walk of 2014 so Happy New Year to one and all 🙂
March really delivered a few stunning days. After a grand day on Hatterrall Hill we were treated to another magnificent day in the Begwyns. I’ve only recently discovered the subtle charms of this little known patch of wild open land but I must say it’s immediately captured my heart. A fine a warm day was promised back in mid-March and with the family in tow we decided the Begwyns was the place for a lazy stroll
Apologies for the blemishes on the photos – must have been a speck of dust or dirt on the lens I haven’t been bothered to touch up the images. Don’t think it detracts from the splendour too much 🙂
It was a breezy day and cool in the wind but the sky was an amazing deep blue colour and dry turf springy just bounced us along
The views were amazing. To lengthen the walk we took several little detours to see if we could find any frogs or frog-spawn – we saw loads of the latter
We wandered across a succession of paths around the summit before hunger for a picnic lunch drove us to the summit
The small wood on the summit surrounded by a wall (The Roundabout) was a perfect picnic spot and sheltered from the wind it was sunbathing weather. We sat, ate and chilled for well over an hour, enjoying the first really warm day of 2014
The kids again enjoyed playing selfies with my camera
A powered glider passed over and gave us a little air acrobatics show
This cloud over the Black Mountains reminded me of the Alien spacecraft in “Independence Day”
The walk back to car the way we came was just as good with the wind behind us. If there is a fault with the Begwyns, its that they are over too soon. Only a short 3-4 mile walk covers an out and back from the eastern end
Still the shortness of the day did allow plenty of time to sit outside in the sunshine at home, drinking cold becks beer and eating chilli. What more could a man (and his family) want! 🙂
More rain over New Year but another day of morning rain followed by a promising afternoon. I needed another quick jaunt close by. I recalled mention by James over at Backpackingbongos that The Begwyns were rather fine although I had no idea where they were. A quick look at the map revealed they were close by (just north of Hay on Wye), low in height and high in car parking – perfect!
I parked at the eastern end and planned an easy out and back to the high point. By the time I set off the morning deluge had been replaced with glorious clear sky and stunning low angled winter sunshine. The way it lights up the bracken and grass is mesmerising, more than making up for the lack of flowering colour at this time of year
The views north to the mysterious Gladestry and Llanbedr and Glascwm hills and south to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons were stupendous
The ground underfoot was completely sodden but I fair glided across the grass. There is something just smugly satisfying about a dramatic change in weather and the good fortune to be able to take advantage of it.
There are numerous small humps and bumps and I wandered with no particular direction taking in whatever I felt like, figuring I could vary the route on the way back by taking in some slightly different humps and bumps. The close cropped grass is excellent for such a stroll and the whole area would make a wonderful warm place for a laze on the grass (in fact we did just that last weekend up here – post to follow – well, whenever!)
The crowning point of the Begwyns is a patch of pine trees completely surrounded by a stone wall. Called The Roundabout it’s not clear what it’s for or why it’s there. There was a information board but no mention of it. If anyone out there knows it’s history I’d appreciate some insight
I wandered about snapping photos but the clouds were rolling in again and light was fading. I pushed on back to the car taking in the fantastic light and some lovely reflections of the ponds to the south.
It was pretty much dark as I reached the car.
The continuing theme of short afternoons over New Year continued and I was quite enjoying it. Nice to have a long lazy lie in and still get out for a walk – sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for the big mountain days 🙂