Archive for the ‘offas dyke’ Tag

Windy   11 comments

Between the last walk up Ysgyryd Fawr and this one we did a short walk on the Begwyns just north of Hay on Wye. The weather was so grey and dreary that I didn’t take a single picture so this is the next on the list.


The circuit of Hatterrall Hill from Cwmyoy is default walk when we have an afternoon to spare. Long enough for a decent stretch but short enough to fill a half day.


We’ve walked it many times but always in the same direction – clockwise – so tried it the other way round for a change including parking outside the wonky church at Cwmyoy rather than the village hall to shave off some time (the forecast was very uncertain)


The forecast showers didn’t seem to materialise and it was in fact a very sunny and pin sharp day. The low winter sun creating some stunning vistas.


What the photos don’t show is how extraordinarily windy it was. The forecast was for windy weather but not like this.


I could barely stand up and was blown across the slopes a number of times even braced by my poles. TBF was actually blown off here feet a couple of times.


Despite the cracking views we’d both had enough battling against the wind and abandoned the idea of the usual high level circuit.


We pitched down into the corrie losing the wind and picked up what turned out to be a very fine traversing path we’ve never walked before.


The photo below looking almost calm and spring-like – it wasn’t!


We had a brief stop for lunch between these two walls. It was calm when sat down but peering over the wall was like looking into a wind tunnel.


We climbed to the top of the small summit created by an ancient landslip where the wind was incredible. I’ve no idea how I managed to take this photo but the blurred background is indicative of just how hard it was to stand even remotely still.


TBF has ben forced to remove a tight fitting hat to save from losing it!


I’m a fan of the bare look of winter trees framing mountain views so here some good ones from the descent back to the car.


Short, sweet and very, very windy!


Life on the Edge   8 comments


Im catching up on my outings and we are now into October so at least I’m posting in the same month as activity that created it. A cracking forecast and a plan to meet a few of the gang for a mid-Wales walk in the hills to the north of Llangollen. In the end it was just me TJS, TBF and Uncle Fester from Manchester. A hearty breakfast in the Ponderosa cafe atop the Horseshoe Pass started a stunning day, all clear blue skies and fog filled valleys



A short drive to the rather splendidly named World’s End for a walk along the Limestone edges of Eglwyseg Mountain



A superb clear morning perfect for this easy although long ramble in this secretive corner of Wales. The Horseshoe Pass itself is famous but tucked away to the east, almost unseen is a long limestone escarpment with some cliffs to rival anywhere else in the UK. There are no actual paths or rights of way marked along the edges but its open access land and thin paths are there if you seek them out. The views from the rim of the precipice across green valleys to the dark and contrasting brown and heather clad Llantysilio Mountain are fantastic. We’d only been walking half an hour before we stopped for a brief rest to take it all in on the edge of Craig Arthur



The walk along the edges is easy and superb with wide ranging vistas and a real sense of air. The edges are sheer and dramatic


We weaved around amongst the various terraces and eventually the hilltop Castell Dina Bran came into view. We dropped down a very narrow and steep gully to reach the the terraces of long abandoned quarries (you can see them on the left of the photo below)


This lower terrace was equally superb, an easy stroll on a grassy path with views of the castle always focusing the gaze



On a warm, clear, sunny autumn day it was an absolute delight



Lunch was planned for the castle although its a short steep pull to the top



The views from the castle on its very steep and isolated summit are unsurprisingly superb



It was busy as you’d expect but we found a quiet sheltered spot and spent a very happy hour enjoying the warm sunshine and admiring the views.


I’m a fan of views from up high over towns and cities so I was particularly impressed with the view over Llangollen, as well as westwards towards Llantysilio Mountain and beyond



The ruins are scant but very evocative and I believe its one of the many, many places linked to the legend of King Arthur, he did get about that fella’.




The trees were in autumn berry cloaks and the gorse was still flowering – some real colour contrasts to enjoy



We returned via some linked paths and roads that follow the base of the cliffs. Equally impressive and quite staggeringly deserted



The path follows the indents of the various gullies that scythe the face of the limestone, perched below the cliffs and screes and above the farmland. It was an exceptionally enjoyable stretch of walking as fine as any in the UK and as i said its seems very little known



It finished with a long rising traverse across the slopes to reach the edges near Craig Arthur where we sat for a few minutes to enjoy the last of views before the short walk back to the car


A memorable day, and a long one at 12 miles, finished off in the appropriate style with a slap up meal at the rather excellent Corn Mill in Llangollen. Early start and late home but justly rewarded

Tantalising Glimpse of Summer   7 comments

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:


hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

Past the wonky church at Cwmyoy

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

Spring lambs were frolicking or in this case asleep

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

The day was warm and glorious

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

TJS strode out ahead

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

While TJF pottered along at the rear taking photos

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

Once on the summit the walking was easy and the views superb

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

We enjoyed playing with self timed photos and remote shutter releases

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

Onto Offa’s Dyke and a visit to the Trig Pillar

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

Before starting the stroll back down

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

The green fields under  blue sky and sunshine were a good deal more pleasant than in the dark in the mud

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

hatterrall hill, cwmyoy, black mountains, offas dyke

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….

The Late Late Show – Hatterall Hill, Black Mountains   10 comments

My mate Geordie Munro came down for a visit over New Year and we had grand plans for some walks that the weather appeared determined to spoil. We were planning to meet for a walk in the Shropshire Hills near Church Stretton on his way down from Derbyshire but an initially promising forecast turned dispiritingly dismal so we abandoned that plan in the hope the weather might improve by the time he arrived at our place. Luckily it did (well it stopped raining anyway) so me, GM and D dashed out for a short walk in the Black Mountains. Keen to show him somewhere new I plumped for one of my favourites, Hatterall Hill, the southern end of the eastern-most of the Black Mountains ridges that runs from Hay Bluff in the north. The ridge splits into two arms making for a rather splendid and in my experience very quiet circuit.

Hatterall Hill

6.1 Miles, 1,340 feet of ascent

My last visit in late spring a couple of years back couldn’t have been more different. Warm sunshine then was replaced now with a chill strong wind and dark scudding clouds. The first major obstacle on the walk was the world’s greasiest stile that the worlds clumsiest man promptly fell off leaving him with a fine yellowish-purple bruise that is only just fading 2 weeks on. As we wandered towards the river it became abundantly clear just how wet everything was after the recent biblical rains.

Hatterrall Hill

Sliding across the fields

Every square inch of every field was completely sodden and muddy, even the green and grassy bits had a thin film of water running. Within a few strides my trousers were splattered up to the knees in mud, a recurrent theme throughout the next few days. The river here is normally a pleasant babbling brook but today was a raging torrent of noisy brown water. Quite easy to see how careless behaviour results in fatalities, you could easily paddle across this in summer but a casual foot out of place today and you’d be swept away with little chance of surviving.

Afon Honddu

Raging Torrent

The rest of walk turned into a rather nice, brooding but fast paced march. I quickly realised that setting off at 2pm for a 6 mile walk in December was slightly ambitious so we had to push on to make sure we didn’t end up walking in the dark. Not sure D was expecting this when we set off but I rationalised with him that it was “all part of the mountain experience”. GM was suitably impressed by Cwmyoy’s wonky church (I must take a look inside one of these days) and the fact that, for unknown reasons, the signposts were in kilometres rather than miles.

Cwmyoy, Hatterrall Hill

“Bloody European Union”

Cwmyoy, Church

Cwmyoy Church

By the time we’d reached the top of the steep climb the light was already fading creating some nice light and dark effects but increasing my concern about where exactly we’d be when it got dark.

Ysgyryd Fawr, Hatterrall Hill

Ysgyryd Fawr from Hatterrall Hill

Sugar Loaf, Hatterrall Hill

Sugar Loaf from Hatterrall Hill

We reached the summit of Hatterrall Hill where Offa’s Dyke joins and pressed on down the stream/path.

Offas Dyke, Hatterrall Hill

Me and D on Hatterrall Hill

Hatterrall Hill, Offa's Dyke

D on Offa’s Dyke

On to the farm with the poetic barn (see previous post on this walk) and started heading down the other side of the horseshoe where the last of the light left us and I officially declared it “dark”. The last half a mile down an astonishingly muddy track to the lane was interesting and kind of fun. By the light of my head torch I saw D giving me a look that said “you never told me this was likely to happen”. All part of the experience was all I could offer him but he seemed to enjoy it nonetheless. We traversed the fields, river and slippery stile back to the car without incident pausing to snap some “hikers by head-torch” shots and were back at the car by 5:15.

Hatterall Hill

“Hey, it’s dark!”

Hatterrall Hil

Rabbits in the (head-torch) lights

Sometimes you just have to go for it, it would have been easy to stay in on such a damp day when the time is pressing but it’s always a positive to extract some pleasure from what could have been a dead day.

Posted January 16, 2013 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

Tagged with , ,

Short and Sweet – Black Darren Jaunt   9 comments

A little postette and a few photos from a short walk I did with TBF and D a couple of weeks back.

Cats Back, Black Hill

Cats Back & Black Hill

L was off at the Pantomime (Oh yes she was!) so we took a quick dash to the nearest high level walk I know. I’ve posted about this walk before so you can read about it here.

Black Darren

The death of Autumn

Safe to say it’s a short, sharp and sweet stroll – or in this case very cold and windy stroll – up on to the eastern-most ridge of the Black Mountains, along Offa’s Dyke for a mile or so and then back down through an old landslip area to the car.

Black Darren

Snow shower

Sugar Loaf, Black Mountains

Sugar Loaf & Black Mountains

I’ve done this walk many times. It’s ideal for a short time span, an after work walk or a short weather window. You get a great reward of views for very little effort and the scenery amongst the wreckage of the landslip is fascinating. We were forced to wait out a snow shower in the car before we set off and although it was darker and gloomier than the forecast there were enough shafts of sunlight playing on the fields and hills to make splendid views.

Black Darren

Black Darren & views across Herefordshire

Cats Back, Black Hill

Shafts of Sunlight

It’s great that D is a real mountain man now and seems to appreciate the mountains even in the less than perfect conditions. I’m taking great pleasure from his ever-increasing confidence and appreciation of the mountain environment and sharing my passion for the outdoors with him. TBF enjoys it too of course>

Black Darren

End of the day

Enjoy the Photos and the Slide show

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