Archive for the ‘pont cadwgan’ Tag

Winter on Crug Mawr   12 comments

It may not look wintry in the photos, but trust me, it was bitterly cold, ferociously windy and I was blasted by a couple of very nasty snow and hail showers.


After yet more rain the Grwyne Fawr river was higher than I’ve ever seen it at the Pont Cadwgan car park where I start my walk to take in Crug Mawr. It’s another of my favourite walks when I need a shorter outing, here grabbing another short window in the foul weather. Sunny intervals and very heavy showers was the flavour of the day. As I strode out through the forest I noticed how tall the trees are in here, having looked up to admire some rare blue sky.


Its a steep and dark climb through dense woods to summit ridge and I timed my arrival perfectly coinciding with a spell of clear skies and sunshine albeit very windy.


A tumult of clouds whisked past in the sunny skies and there were clearly very heavy showers and squalls pushing through.


It’s the big advantage of days like this when the breaks deliver a clarity to the air unmatched in other conditions.


Taking photos from the top was a challenging task. The wind was blowing me off my feet and several images had to be deleted as they looked somewhat off kilter and blurred – natures inebriation.


Not a day for lingering and I legged it off the summit lest one of those showers catch me in the most exposed spot of the walk.


One of said showers tracking over Ysgyryd Fawr as I descended.


This walk is perfect for a day like this. The beautiful old church at Patrishow sits at the halfway mark. It offers plenty of spots to shelter out of the wind which I did to have a cuppa and some lunch.


A muddy descent to the road and back up to the ridge on the other side of the valley before I was blasted with a vicious hail and snow shower for 10 minutes. You can just see the melting remnants in the next couple of photos.


This stretch of path that traverse across the flanks of the ridge used to be one of my favourites. I say used to be, sadly the trail bike plague has discovered it and churned large stretches into a muddy mess. I had walk up on the bank by the wall to avoid most parts. I’m not sure what the answer is here, it must be near impossible to enforce a ban. What I can say with certainty is that they they are tearing the Black Mountains apart with their selfish activity.


The sun was out again and all was glorious once more.


Well for a while anyway as more heavy showers raced across the sky.


I tried a slightly different route to avoid a soggy section near the car park. All it meant was I found a different one. I’m learning quickly just to take each route as it comes, trying to avoid the soggy mess this winter has left behind is near impossible. Trail shoes and socks dry out eventually. Not a bad day, another one to file under “glad I made the effort”


The Long Way Around   12 comments

Last time we had a weekend day seemingly without rain. I was on my own for the day so set out early (by my standards) for a long walk in the Black Mountains. I parked up at Pont Cadwgan and headed up the forest tracks deciding to add in Crug Mawr as an extra option due to the bright morning and the fact its a fine hill.


Not quite as clear and sunny as the forecast had indicated but dry and that’s what matters especially with the appalling 2-3 weeks of rain that followed.


Crug Mawr doesn’t seem to attract many walkers and I rarely see more than a couple of people up here or on the long ridge that comes down from the high points of the Black Mountains.


I has my first sit down for the day, actually quite pleased for the breeze as it had been a bit hot and airless on the walk up.


Onwards towards those high points I mentioned. This ridge is normally a pretty wet and muddy affair but it was bone dry. Likely it’s returned to business as usual in the meantime.


A spell of brighter sunnier weather drew me onwards until I reached Pen y Gadair Fawr.


Time for another stop as its a few miles along from Crug Mawr.


Next stop Waun Fach, highest of the Black Mountains. They have worked wonders in restoring the grassland up here. The path is now much less boggy and there are huge swathes of grass where once was just black bog. The Trig Pillar on the top used to be lost in sea of peat but now stands proud next to a path through the greenery. Sadly the plague of trail bikes are still leaving their trail of damage elsewhere. The National Park really need to more to do educate and restrict them although I’m not sure how.


Onwards to the northern escarpment for a bite to eat before turning and taking the long route back down the other side of the Gwryne valley


This is looking along the ridge to Chwarel y Fan


It turned quite cloudy and cool for a while so my last stop on the top was a brief one.


I really like the ridge from here to Bal Mawr. Not narrow but airy enough to expose some grand views.


A close up shot of Llanthony and its priory.


Not sure what these trees are – flora and fauna are not my strong point – but they were all in flower all over the lower slopes and looked wonderful both from a distance and close up.


Just a matter of picking my way down to and through the forest and back to the car feeling weary and foot sore. Hardly surprising as my mapping software said 20 miles! As far as I’ve walked in a day for a very long time. I was quite pleased with myself.


Winter is Over   15 comments


Normal November service resumed – after a brief cold snap, mild, damp and grey weather has returned. Last weekend we had THO over for the weekend and managed a couple of walks. On the Saturday after a breakfast at Waitrose (I’m so middle class!) we took a walk up Crug Mawr at the south end of the Black Mountains.


And, we had a new friend with us. This is Mac, THO’s dog and what a lovely little fellow he is. Extremely friendly and sociable it was a pleasure to have him on the walk with us. I’d forgotten how good it is to be accompanied by a dog on a walk. Set us thinking and talking about how and why dogs have forged such a close bond with humans from their wilder origins


It more than made up for what was really a pretty dismal day. As you can see from the photos it was wet, dark and miserable in terms of weather, but company turned it into a fine outing.


We didn’t linger long on the summit of Crug Mawr as it was really windy and, well, damp.


At least most of the smaller tops were out of the cloud to give us something of a view.


We stopped for lunch at the little church in Patrishow. Despite having walked past many times. I’ve never been inside so we put that right.


It’s very old and whilst simple is lovely inside.


The carved wood on the balcony was intricate and would not have looked out-of-place in the Sagrada in Barcelona.


The odd skeleton picture at the back is apparently there to remind us of our mortality!


We had lunch in the Lych gate in front of the Church, Mac scurrying around and begging for whatever food he could scrounge with his puppy dog eyes.


We had plans for a longer walk but we felt satisfied with a walk along the ridge on the other side of the valley and down to the car


It’s a fine ridge that see’s few visitors but not at its best today


Crug Mawr


We headed back to fester at home and enjoy and afternoon and evening watching TV and Mac make himself thoroughly at home in our house.




Posted November 8, 2018 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Wales, Walking

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