Archive for the ‘talgarth’ Tag

Snow from nowhere   6 comments

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.

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

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.

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Everything looked white up high. There was only a couple of inches of snow but it covered everything.

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

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.

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

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

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

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

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

The weather was really indecisive, flirting between blue skies and deep black clouds and heavy snow showers.

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

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

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

Black Mountains, castell dinas, mynydd troed, talgarth, waun fach, y grib, pen trumau, mynydd llysiau

A very fine walk this one, good to see it under some snow this time

Following my own footsteps   8 comments

One thing I’ve been trying hard to do over the last few months is to make sure I get out for a day in the hills at least once a week. This was going well in the early summer and  I was also able to get out after work as well so I was really covering the miles. Since I came back from France I’ve let things slide a bit so I’m now trying to get moving again. A few walking posts behind so here is the next one of my days out, another trip into my local hills, The Black Mountains.

P1040156

Castell Dinas from Y Grib

I’s chosen to repeat one of my favourite routes, a circuit taking in the highest point in the range, Waun Fach via one of the best ridges, Y Grib. The forecast was excellent so having got up at 7am I was a trifle vexed that when I parked up it was completely cloudless about 2 miles to the north but the Black Mountains was blanketed by cold grey cloud.

P1040153

Wye Valley in Sun (outraged)

Despite my best efforts at mind over matter and the best efforts of the sun, it stayed that way until the last hour of the walk when the cloud finally pushed far enough south for the sun to come out.

As you may know if you’ve read my Black Mountains posts most of the ridges are broad and flat. This ridge is one of the few narrower ones and is a quality way to reach the summit of Waun Fach. I’ve actually skied up and down this ridge on New Years Day a couple of years ago.

P1040165

Y Grib ridge

As usual for an early Saturday morning the area seemed deserted and I didn’t see anyone until on my down from the summit. The views across the Wye Valley bathed in sunshine and with a blanket of low-lying mist were enchanting and it kind of made up for the feeling it was sunny everywhere but where I was (I even had shorts on!).

P1040174

Y Grib, Mynydd Troed and Wye Valley

Still it’s a fine walk up the ridge and I made swift progress, waiting for a pause when I thought the sun might come out so I could stop for lunch. It didn’t so I kept going.

Once up on the main ridge to the summit the going gets a little boggier and the summit of Waun Fach is particularly oozy mess.

P1040185

Waun Fach summit

Having been to the top numerous times I declined the usual coating of black goo on my boots and pressed on down towards Pen Trumau. It remained frustratingly cloudy but it was peaceful and I enjoyed the easy stroll. I gave up waiting for the sun to come out just above the col as I was starving and had a long leisurely brunch with a large caterpillar for company.

P1040206

Mynydd Troed

P1040208

My lunchtime companion

I had half an idea to try to cross the valley and take in Mynydd Troed but I wasn’t sure if there was a route through the farmland to the open country. I thought I’d save that for another day. Mynydd Troed was my first proper hill when I was 10. We were on a school camping trip (my first time in a tent come to think of it) at Talgarth and we climbed it on a truly awful day but I guess that’s when the bug must have first bit me as I loved every minute. Our teacher even convinced us it was volcano and the small depression where trig point sat was the crater. Adults can be cruel.

I watched a huge group of walkers approach me on the path to the col and then strike off abruptly to climb Pen Trumau directly. The slopes round here are heavily vegetated and they made extremely slow progress. Perhaps I needed a shower.

As I headed down into the valley and started back towards the car the sun eventually came out and the day was transformed.

P1040213

Y Grib, Mynydd Troed and Castell Dinas

Just above where I parked the car is Castell Dinas so I decided it was worth a climb now. It’s a punishing steep grassy climb to the top but the views made it well worthwhile.

P1040226

Mynydd Troed from Castell Dinas

The Y Grib ridge I climbed earlier was obviously now bathed in sunshine so I parked myself on the top and did what I do best on walks, I sat down, soaked up the views and ate.

P1040232

Y Grib ridge

I don’t fare all that well in the more competitive elements of outdoor activities, but when it comes to sitting around and eating copious amounts of food, I’m up there with the best of them.

P1040241

Farmland merges to hillside

A great route this one (8 miles and 2,300 feet of ascent) and I return to it often. Combination of narrow (by Black Mountains standard) ridge and the wild moorland is hard to beat. As always seems to be the case, barely a soul around. Enjoy the full slide show and tune

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