Pengenffordd - Castell Dinas - Y Grib - Waun Fach

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This clockwise circuit starts from The Dragons Back (formerly The Castle Inn), Pengenffordd, which is set in an unspoilt sheep-farming valley and provides a useful base from which to explore this part of the Black Mountains. A short climb leads up to Castell Dinas, the ancient castle after which the inn takes its name. The rest of the route unfolds before this vantage point.

Castell Dinas is reputed to be the highest castle in Wales. The Normans built it in the 12th Century, on the site of an Iron Age hill-fort. Whilst little now remains of the castle, Barbara Erskine pictures how it might have been in Chapter 27 of her novel 'Lady of Hay': "Castell Dinas stood sentinel over the pass. It was an awesome, lonely place... The cold windswept valley was swathed in feeble sunshine as the heavy clouds streamed past, whilst all around them the mountains rose like evil presences, brooding, guarding Dinas and its secrets."

Y Grib is one of the classic ridges in the Black Mountains and is the key to this route. Walter Poucher describes the ascent in 'The Welsh Peaks': "Advance along it for about half a mile and then take a direct line for its conspicuous spur seen on the skyline ahead. On attaining its narrow crest, which is embellished here and there by outcropping rocks, climb its sharp undulations..." There are spectacular views of the Black Mountains. Walkers can often see gliders being launched by aerotow from nearby Talgarth Airfield (tel: 01874-711463, email: blackmountainsglidingclub@hotmail). This is one of best ridge-soaring and wave-flying sites in Britain.

Turn south-east from the top of Y Grib and walk along the Gadair Ridge to Waun Fach (810m), before descending to a cairn below Pen Truman. A scenic bridleway drops down into the Rhiangoll Valley, where lanes and tracks lead back to the start.

Wales - Mid Wales - Powys - Black Mountains

Features

Ancient Monument, Castle, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Mountains, Pub
23/01/2006 - David and Chris Stewart

Wonderful walk! Great exercise, great views and a lovely warm fire in the pub afterwards, a perfect day out.

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