Black Mountain - Bannau Sir Gaer - Carreg Lem Circuit

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Black Mountain - Fan Foel - Bannau Sir Gaer - Carreg Lem Circuit

A long traverse from near Ystradgynlais up and over the heights of Black Mountain, the western half of the Brecon Beacons National Park, taking in Fan Foel and Bannau Sir Gaer. This isn't the red, crumbly, sandstone skyline of Pen y Fan and Corn Du, but the grey limestone part of the park; think sink holes, mini-gullies with missing streams and blocky outcrops on the summits of smooth green moorsides. It's just west of the Dan-Yr-Ogof cave system and visitor centre at Glyntawe.

I did this in thick mist and drizzle, in August, so the pictures here aren't inspiring, but on a good day the views are vast and empty; you'll have most of the hills to yourselves.

Wales - South Wales - Brecon - Bannau Brycheiniog


Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Lake/Loch, Moor, Mountains, River, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland
1/19/2015 - Mal Jones

A stunning walk on a good day....but can be a miserable trudge if the weather's against you. The huge basin to the south west of the Bannau sir Gaer escarpment can be very confusing in poor visibility, even to those familiar with the area. Even in good weather the terrain is not obvious and the walking is quite broken so distances are particularly difficult to judge. This is one area where I would forgive you your GPS or mobile phone app! There are a few good markers such as trig points, Sinc y Giedd and larger fords that are worth a visit to re-fix your position. This walk is not particularly committing and can be shortened at more or less any point by dodging east to meet up with the homecoming leg. A logical pace for this would be at Carreg yr Ogof 777214 where you can go due east to the Bannau sir Gaer ridge and follow it along to 816217 to re-join the route. A worthwhile detour if there has been heavy rain for the last few days is to Sinc y Giedd 810178 where the Afon Giedd is swallowed into the ground to find its way into the Dan-yr-Ogof cave system. Confusingly it has nothing (hydrologically) to do with the Afon Giedd that issues into the Tawe at Cwmgiedd. The parking is very limited and we scouted about before finding a marginal slot for the car. The verges are soft and easily churned up. If you can't park comfortably then an alternative is to park as far up the Cwmgiedd valley as you can, at approx 790125. This will add about 1/4 mile to the start of the walk but nothing to the end. At point 21 this area was indeed quarried. Just south of this point on Carreg Las there are a couple of half-finished millstones - a relic of of the Napoleonic War when millstones, usually imported from Brittany, had to be made locally.

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