The Black Mountain

The Black Mountain range is the most westerly of the Brecon Beacons National Park sandstone uplands. This is not to be confused with the Black Mountains in the east. The Black Mountain range stretches approximately from Gurnos, Merthyr Tydfil in the south to Llandovery, Camarthenshire in the north. Its high point is the summit of Fan Brycheiniog (802m) and it contains the two glacial lakes of Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr. The sources of both the River Tawe and the River Usk are found on the eastern flanks of the range. There are also hard, erosion-resistant bands of carboniferous limestone and millstone grit in the south and west of the range.

Day 1 Sunday 14th 2016 Abercrave and the Cribarth Ridge

Cribarth Trig Point Cribarth_Ridge Quarry Craig-y-Nos
Cribarth Trig Point Cribarth Ridge Quarry Craig-y-Nos

left home at 7.00am and drove down the M4 to Abercrave covering 150 miles. Parked the car outside tonight's accommodation at about 10.00am. As it turned out I could have left arriving by an hour or two. Today's walk is walk is described in the Cribarth Ridge Walk. The route was relatively easy to follow except near Pont y Wal where a farmer had to point out the gate to go through and the well worn path near the ornamental iron gate was not found. An alternative route through bracken and rocks had to be steerd. Cribarth Ridge shows a broken skyline that looks like a sleeping giant. To its west a rounded top attains a height of 423m marked by a trig point. The ridge is formed by limestone rocks , intensely fractured making them easy to quarry. Numerous quarries were worked around the summit of the mountain and on its flanks during the nineteenth century and the rock removed by tram. Several kilometres of abandoned tramroads weave around the hill and two major inclines link this high-level network to the former Swansea Canal in the Tawe valley below. The remains of numerous lime kilns can also be seen.

Accommodation was booked for 3 nights at The Abercrave Inn.

Day 2 Monday 15th August 2015 Llyn-y-Fan-Fawr and Llyn-y-Fan-Fach

Fan Fechan Llyn y Fan Fawr Picws Du Llyn y Fan Fach Fan Brycheiniog
Fan Fechan Llyn y Fan Fawr Picws Du Llyn y Fan Fach Fan Brycheiniog

Today's intended walk is decribed in Black Mountain From Glyntawe . Parked the car off the A4067 in Glyntawe. Walked along the road to the Tafarn y Carreg and set of along the signed Beacons way. Over the bridge the path forked to a straight on up the hill and a right along the river. Then followed the Beacons Way below Fan Hir to Llyn y Fan Fawr. Walked around the lake and followed the escarpment at lower level to Llyn y Fan Fach. Climbed the escarpment at walked bak along the ridge over Picws Du to Fan Brycheiniog. Then followed the top edge of the Fan Hir escarpment back and dropping to the Tafarn and the car. This wonderful walk was from 8.00 am to 4 pm covering 12 miles. The intended walk would be good too.

Day 3 Tuesday 16th August 2016 The Black Mountain and the Dan yr Ogof Show Caves

Bog Fan Brycheiniog Dan yr Ogof Showcave Pillar Angel
Bog Fan Brycheiniog Dan yr Ogof Showcave Pillar Angel

On the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 12 at SN 833 157is a shake hole called "The Crater". To find this the car was parked in the free car park at the Dan yr Ogof Showcaves. Walked back to the A4067 and down it for a couple of hundred yards to pick up the footpath to "The Crater". From there, headed in a general westerly direction through the heather and elephant grass and past the rock piles and shake holes. Faced by a wall of stone headed in a northerly direction towards Fan Brycheiniog until arrived at the bridleway between Glyntawe and LLandeusant. Followed this north easterly then walked clockwise around the fenced off bog, then headed in a general southerly through the heather and elephant grass and past the rock piles and shake holes until the bridleway. Followed this south westerly down to the Dan yr Ogof Showcaves's carpark. Visited the showcaves in the afternoon.

Day 4 - Wednesday 17th August 2016

Corne_Du_and_Pen_y_Fan Empty Reservoir Pen_y_Fan
Corne-Du and Pen-y-Fan Empty Reservoir Pen-y-Fan

Pen y Fan and Corne Du were seen to the east from Fan Brycheiniog. After kippers for breakfast and settling the bill at the Abercrave Inn drove the 20 miles to the car park a couple of 100 yards below the Storey Arms. Started to climb the slope to Bwlch Duwynt at 9.15 am. Took the clockwise route around the Pen y Fan Horseshoe, climbing first to Corne Du and then down and up to Pen y Fan. Met a couple of wild campers on the ridge and noticed that the Upper Neuadd reservoir was empty (for maintenance purposes). Decided to walk around Cribyn on the path on a contour rather than over its summit. From Bwlch ar y Fan walked down the rocky road to the lower reservoir. The climb up to the western ridge was quite tough. Then walked along the ridges, Craig Fan Ddu, Rhiw yr Ysgyfarnog and Craig Gwaun Taf back to Bwlch Duwynt and then down to the car park, arriving at about 3.00 pm. The summits, paths and car parks were now very busy with visitors. Drove home.

Maps Used

  1. Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 12 - The Brecon Beacons National Park Western Area