Fan Brycheiniog and Bannau Sir Gaer

September 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Walking | Leave a comment
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Black Mountain is the confusing name given to the area enclosing the impressive range of hills that lie at the western end of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The high points of Fan Brycheiniog and Bannau Sir Gaer are as impressive as any part of the Brecon Beacons.

Brecon Beacons from Fan BrycheiniogI started from the car park opposite the Tafarn-y-Garreg pub (which seems to be closed at the moment). The walk starts with a strenuous but gradual climb up grassy slopes and the escarpment edge to Fan Hir. The summit is unmarked but the views across the Brecon Beacons are impressive, with the grey forms of Pen Y Fan and Corn Du in the distance. The path then follows the escarpment edge and the climb to Fan Brycheiniog. The summit of Fan Brycheiniog, the highest point in the walk, is marked by a trig point and a sturdy stone shelter. It is then worth following the path around the ridge to the lesser peak of Fan-Foel for more fine views back along the escarpment and out to mid-Wales. The impressive ridge of Bannau Sir Gaer also becomes clear now, with Llyn y Fan Fach lying below. It is a stiff climb up to the highest point – Picws Du – the ridge then follows around to Waun Lefrith. Llyn y Fan Fach is associated with a legend of the Lady of the Lake, which then links to tales Bannau Sir Gaerin the Mabinogion.

Though this is the remotest part of the park, there were more walkers on the peaks than I usually see, but even these few faded away once I’d moved on from Bannau Sir Gaer and for the rest of the walk I was totally alone.

I went on, following the Nuttall route, to Garreg Las. Crossing the moorland I disturbed a snipe that took off out of the grass with a cry of annoyance more than alarm. Garreg Las, with its two huge cairns,  is a rocky outpost that marks the change into a limestone landscape of rocky outcrops, shake holes and swallow holes (and the caves of Dan-yr-Ogof). This is a long loop back – the walk is around 14 miles in total – but gives a fine end to the walk, particularly on a fine September day with the sun finally beating through the clouds.


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