The Black Mountains
I’ve decided The Black Mountains are my favourite part of South Wales to explore. I’ve visited a few times, most notably when walking Offa’s Dyke, and I’ve now found that when I’m getting itchy feet and want to get outdoors – they’re what I crave.
Down low it’s lovely enough; with green fields, hedgerows and little towns and villages in the valleys. But it’s up high where you want to be. Up on the tops of the long mountains is a bleak wilderness, completely featureless apart from a cairn every now and then and the black, peat-bottomed paths dodging the murky ponds and pits. It might sound far from picturesque but when you want a bit of a wild adventure, a bit of escapism – it’s perfect.
I went up with my friends, Sam and Will, and my dog Teilo for a 24-hour roam. We started in Llanbedr and climbed up to the mountain tops, then followed them on and on until Grwyne Fawr Reservoir. There we pitched up and got about cooking our jacket potatoes and warming our mulled wine as the ground hardened around us.
The next day we headed back through the snow that had settled in the night and enjoyed the dramatic views of Pen y Fan, Corn Du and Cribyn in the distant central Beacons.
It was a great adventure but if I were to go again I’d go without a set route or destination in mind. Just head up with a map, compass and just wander around enjoying the space to do so.
The Black Mountains are a short drive from the M4 but are a quiet place, with far fewer visitors than the central part of the Brecon Beacons. I highly recommend a visit if you’ve never been before. It’s where all the fun is.