A stunning ridge walk, out and back, to the highest peak on The Black Mountain (Fan Brycheiniog, 802m), one of the highest peaks in South Wales, with an option to continue to the next top along the ridge, Fan Foel (781m) for more stunning views to the North.
Often referred to as the last wilderness in the Brecon Beacons National Park, the landscape is glacial, treeless, with steep escarpments, and with stunning views over South and West Wales and to the Bristol Channel.
From a bus stop on the A4067 you climb steeply up to the Fan Hir ridge, and follow on with a long gradual ascent to the summit of Fan Brycheiniog ('Brecknock Beacon') with its storm shelter and trigpoint. The route is very exposed, so this is a walk for a clear sunny day, with little wind or rain. After dropping down to a saddle you re-ascend to the most northerly top on the ridge Fan Foel, the site of an early Bronze Age Round Barrow. From here you have spectacular views to the moorland and open country to the north, as well as along the stunningly picturesque Bannau Sir Gaer ('Carmarthen Fans') to the west. Return the way you came.
Although the path isn't marked, even on the OS 1:25,000 map, it is quite clear, and the last half along the ridge is obvious. The drops are steep only on one side, but very gentle on the other, so none of it is scary, or needs a head for heights.
Note: The Black Mountain (Y Mynydd Du) is the western most peak of the Brecon Beacons. The Black Mountains (plural) are a range of hills to the east of the Brecon Beacons, on the England-Wales border.
Cut out the most northerly top Fan Foel and return from Fan Brycheiniog, leaving you with a 13.1 km (8.1 mi) walk.
For a longer walk, continuing along the Bannau Sir Gaer ridge and returning along the bottom of the esarpment, see SWC Walk 279 The Black Mountain - Y Mynydd Du (Glyntawe Circular)
Glyntawe (Tawe Bridge) Bus Stop is on line T6 (Swansea - Neath - Ystradgynlais – Brecon), with up to 8 buses a day Mon-Sat and 4 on Sundays and Bank Holidays, with a journey time of 45 mins from Neath (and 30 mins from Brecon).
Satnav: SA9 1GS. Drivers should not park on the two pub car parks in the village, as these are for customers only, but should try to find roadside spaces along the few lanes in the village.
|Lunch and Tea
Tafarn y Garreg A 4067, Glyntawe, Swansea, Powys, SA9 1GS (01639 731 415). The Tafarn y Garreg had been shut for several years but re-opened in summer 2015. Open 12.00-23.00 Tue-Fri, 12.00-23.00 Sat and 12.00-18.00 Sun. Food served 12.00-20.00 Tue-Fri and 12.00-21.00 Sat-Sun.
The Gwyn Arms A 4067, Glyntawe, Swansea, Powys, SA9 1GP (01639 730 310). A roadside pub in a picturesque valley with a large garden, offering good value pub food every day. Open 11.00-late daily. Food served 12.00-20.00 Mon-Sat and 12.00-16.00 Sun.