This walk has several options for experienced mountain walkers. There is also an Easy Version
|Length||21.9 km (13.7 mi), of which 200m are on tarmac or concrete. Cumulative ascent/descent: 1000m. For a shorter walk, an alternative start point and an alternative return route, see below Walk options.|
10 out of 10 Time: 7 hours walking time.
Glyntawe (Tawe Bridge) Bus Stop is on line T6 (Swansea - Neath - Ystradgynlais – Brecon), with up to 11 buses a day Mon-Sat and 5 on Sundays and Bank Holidays, with a journey time of 45 mins from Neath (and 30 mins from Brecon). The journey time by train from London to Neath is from 2 ¾ hours.
|Stay||Saturday Walkers’ Club: This walk is doable as a daywalk from London if you have motorised transport. Accommodation is available in Glyntawe, nearby in Craig-Y-Nos or Pen-Y-Cae, and along the bus line in Ystradgynlais, Sennybridge or Brecon.|
OS Landranger Map: 160 (Brecon Beacons) OS Explorer Map: OL12 (Brecon Beacons National Park)
The Black Mountain (Y Mynydd Du in Welsh), in the Western Brecon Beacons, is often referred to as the last wilderness in the Brecon Beacons National Park and a walk along it as South Britain’s best ridge walk. It traverses a series of high peaks along a sequence of steep dramatic escarpments and features some of the most spectacular upland scenery in Britain. The route involves remote and rugged terrain, with a couple of glacial lakes and superb mountain views and leads almost entirely through open country.
From the Tawe Valley you rise steeply up a grassy hillside onto the first ridge, Fan Hir, and soon follow its edge with some far views to the two famous peaks in the Central Beacons: Pen y Fan and Corn Du. After dropping into a saddle you re-ascend to Fan Brycheiniog and then onto the northerly top Fan Foel. The views of the moorland and open country to the north are spectacular, and reveal the isolation of the range.
Turn west through a deep saddle to conquer the even more spectacular ridge of Bannau Sir Gaer.
The return route along the bottom of the steep escarpments, past some glacial lakes and moraines, reveals a different and fascinating perspective of the high buttresses and some steeply carved valleys below.
Shorter circular or out-and-back options, as well as a start from near the northerly end, are described. An alternative return route from the last top initially leads through open pathless, sometimes boggy, moorland, then through a veritable moonscape of shake holes, swallow holes, pot holes and limestone pavement before dropping back into the Tawe Valley (Cwm Tawe in Welsh).
Note: The Black Mountains (plural) are a range of hills in the Eastern Brecon Beacons.
Variations on the main route
Return via the Swallow Holes
|Lunch and Tea||
The two pubs in Glyntawe come at the end of the walk, but could be lunch stops if starting from the Blaenau car park:
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 Brecon Beacons is a national park in south Wales. It consists of bare, grassy, glacial mountains, with north facing escarpments. Its peaks, just shy of 1,000m (3,000ft), are the highest mountains in the southern UK. The national park is also noted for reservoirs, and the Dan yr Ogof caves. Its 4 mountain areas, from west to east are:
The Black Mountain (singular!) : Fan Brycheiniog (803m) and the Dan yr Ogof caves.
Fforest Fawr. Fan Gyhirych (725m), Fan Nedd (663m), Fan Fawr (734m), and the Henrhyd waterfalls (Sgwd Henrhyd)
The Brecon Beacons. Pen y Fan (886m), Corn Du (873m), Cribyn (795m), Fan y Big (719m), Waun Rydd (769m). South of Brecon, north of Merthyr Tydfil.
The Black Mountains (plural!). Waun Fach (811m), Black Mountain (703m). Abergavenny to the south. Hay-on-Wye to the north. More on our 'to do' list
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk