Black Mountains
HIGH  ROAD
TO  CWMDU

18 October 2015



Day Three

Sunday was cloudier, but we still rose to higher things (about 450 m), getting nice dramatic views from Cefn Moel. A visit to Cwmdu's "Jolly Farmer" was a nice interlude before we returned along one of the typical narrow Welsh lanes (only met one car on the way!) with views into and across the Rhiangoll valley. The weather kept dry and was neither too hot nor too windy. So here's what you will see about our nice Sunday walk.


Over the Pass to Cwm Sorgwm

From our hostel we climbed over 100 m, skirting around the northern edge of Mynydd Troed, all the while enjoying the views towards the north. Cloudy it was, but the rain kept off and the visibility was reasonable. Eventually, we reached the pass between Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse. The cloud was still low, so we kept low and entered the next valley, Cwm Sorgwm.




We pose for a picture before we round the northen edge of Mynydd Troed.




We come across this rather lonely equine who looks as if he (or she) is retired.




At the pass leading into Cwm Sorgwm we decide that a further piccy is in order. This time we have what's left of an old hill fort as our background.
This is looking south and towards the foothills of Mynydd Llangorse.




And here's another piccy. Same place and another face (Your Truely).
Thanks Tony for taking the picture.




The cloud level looks a tad low, so ...




... we descend into Cwm Sorgwm, ...




... enjoying the autumn tints as we go.




By the path we see what looks like the headstone of a grave, but it's so weather-beaten, that we are none the wiser as to whom or what it could possibly refer. It'll probably remain a mystery.




Things are brightening up a bit ...




... so that we can look further down the valley.




Valley and cloud ...




... hillside and cloud.



Mountain Heights

As we progressed down Cwm Sorgwm, the cloud to the south west of us started to lift a tad, revealing the hill tops. Three of us (thanks Gavin for being insistent!) then decided to make the steep climb to about 450 m. Interestingly, we realised that horses were also meant to make this climb - we hadn't thought about the agility and climbing ability of Welsh horses! Regarding matters meterological, we reckoned that the cloud would not suddenly descend on us, for weatherwise it was a quiet day. We were rewarded with interesting views, taken just below the cloud level, with the sun sneaking in in places. An interesting experience that has rarely visited me before.




This is on the steep ascent.




The cairn is a welcome sight. It means that we are more or less on top.




So welcome is the cairn that it merits another picture -
- this time to show how it fits into the landscape.




A really weathered sign post greets us, so Danny and Gavin have their picture taken with it.




The signpost welcomes both horse riders and walkers,
without actually telling them the places to which they could be riding or walking.




Here is another mysterious headstone,
the writing on it having fallen prey to decades of damp and windy weather.




Sunshine and low cloud combine to give ...




... views that can be described as "atmospheric".




These are views I shan't forget!




On the way down into the valley,
an ebullient growth of bracken and ferns ensures an interesting descent.




Before we reach the path to Cwmdu,
we take in this pleasant scene of sheep and mountains.



And so to the "Jolly Farmer"

Getting off the mountain was a question of tussling with the residual ebullience of a Welsh summer - lots of bracken and ferns obscuring our path. The paths did not seem to be maintained, resulting in a rather strained relationship between OS map and actual conditions on the ground. Anyhow, we finally reached the "Jolly Farmer" in Cwmdu, only to find that our colleagues, who had arrived 20 minutes before by the low level route, had also had their progress impeded by copious ferns and bracken. Ferns and bracken seemed indeed to be a post-Summer phenomenon in the Welsh mountains. We stayed a short while in the pub for tea and other beverages before embarking on the homeward "leg" of our walk.




It's now just a short walk ...




... across the fields to ...




... Cwmdu's "Jolly Farmer".




Those that had taken the low-road had got here only 20 minutes before we entered. It was time for tea or something stronger before we started on the homeward "leg" of our walk.




In the pub there was no mistaking that we were in Wales.
However, the Welsh language was not much in evidence!



Homeward Bound

To return to Cwmforrest, most of us went along the succession of typical narrow Welsh lanes, meeting only one car on the way. We had good views into and across the Rhiangoll valley. Sudddenly a flock of sheep appeared, as if out of nowhere, advancing towards us, only to about turn, into apparent oblivion, once a sheep dog called them to order. Despite the cloud, it was time to take a few more pictures, with autumn tints starting to appear. The rain kept off nicely.




"Cwn Du" means "Black Valley". On the way out of town we pass the grade II* church of the "Archangel Michael". It was closed today because it was Sunday. Err?? Doh!!




We get nice views westwards towards Pen Tir ...




... as we negotiate the narrow lanes flanking the east side of the Rhiangoll Valley.




Here's another westward view, this time of Mynydd Troed,
around whose foot hills we had walked this morning.




This scene reminds me of the Irish postcard entitled "Rush Hour in Ireland". Ahead of me a flock of sheep was coming towards me, only to be forced into a quick about turn by a sheep dog that seemed to appear out of nowhere. The sheep almost as quickly disappeared into a neighbouring field. Very good, these sheep dogs - well, they have to earn their keep!




The narrow lane leads ever northwards ...




... and eventually our old friend Castell Dinas hoves into view.




Yes, it's Castell Dinas alright!




The Cwmfforest Riding Centre is just at the bottom of this lane ...




... and here is a group of Cwmfforest horse riders out for an evening training session.




And now we are back at the Ranch. It's been another good CLOG day!



Our Evening

For our last evening (for those that stayed on for three nights) we returned to the "Jolly Farmer" (Food Hygiene Rating 5 out of 5). The pub was not too well frequented this evening, but then, it was a Sunday evening, and the summer tourist season was over. Tomorrow, we too, would be leaving for home. So ended a pleasant CLOG away break before Winter had taken hold.