17 Mar 2009

Black Mountains

We left Dorset early Saturday morning and arrived in Abergavenny at 8:30. I was delighted to see the Grecos Italian cafe was still there, the last time I visited was about 17 years ago. However Grecos was closed so we went on to the market and had a great breakfast roll and tea to set us up for the day.

We drove on to Cwmyoy, and after a bit of tour of this steep hillside village found a spot to park. Setting off up the Cwm Iau we soon reached the slopes of Hatterrall Hill and the chatting stopped. Once on the top we joined the wide path north along the ridge. This part of our walk followed Offa's Dyke path for a long way so the track was well worn and even in February we saw a few people out.

We sat down for lunch looking over into Wales and the other ridges of the Black Mountains. The day was slightly overcast and misty but we could see across to Rhos Dirion. We continued along the ridge with great views into Mercia (if we are talking in Offa terms) over Black Hill.

At Hay Bluff, the end of the ridge, we turned east and dropped to Gospel Pass. After the climb to Twmpa we started to make our way down through some rough boggy ground to Grwyne Fawr. We reached the bothy as it was getting dark and quickly made ourselves comfortable. Well as comfortable as 3 men can be in a large shed, very.

The next morning, starting in the mist, we headed down the valley. As we got past the dam patches of sunlight hit the hills around us. After the car park in the Mynydd Du Forest we climbed back over the ridge into a beautiful sky. The path down to road zigzagged through the woods and took a wrong turn ending up fighting down a disused path to get to the road below Cwmyoy.

In terms of kit I used both of my stoves; the Pocket Rocket and my new White Box stove. It was great to have two stoves in the bothy as there were 3 of us it meant we could make drinks and food at the same time However I think I need to be a bit more careful with the White box as it did not appreciate having a pan with a wet base plonked on top of it. Definitely a success but some practise needed.


  1. From the photos and write up it was a nice walk. I like the blog and will add it to my blog roll if OK?

  2. What a well kept secret this blog has been - how did I miss I fellow local backpacker for so long

    Interesting stuff -keep it up

  3. Looks a good trip you had. Second attempt to comment by the way and nice blog.

  4. Martin - great if you add me to your blogroll.
    Thanks for feedback.

  5. Already done that Ben. Keep it coming and meet up with John if you can.