3 Feb 2012

Of mice and drybags

The Llanbder horseshoe is a great long day walk in the Black Mountains.  As I was there for an overnighter I decided to add a bit and cover some other unclimbed hills.

I walked through the village of Llanbedr down a muddy track to the river and up to Crug Mawr. It was still relatively early despite the long drive from Dorset. I was passed by a couple of runners just before the top, the only people I would see all morning. After a short side trip to the nearest top I headed down to the valley through Mynydd Du Forest.

The path down to the valley cut straight through the pine trees directly across a couple of forestry roads. The top section of the path is either very overgrown or I missed it completely. If you get lost in the same place can you pick up my glove that I lost bashing through the trees. After crossing the first forestry road the path is much clearer. The reservoir road was bit of a plod but I was soon off the track climbing through the wood on the other side of the valley.

Chwarel  y Fan
I had made a side trip to Pen Twyn Mawr and it turned out to be a dull mound of a hill. I also double back on myself to Chwarel  y Fan and it was a very worthwhile trip. A classic Black Mountains grassy ridge topped with a summit path through the rocks.(Apologies for the fuzzy phone camera picture in this post, my camera is broken)

I heading back north along the ridge before reaching the small bothy in the valley. It is a tiny one up one down structure with just enough room to refold a double sided OS map. I spent a cold night on the sleeping platform listening to a quiet scratching noise downstairs. As I was preparing breakfast I found something had been through my rubbish bag and one of my dry bags. Although my favourite dry bag had no food in it my new found enemy had nibbled a hole in it. My food bag was untouched. Not happy.

Bothy etiquette says you should leave enough fuel for the next visitor. I didn't really feel I had done this so I  packed up some of the rubbish others had left instead. It was a sad sight as I left in the morning carrying a bag of rubbish and an empty whiskey bottle, sobbing gently. "It was my favourite dry bag as well".

I followed the path up the valley before turn back towards the south. This side of the valley the hills are quiet a bit higher and were covered in a thicker layer of snow. This ridge is what I love about the Black Mountains, open hills with great views.