This week’s walk of the week recommendation is from Huw Dullea of Treads and Trails.
Huw runs Treads & Trails, an outdoor activity provider based in the Brecon Beacons which specializes in Guided Walks, Wild Camping trips, Guided Mountain Bike routes as well as Mountain Bike Coaching Improvement sessions.
Further details are available online at www.treadsandtrails.co.uk
DRAGONS BACK AND WAUN FACH
Distance approx 16kms with just under 800m of ascent. Allow 6 hours.
OS Explorer Map OL13
A superb circular walk offering breathtaking and panoramic views of the Brecon Beacons and taking in the highest point in the Black Mountains.
Suitable for anyone of good fitness and health, wearing reasonable outdoor clothing and footwear and assuming good weather conditions.
In bad weather or low visibility navigation can be difficult on Waun Fach. Always take a map & compass with you, and be prepared for changing weather conditions
The walk starts from lane side parking just off the A479 between Crickhowell & Talgarth. If driving in the direction of Talgarth the parking area is situated just after the Castle Inn in Pengenffordd (LD3 OEP), turn left up a lane just after the pub, and drive approx 100mtrs to a farm entrance/rough track.
From the parking area, start up the rough track until you reach open land where you will see the Dragons Back (Y Grib) in front of you. Go through/over a gate/stile and follow the well worn track up the grassy mountain in front of you.
Continue up the track to the first flat area, where if you turn around, amazing panoramic views of the Brecon Beacons can be seen, as well as the site of Castell Dinas Iron Age Hill Fort, to the left of track you have just ascended.
Continue along where you can see the path rising in the distance to a Cairn. There is an optical illusion and you will soon realize you will need to descend a rocky section only to have to climb again! Near the Cairn the path goes by a Rock wall that provides good shelter from the wind.
Continue onwards and upwards as the path narrows to more open ground, then follow the path (not always well defined) in a North Easterly direction until you reach a well defined path at Pen y Manllwyn which crosses left to right in front of you. To the left is Hay Bluff, and to the right is Waun Fach. Turn right here and follow the path. In places there are large rutted areas & peat bogs which can be challenging, and the path gradually rises to a climb up to the summit of Waun Fach (Little Bog) which is the highest point in the Black Mountains at 811m .
Waun Fach summit is boggy and flat, with a large mushroom shaped piece of concrete where the Cairn once stood. From here it is all downhill.
It can be fairly windy at the top, so do not spend too long here, as better views and shelter can be found within 20 mins walk.
From the mushroom stone walk in a North Westerly direction until you start descending down a wide path which is again boggy and rutted in places, eventually this narrows, flattens out & starts descending again to Cairn at pen Trumau. To the left you can see McNamara’s road heading up, and straight ahead what must be one of the best views in the Brecon Beacons with Pen y Fan towering in the distance.
From the Cairn, take the diagonal left hand path steadily down the mountain (not the patch ascending to another summit) where you will eventually pick up a fence/stone wall on your right. Cross a small stream at the end of the fence/wall and follow the well defined path downhill until you reach sheep pens.
Go through the gate so you are walking down a narrow rutted path between stone walls until you reach a road. Turn right here, and then right again at the next road junction (Ysgubor Ganol farm is in front of you)
Follow the road all the way until you reach Cantref riding stables. Continue on the road up the hill until a sharp left hand bend, where you will see a rough track crossing a small stream to your right. Take this track and continue passing the Castle Pub until the track eventually ends and brings you back to the main road junction you first drove up, continue from there to the parking area.
A GPX version of this route for mobile GPS systems such as Garmin, SatMap etc is available from www.treadsandtrails.co.uk