Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Dog Tackles The Cat(s back!)

A planned early saturday walk in the Black Mountains with Chopper and Nicholls turned into a hastily rearranged run in the Black Mountains on my 'Jack Jones' following cry-offs from the other two (any website links for removal of thumbprints from foreheads will be gratefully passed on).

I wanted to try somewhere I hadn't previously visited and found myself eyeing 'The Cats Back' with interest. I worked out a round route of some ten miles and set off early. The starting point was a small carpark near Llanveynoe.

By 8am I was running, I mean walking, up the steep initial incline of the Cats Back Ridge. And what a stunning morning it was!!

I was quite impressed with the knife-edged ridge of The Cat's Back - alright, it's no Crib Goch or Striding Edge, but it's very picturesque in its own right.

By the time I got onto the higher part of the ridge I was able to break into a jog and made good progress towards Hay Bluff. The views back along Offas Dyke were fantastic in the morning sun.

First Trig point of the day was Black Hill. Whoever named the various peaks and regions of the Brecon Beacons was obviously too busy to come up with plenty of original names so they just used Black and many variants of. Black Mountain, Black Mountains, Black Mountain (yes, again), Black Hill, etc etc.

Onwards to a deserted Hay Bluff (I did actually spot one other runner approaching the Bluff from the North and turning around to head straight back down. Then I had the summit all to myself for a spot of breakfast - A cereal bar and a banana.

The Met Office Mountain Area Forecast had promised exc ellent visibility that morning and as usual, they were spot on. You could see clearly for miles on end. The Malverns and herefordshire hills were visible to the east, nearby Penygadair Fawr and Waun Fach were easy to spot, and further west, PenyFan and the Carmarthen Fans were outlined against the blue sky.

After a ten minute break I ran back to the south and headed along Offas Dyke. I had never walked any part of Offas Dyke before. I have to say, Offa, if you're reading, you've done a bloody good job. The thick riven pathway along that section of the Dyke is pretty impressive. I made pretty quick progress down to a point in line with Capel-y-fin, where I detoured left down a steep path that avoided the steep crags to the east along that part of the dyke. A quick mile back through the lanes to the carpark and I'd done 10 miles in around 2¼ hours (with a few photo stops as well as my breaky break!)

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