Black Mountains Roundabout

Richard in the snow on the Whale Back Ridge

On Thursday I came across a tempting 25 mile event in the Brecon Beacons called the Black Mountains Roundabout ‘walk’, organised by the YHA and Brecon Mountain Rescue. Despite running for over 2 hours on Wednesday, and over 1 hour on Thursday, I figured that it would be good training for Richard and I, in a location that we really like. My legs weren’t as fresh as I would have hoped, but even so, we had a great day.

Obviously we didn’t walk the event, why walk when you can run?

The route starts in Crickhowell and climbs up the Whale Back Ridge to Waun Fach at 2600 feet. When we started, the weather was drizzly, but ok, however whilst on the ridge, the precipitation became increasingly more frozen, until huge flakes were falling. At it’s deepest, there was about 3″ of snow on the ground (yes, snow is measured in inches, never in cm!).

Richard in the snow on the Whale Back Ridge

After this really long climb, we headed down to the valley at Pengenffordd. Straight after the road crossing, the route takes you up Mynydd Llangorse, which is a very steep 1000 ft climb. My legs were quite tired at this point and I appreciated the next downhill section to Pentre.

Rachel on the route

The last climb of the day is up Pen Allt-mawr. This 1800 foot climb went on forever and was really quite steep at times!

The last climb, from the valley to the top of Pen Allt-mawr... this picture wasn't quite at the top

Once we’d reached the top however, most of the rest of the route back to Crickhowell was downhill, passing over Pen Cerrig-calch and Table Mountain on the way. We also had the added bonus of bumping into one of our mountain marathon friends, Derrick, on the last hill; he was watching the race.

Post race, we had to visit Luigi’s in Abergavenny (just for hot chocolate) and then we caught up with the Dudley Caving Club in a pub over well-earned burgers and pies.

4 thoughts on “Black Mountains Roundabout”

    1. It was quite chilly. Having come from Bangkok’s heat, into the UK ‘winter’, I keep making bad clothing choices… so today, I’d pulled out the warm sweater that I usually like to keep dry, in the first 5 k of the race!

  1. Bloody hell, that’s some variable weather! 😯 Was this really that same Saturday 14th we had in Cumbria? Check out skies in the next post… (Although it was very cold! :freeze: )

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