It was officially Day Two in Brunel Walking Group’s “Christmas” away weekend on Dartmoor. A second series of walks were available to choose from, ranging from long to short and I settled up on the one in the middle; said to be around 11.5 miles in length and not an unreasonable choice, given that it was forecast to be wet and windy for much of the day.
It was the beginning of a four-day weekend in Devon, where I would mostly be joining Brunel Walking Group on their annual “Christmas” away weekend. Where we travelled to Pembrokeshire in 2017; this year, we were destined to explore Dartmoor.
All the way back in December 2017, I led a group walk in the Black Mountains that I soon grew to regret. One weekend after snow had fallen heavily across the region, I found the mountain tops were covered and we were struggling through depths up to our knees for much of our day. That’s without mentioning the rain waiting for us before we had a chance to put our boots on and the gale-force winds arriving from the east.
I’d thought about repeating the same route but have always held reservations over the small car park at Black Hill. So, for this outing, I decided to park elsewhere and lead a longer route along different paths.
As far as the Brecon Beacons are concerned, I’ve explored the main ‘Central’ peaks (Pen Y Fan and co.) several times. I’ve also hiked several times around the eastern end of the National Park, where its boundary laps on to the Black Mountains range.
This walk would be my first experience of hiking in the western Beacons. I was hardly going to turn down an opportunity to climb to the highest point of The Black Mountain(Y Mynydd Du).
At the beginning of our long-weekend in North Wales, we’d all driven up the night before. Not wanting to waste one of our five days and, with many mountains explore, it was my suggestion to leave the cars alone on day one and do a local climb, from our accommodation in Llandrillo up in to the Berwyn mountain range.
It has been over eighteen-months since my previous visit to Exmoor; an almost equally strenuous walk that climbed to the highest point, Dunkery Beacon. At the beginning of 2017, I’d vowed to make a greater effort to explore more of Exmoor… Other intentions must’ve interrupted this ambition.