Sunday, 20 February 2011

When is a hill not a hill? That is the question....

Right after last week's wash out  Mynydd y Garth it was, come hell or high water!   Immortalised in the film  The Englishman who went up a Hill but came down a Mountain,  is it tall enough to be a mountain or is it a mere hill? 

This was our first view of it from the bridge in Taff Wells after having left the car near the railway station. I was now starting to have second thoughts about this as I'm not a great lover of climbing steep hills ( or mountains!) Still as it was my idea in the first place I wasn't getting out of it that easily.

Nearly 2 hours later and the top is in view. The actual trig point is on top of an early Bronze age burial mound  (estimated at 2000BCE) which is considered to be the source of the tale and is officially 1007ft so - yes a mountain!

The burial mound is getting badly damaged by the number of visitors it gets and there were 3 or 4 mountain bikers cycling over it when we arrived.  A deep gouge ( path)  worn into the side bears mute witness to the stream of visitors. There are a number of smaller circular mounds nearby but they are dwarfed by the main one.

The view from the top must be magnificent  on a clear day. We could just about make out the turrets of Castell Coch rising from the mist, along with the second Severn crossing and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

We took another route down - much steeper and very badly eroded in places  but the views were magnificent. The path took us down into that pine forest before we ended up back at the car in Taff Wells.

The total route was about 5 miles but it was heavy going in places. Welsh hillsides are often boggy and this one was no exception. It never fails to amaze me just how much water can accumulate on top of a hill when you would expect it to find its way down. Hopping from one tussock to another gets old very quickly and as for the stile in the middle of a stream....

The lower slopes on the steeper side were much better drained with this being one little rivulet that crossed our path.
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