November 2012 – 88 km 3 day solo walk – Black Mountains – Day 1

This is my last catch-up write up of a walk from last year. I have finally caught up! The high level plan for this particular walk was to essentially walk from Abergavenny to Merthyr Tydfil via the Black Mountains.

The walk itself saw many firsts. It was the first walk where I had camped in sub-zero temperatures. It was also the first walk where I had to walk in the dark (at the start of day 3). The walk also holds the distinction of hosting the longest walk I had ever achieved in one day – all 44.44 km of it! A record which still stands today.

I’ll explain why I had to walk so far when I write up Day 3’s blog entry – so you will have to tune in to find out!

I’m going to try and publish all three days before the end of this week – before I head out to the Lake District for another adventure.

As usual I’ll let the photo’s do the talking. Here is a small subset from my Facebook walking journal:

Red is planned, Blue is Actual. The whole walk was 88.1 km from Abergavenny to Merthyr Tydfil via the Black Mountains and Talybont over 3 days.

Red is planned, Blue is Actual. The whole walk was 88.1 km from Abergavenny to Merthyr Tydfil via the Black Mountains and Talybont over 3 days.

This is the elevation profile for the whole walk. As walks go, this was the hilliest that I had done up to that point.

This is the elevation profile for the whole walk. As walks go, this was the hilliest that I had done up to that point.

Day 1's walk was 22.96 km with 1094 mtrs ascent and 763 mtrs descent.

Day 1’s walk was 22.96 km with 1094 mtrs ascent and 763 mtrs descent.

Very early on in the walk I hit my first problem - a broken bridge! In the end I had to divert upstream to find another crossing point!

Very early on in the walk I hit my first problem – a broken bridge! In the end I had to divert upstream to find another crossing point!

This is the first view of the hills that I get as I leave Abergavenny. This part of the route takes me through a park which will ultimately follow the River Usk.

This is the first view of the hills that I get as I leave Abergavenny. This part of the route takes me through a park which will ultimately follow the River Usk.

The heavy rains that the Uk had been getting had caused the banks of the River Usk to collapse into said River. As a result, the whole River edge has been fenced off.

The heavy rains that the Uk had been getting had caused the banks of the River Usk to collapse into said River. As a result, the whole River edge has been fenced off.

Rather unusually, the track I was following went through a grave yard...

Rather unusually, the track I was following went through a grave yard…

Here I'm making my way toward Sugar Loaf Mountain. One thing that maps don't show are the state of the trails. This one involved a lot of effort and bushwhacking to get through.

Here I’m making my way toward Sugar Loaf Mountain. One thing that maps don’t show are the state of the trails. This one involved a lot of effort and bushwhacking to get through.

Once I get through the dense foliage, I get my first proper view of Sugar Loaf Mountain. For me at this time, it would be the highest hill that I had attempted to climb. As such, I was a little daunted by it!

Once I get through the dense foliage, I get my first proper view of Sugar Loaf Mountain. For me at this time, it would be the highest hill that I had attempted to climb. As such, I was a little daunted by it!

The view back toward Abergavenny during my ascent of Sugar Loaf. The weather on this day was pretty moody!

The view back toward Abergavenny during my ascent of Sugar Loaf. The weather on this day was pretty moody!

I'm nearly at the top! Up ahead I can just see the Trig Point! Wooot!

I’m nearly at the top! Up ahead I can just see the Trig Point! Wooot!

The trig point on top of Sugar Loaf!

The trig point on top of Sugar Loaf!

A timed shot of me doing my best Gnome impression!

A timed shot of me doing my best Gnome impression!

I now start to make my way down Sugar Loaf. This is the view back toward the trig point.

I now start to make my way down Sugar Loaf. This is the view back toward the trig point.

On my way down I can see the Black Mountains off in the far distance. Later on today I would be camping at the base of it taking photos of this mountain!

On my way down I can see the Black Mountains off in the far distance. Later on today I would be camping at the base of it taking photos of this mountain!

A panoramic back toward the peak showing two hikers that I had bumped into!

A panoramic back toward the peak showing two hikers that I had bumped into!

I'm now headed NorthWest to take me to the Black Mountains. The plan at this point is to make it to the Grwyne Fawr river to top up my water supplies which are running low.

I’m now headed NorthWest to take me to the Black Mountains. The plan at this point is to make it to the Grwyne Fawr river to top up my water supplies which are running low.

I get to the River Grwyne Fawr. Luckily for me the farmers had put this gap in the fence, presumably to allow their livestock to pass through to access the River. The gap is just the right size for me to get through too!

I get to the River Grwyne Fawr. Luckily for me the farmers had put this gap in the fence, presumably to allow their livestock to pass through to access the River. The gap is just the right size for me to get through too!

I'm now starting my ascent up the Black Mountains. I'm looking for a place to camp as there isn't much daylight left. This whole area is very boggy and not on National Trust land, so I decide to continue onward!

I’m now starting my ascent up the Black Mountains. I’m looking for a place to camp as there isn’t much daylight left. This whole area is very boggy and not on National Trust land, so I decide to continue onward!

On my ascent I spot these derelict farm buildings. At this point I'm nearing the boundary that will take me into National Trust land.

On my ascent I spot these derelict farm buildings. At this point I’m nearing the boundary that will take me into National Trust land.

On my travels I had seen a lot of holly. But this is the first time I'd seen it with red berries. It looked just like a Christmas Card!

On my travels I had seen a lot of holly. But this is the first time I’d seen it with red berries. It looked just like a Christmas Card!

The view across the valley back toward Sugar Loaf. It is now obvious that the sun isn't going to be up for much longer - I must find a camp spot!

The view across the valley back toward Sugar Loaf. It is now obvious that the sun isn’t going to be up for much longer – I must find a camp spot!

I find a spot on fairly flat ground near a water source. Unfortunately this ground is very boggy. I'm hoping the Akto tent's bathtub will hold the water at bay!

I find a spot on fairly flat ground near a water source. Unfortunately this ground is very boggy. I’m hoping the Akto tent’s bathtub will hold the water at bay!

The view from my abode was gorgeous with a great view onto Sugar Loaf which looks so far away now!

The view from my abode was gorgeous with a great view onto Sugar Loaf which looks so far away now!

The sun dips below the horizon. Looks like I will be eating my meal in the dark. At least the tent is up!

The sun dips below the horizon. Looks like I will be eating my meal in the dark. At least the tent is up!

As the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says, never leave home without your towel! It is just way too handy! Here it is keeping my freeze dried meal warm whilst it reconstitutes. But towels have many more uses! They can be used to dry your feet after a ford, dry the inside of the tent, or maybe used as a pillow or to help level off part of the sleeping bag! I never leave without one, and neither should you! :)

As the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says, never leave home without your towel! It is just way too handy! Here it is keeping my freeze dried meal warm whilst it reconstitutes. But towels have many more uses! They can be used to dry your feet after a ford, dry the inside of the tent, or maybe used as a pillow or to help level off part of the sleeping bag! I never leave without one, and neither should you! πŸ™‚

Tonight's meal is Noodles and Chicken in a Black Bean Sauce. The meal was very tasty!

Tonight’s meal is Noodles and Chicken in a Black Bean Sauce. The meal was very tasty!

Dessert is strawberry and rice pudding!

Dessert is strawberry and rice pudding!

The whole meal was washed down with a coffee! I had to wear my water proof leggings here because the ground here was sodden. Anyways it's time for bed!

The whole meal was washed down with a coffee! I had to wear my water proof leggings here because the ground here was sodden. Anyways it’s time for bed!

Day 1's camp spot at the base of the Black Mountains.

Day 1’s camp spot at the base of the Black Mountains.

Laters
RobP

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About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Brecon Beacons, Camping, Hiking, Multi-Day Walk, The Black Mountains and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to November 2012 – 88 km 3 day solo walk – Black Mountains – Day 1

  1. First LOVE you quoted Hitchhikers guide and brought your towel;p
    This looks amazing and the hike through the cemetery had to be interesting!

    • RobP says:

      Thanks – I love the Hitchhiker’s Guide – even though it is quite an old series of books. The cemetery bit was a bit odd – to a certain extent I felt like I was trespassing!

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