Day 2’s walk of 20.7km with 846 mtrs ascent and 804 mtrs descent.
I awoke after a very cold night, my first night out in sub-zero temperatures! One thing the night proved, was that my 3 season sleeping bag was right on the edge of its comfort limit. This would mean that that this particular walk would be the last until the following March where I had finally managed to amass the required Winter kit.
I really enjoyed Day 2’s walk. There is something about walking high up on the hill ridges admiring the view as one goes.
As usual I’ll let a few photos from my photo journal tell the story of the walk!
It was a cold night – I actually had to wear clothing in my sleeping bag to stay warm! The morning reveals that most things are frosted up – including the bog that I’m camped on!
The sky was a deep blue – a good sign that today would be a good-weather day!
The sun rises over Sugar Loaf. I immediately switch from being cold to being quite warm – the effect was almost instantaneous – amazing really!
Here I look like an irradiated orange!
I knew I carried my survival knife for a purpose….
Frost is much in evidence down below in the valleys.
Spork Fail!!!!! Many people prefer plastic sporks because they don’t scratch the cookware, however, mine lasted only three walks! Luckily I was also carrying a titanium spork – which even to this day has proved reliable!
The frosty bog is now – less frosty! As a result it is too wet to roll up the tent here. I end up carting all of my kit up the hill to a dryer position, then I un-peg the tent and take that up the hill too where it can be packed in the relative dry.
Down below on the left is my camp spot. All my kit was taken up the hill to this location where the ground is dry enough to allow the tent to be packed away without taking on too much water.
Time to start the climb!
This is one of my favourite photos – ever! The composition of the ponies and the fall of the light all collude to make a great scene!
The weather was cold, but the blue skies were very welcome and quite a change from the previous day.
The ground is quite icy, but paradoxically more grippy than mud!
Up ahead is the Trig Point signalling the top of Pen Cerrig-Calch at 701 metres!
I’m now following the main ridgeline of the Western Black Mountains Northward. Where there are shadows, there is ice!
I soon make it to the top of Pen Allt-Mawr at 719 metres. The view is gorgeous! The ridgeline in the distance is one that I would be walking in the dark the following morning!
A panoramic from Pen Allt Mawr! This photo was used as a banner for this blog, prior to being replaced with the current Snowdon one!
The climb down from Pen Allt Mawr is both steep and icy. I’m kind of grabbing a hand hold below me, then letting the rest of my body slide past, whilst using the handhold to arrest my fall. Not the most elegant descent, but at least it minimised the risk of slipping all the way to the bottom!
The view back up to Pen Allt Mawr. This view provides a better photographic perspective on its steepness!
Here I’m just following the ridgeline Northward.
There are many water sources on this ridge – but they are all frozen up from the cold night.
Up ahead I spot some stone markers on the hilltop. This isn’t part of my route, but I can’t resist taking a look!
I get to the top of the hill. The stones’ markings are no longer discernible. I’m guessing that these are boundary stones?
My journey northwards on this ridge is nearly at an end. I can tell by the hill saddle up ahead.
Down below is the hill saddle marking my departure from the hills. My exit route to the North West can just be discerned on the left side of the hill up ahead. I end up climbing down to the bottom of the saddle, then just chill out for 20 minutes snacking out and enjoying the view!
An unusual Cairn on my way off the mountains. Navigation at this point is by GPS only. This is deliberate as I wanted to see if I could use one for navigation. The result is that I really didn’t like using it. I found that situational awareness was poor and it was difficult to spot exact bearings to walk on. Maybe I’m just too used to the good old map and compass?
I pop down the hills and find myself on this rather long muddy track. My old Quest boots are lethally slippery under these conditions. This resulted in my speed dropping quite considerably. Luckily my new Scarpa’s are much more grippy under these conditions, but also, alas, much heavier…
Up above I see many gliders getting tows up to the ridges. I wish I was up there flying one of them!
The farmers nodded me to proceed through these sheep. It was an odd experience walking through them. It was like I had my own personal repulsion field which kept a metre of space around me, as the sheep all darted around to avoid me!
The weather is starting to move in – the hills up ahead seem to be experiencing some heavy rain. The lake up ahead is Llangors Lake.
Here I’m at the bottom of Mynydd Llangorse. It is starting to get late, that plus the imminent rain convinces me to make camp as soon as possible.
I get to the top of Mynydd Llangorse and make camp! I’m a little concerned as my route planning software had claimed that the overall route was 68km. But from my measurements on the map in the tent it looked closer to 88km! This meant that I had a lot of distance to make up tomorrow! I will discuss this issue in more detail in day 3’s post…
Here I’m getting the water on for supper. This is the view out of the tent toward LLangors Lake.
And today’s supper is Sweet and Sour Chicken!
The dessert is my favourite – mixed fruit and custard! My over trousers show just how muddy today’s walk was! After supper I get an early night as I will need to be up at around 0400 in the morning if I am to have any chance in making it back to Merthyr Tydfil in time for the last train.
Day 2’s camp spot – 44 km away from Merthyr Tydfil!