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Pen y Gadair Fawr

Round Cairn


After the stiff climb up on to the ridge from Wern Frank Wood barrow (15.4.2010) via the steep Cwm Cwnstab, the views open up in all directions. It is very difficult to describe the immensity of this landscape. The summit of Twmpa is visible to the NE, then the walk SE along the ridge gives wonderful views of Mynydd Troed and the Y Grib ridge. Ahead, the flattened summit of Waun Fach, at 810m the highest point in the Black Mountains, is between me and the summit of Pen y Gadair Fawr.

Once reached, the Waun Fach summit is a lunar landscape, pitted and worn through the peat by countless walkers' feet. Whether there was ever a summit cairn here we will never know, even the trig point is reduced to a worn plinth surrounded by trenches. From here, there is a great view of Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr, both with their own Bronze Age cairns. And there is Pen y Gadair Fawr, its distinctive peak (800m) crowned with a large summit cairn, itself topped with a recent walkers' construct.

After a mile walk across the boggy saddle between these two summits, there is a short uphill stretch to the cairn itself, which is actually a rather fine one, despite the silly walkers' effort on its top - noticeably reduced since Gladman's photos.

A fine spot on a fine day and well worth the effort, whichever way you come from. From here I headed to Maen Llwyd, close by but at a much lower elevation and not reached by any easy path from here.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
2nd May 2010ce

Comments (2)

Interesting that Waun Fach doesn't have a cairn - and I reckon never did have - even though it's higher than Pen y Gadair Fawr? The respective names are instructive, too.

It would seem the latter has always been considered the 'top peak' in the area, even during the Bronze Age, due to its finer topography. Incidentally, a mighty effort SC.....
3rd May 2010ce
Yes, interesting names. Pen y Gadair Fawr really lends itself to being topped by a cairn, perhaps the topography is indeed the key.

Was a great walk, such good weather once the clouds lifted. Quite long though, finished off at Crickhowell.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
4th May 2010ce
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