The main summits of the Black Mountain (not to be confused with the Black Mountains further east) are among the most dramatic hills in the Brecon Beacons National Park, with an impressive northern escarpment of crumbly old red sandstone to rival anything around Pen y Fan in the central Beacons, and the added bonus of a wilder and far less-trodden feel. Arguably one of the most distinctive shorter hill walks in Wales, if not the UK, this classic circuit visits Llyn y Fan Fach, a favourite venue of the wild swimming set, before climbing to the edge of the cliffs, which are followed in grand style to a high point on Fan Brycheiniog.
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Distance: 6.84 miles (11 km)
Total ascent: 648m
Time: 4 – 5 hours (Walking)
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Walkers' car park down a rough track just beyond the end of the dead end public tarmac road from Llanddeusant, SN799239
An easy vehicle track to the lake, then a series of well-trodden hill paths. The grassy terrain along the tops is enjoyably easy going. However the final descent from Bwlch Blaen-Twrch crosses steep broken ground that needs some care, particularly for parties with dogs or smaller kids.
In a snowy winter the escarpment edge is likely to hold some significant cornices in places. An axe and crampons may occasionally be needed on the steep descent from Bwlch Blaen-Twrch, in which case less confident winter walkers will probably prefer an alternative route via Fan Foel.
Weather and Hill Conditions: Met Office: Brecon Beacons
OS Explorer OL12 (1:25,000), OS Landranger 160 (1:50,000)
YHA Llanddeusant is billed as one of the most remote hostels in the hostel network. tel 0345 371 9750
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Llandovery (01550 720693)
by Dan Bailey UKH