A little-known hill in the quiet western reaches of the Black Mountain, Garreg Las is attractive for its sense of comparative wildness, and its wide open spaces. Though this is a subsidiary summit of Fan Brycheiniog, this short linear route only visits Garreg Las itself. Geology and prehistoric remains add interest along the way. Forming the high point of the long Esgair Hir ridge, this hill is sometimes also known as Twyn Swnd.
metres / Distance
SN7768924517 From the Youth Hostel cross the road and go south past the churchyard on a minor metalled road. This descends steeply to cross the Afon Sawdde, then climbs to a corner near Gellygron farm. Leave the tarmac here and continue on a stony farm track. This climbs steadily to reach the fenced edge of the open pasture. Having entered access land you're now free to venture off path at will (though there's not much to be gained from doing so).
SN7808023204 The path is vague at first, but keep heading roughly south and it soon becomes clear. A long gradual ascent brings you to some old quarry workings on Carreg yr Ogof. It's worth branching right off the main path here to wander among the layers of limestone outcrops, which offer some very modest micro-bouldering. Ogof means cave, and a good one can be found if you spend a bit of time hunting to the north of the summit (torch required, but no techy caving gear). Craig yr Ogof's trig point is perched on the edge of a tiny crag, and serves as a great viewpoint over the rolling farmland below.
SN7779121461 Continue roughly south past more outcrops, and areas of shattered limestone pavement, into a boggy saddle. Conspicuous shake holes here are evidence of more caves. The ground gets rougher on the final ascent to Garreg Las, and there's a choice of several trails among the rocks. The summit is crowned with two enormous cairns, thought to be of Bronze Age origin.
SN7774420329 With time you could loop west from here to take in neighbouring Garreg Lwyd, or head back northeast to visit Fan Brycheiniog. But for a shorter day simply retrace your path to Llanddeusant.
Start/Finish: Llanddeusant. Parking is limited in the village, and if you can't ask nicely at the hostel then it may be worth driving the first bit of stage 1, to park where the tarmac joins the farm track, SN776246
Nearest town: Llandeilo
Terrain: Tarmac, then a stony farm track, lead up to the access land on the open hillside. On the hill the paths are generally clear, though in places there is a choice of trails. Terrain is grassy and largely well-drained, but careful navigation will be needed in misty conditions.
Seasonal variations: With very little shelter, the high open ground would feel exposed in stormy winter weather.
Did this hill a couple of weeks ago ascending by your route. Very fine, and saw lots of ponies. Continued over to bag all the 2000' fans to the east - as in another recent route card, Very fine day out and much fewer people than the rest of the beacons. Camped at the Youth Hostel, lovely couple that run it.