Trail 1 of Beacons Way undertaken by Tuesday Walkers Society
Demanding 9 miles
Overcast; fine, misty rain; blustery wind
A demanding 9-mile linear walk from the eastern end of the Beacons Way, at Llangadog, passing through the settlement of Bethlehem, where we entered the bounds of the Brecon Beacons National Park, through to Castle Carreg Cennen; total ascent 1918ft.
On some maps, Bethlehem may be marked as a terminus of the Beacons Way. Indeed some websites observe the pleasing symmetry of a route between “Holy Mountain and Bethlehem.” However, recently the route has been extended on both ends, to the rail stations of Abergavenny (east) and Llangadog (west)—presumably to encourage the conflation of train journeys and walking.
From Bethlehem we ascended and crossed the vast Iron Age fort, Carn Goch. After this, a fine, swirling, misty rain began and continued to characterise the remainder of our walk. Occasional ascents were strenuous, but never properly steep, as we meandered amongst the foothills of the Mynydd Du. Roundels regularly marked the coincidence of new Heart of Wales Line Trail with the Beacons Way, in this section of the route.
In spite of the rain and cooling temperatures on the higher land, a considerable amount of merriment greeted our embarkation upon the Way. Sadly, overcast conditions stopped views of the ascent into the Mynydd Du (Black Mountain), on the next leg of our venture.
Low cloud also hindered our appreciation of the fantastic Castle Carreg Cennen, until we were practically upon it. Even so, in the conditions, what a daunting sight it must have been to potential invaders and aggressors!