Mynydd Maendy in the sunshine

Last time I went up Mynydd Maendy, west of Ton Pentre, it was bucketing with rain and visibility was minimal. Here’s Andy Delmege’s photo of us walking up the ridge from Penrhys –

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and it got worse! Strange to relate, most of the group gave up in Ton Pentre. I had planned to stop there but it seemed dreadful to let Andy go on his own so I went with him. We were running a bit behind time and I set far too fast a pace going up the hill: I thought several times I would have to give up but Andy was very patient and we made it to the Bwlch. Somehow we got on a track that I didn’t recognise, so I thought I’d better go back and see if things had changed since  I was last there ten years ago.

The other logistical problem is that Cara the pilgrim dog has decided she’s too old to do hills. In south Wales this does limit your options … But she is also getting deaf and sleeps very soundly, so we can sneak out without her.

Tuesday the sun was shining and the sky was blue so Nell and I went off on the train up the valley. The climb from Ton Pentre up the ridge was still pretty stiff but we took it at a more sensible pace and I made it. Wonderful views … this is better!

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Past the radio mast you go through a gate at SS 96073 95462.

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Don’t go over the stile ahead and to your right

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(this was where Andy and I went wrong – the track takes you down to the forest then back up). Continue along the line of the fence to your left, bear left with the fence and go up the track which slants up to the left of the next rise.

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At the top – more wonderful views –

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you will see the track up from the forest rejoining you from the right. Through the gate the path becomes a stony track for a while,

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here’s Nell on the path

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then after another gate it becomes fainter but still there. Climb the steep slope ahead of you

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then follow the track as it bears right round the shoulder of the summit.

There’s nothing like a nice bench to make you feel you aren’t on a serious walk!

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The track over Mynydd Maendy is actually nice and clear, but the track up the ridge from Penrhys was quite difficult with a lot of damage from motorbike and 4×4 scrambling. I did wonder if there might be an alternative – down the steep track from the well to Llwynypia and up the other side through the forest? There’s no obvious way up from Llwynypia but plenty of forest tracks and the old lane from Llandyfodwg over Mynydd William Meyrick. So once we got to the Bwlch we headed south along the forest access track.

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There’s a touching little memorial just south of the Bwlch.

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There are good paths on the north side of Cwm Clydach

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but most of the way we were in deep forest and the motorbike damage is just as bad. We’ll probably stick with what we’ve got.

Mind you, we do need to have another look at the tracks over Mynydd William Meyrick. According to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales (the Non-defensive Secular volume of the Glamorgan inventory – i.e. anything that isn’t a church or a castle) this is a medieval road, and it leads from Llandyfodwg in Glyn Ogwr to the other Tyfodwg church, Ystradyfodwg, what is now better known as Ystrad Rhondda. Tyfodwg was himself a pilgrim and this could just be the pilgrimage route between his two churches. Exploring it without Steve to drop me off at one end and pick me up at the other could be tricky but we will find a way round it.

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