Marhofn 93.05 - May 2003

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SubMarilyns under scrutiny:

Mynydd Bwlch-y-Groes (32A, LR160)

Mark Trengove

After the report in Marhofn 58 I was dreading completing this hill. Being a purist (or a pedant, take your pick), I always try and make at least a bit of a walk out of a tick, and try to aim for a minimum of 30 metres of ascent by my own muscle power. How could I claim this hill in the Sennybridge army training area, when the only way of bagging it seemed to be a panic-stricken dash of a few metres to the trig point from a car with its engine running?

HM Forces came up trumps. Purely as a speculative planning move, and knowing I was staying within striking distance on the first weekend of 2003, I wrote to Army Training Estate (Wales), Sennybridge Training Area, Sennybridge, Brecon, Powys, LD3 8PN asking about the access position (see also www.defence-estates.mod.uk/access/accopplocations/accopp_sennybridge.htm).

I received a very friendly letter back from a captain at the base. He saw no problem in arranging access over this period and invited me to attend the base on Friday 3 January for a safety briefing and a range pass.

I duly arrived on the appointed day and was treated in a friendly and very helpful manner by all the staff at the base. I discussed with the sergeant my proposed route onto Mynydd Bwlch-y-Groes (and Mynydd Eppynt) and he saw no problems. It seems the western end of the area is mainly used for infantry training, and when I visited it was still closed for training for the holiday period.

Armed with my range pass I set off to the car park at Halfway Forest (SN835330) and up the higher forest road on the east of Nant y Dresglen, passing a sawmill and into the danger area. Navigation was easy by the forest roads, and the only ordnance I saw were a few empty smoke grenade canisters. On reaching a gap in the forest above Garn-rhiw I headed up the hill by a clear path onto the ridge. An army track (not shown on the Landranger map) follows the crest of the ridge above the public road. Apart from a couple of flooded sections (deliberate I think) this made for better walking than the road. The smartly repainted, whitewashed, trig point was easily gained by this route.

I had time to savour this difficult tick and explore a little. The weather was cold and sleety but quite clear, and the summit area not in doubt. The top is flat with no easily identified highest point. Those who have been satisfied with a mad dash from the road for the trig point will be pleased to read that there is no ground which appears to be higher. Various tussocks within a few metres of the trig point may look higher, but seem to be the same altitude when you stand on them.

I returned by my ascent route, making a total walk of 10 kilometres with 310 metres of ascent. All very satisfying, and I saw no-one for the whole walk.

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