Category Archives: Air Crash Sites

Light and Dark

Craig Eigiau and Carnedd Llewellyn – 20-Nov-2011

The met office forecast had sounded so promising for an inversion – low level hill fog, but higher summits over 800m should be clear.  Driving up to the pass from Llangynog the fog was certainly thick. and it cleared just at the top of the pass, rolling off the surrounding hills. Things continued to be promising as I drove past Cerrigydrudion, with the thermometer reading just 1°, and frost thick on the ground.

But, by the time I reached the gated road into Cwm Eigiau the fog had gone, with some cloud hanging high over the ridge at the far end of the cwm.

I took the path NW from the parking, and headed round the end of the ridge before cutting up onto the crest and following the wall to Craig Eigiau. the glacier-smoothed rocky rib at the summit is a pleasant change from the shattered rock on the higher Carneddau peaks  – a sign that they remained above the glacial ice.

From here, there’s a large plateau that leads onto the broad ridge between Carnedd Llewellyn and Foel Grach. I kept towards the south of it, partly for the views over to the cliffs of Craig yr Ysfa – glistening in the sun- and also also to try and scope out a route back through the cwm.

After catching a glimpse of the waters at Ffynnon Llyffant it was time to head on towards a fog-shrouded Carnedd Llewellyn. The Northern slopes have numerous boulder fields, and few obvious paths. The rocks were all incredibly greasy and I was relieved to reach the comparative easy going of the summit plateau.

The summit had been tantalisingly peeking in and out of cloud as I climbed, but now the cloud showed no signs of budging. After lunch and a quick litter-pick of the windshelter (what part of ‘Leave No Trace‘ don’t people understand?) , I’d planned to head onwards Yr Elen, but the cloud base had dropped significantly (and the wind had really picked up) so Yr Elen has been saved for a better day.

I retraced my steps a little, then headed down into Ffynnon Llyffant. I was aware there’d been an air crash near here – a Canberra from RAF Pershore – but the extent and distribution of the wreckage was a surprise. Even half a mile or more downstream you’ll see large aluminium panels in the water, carried down by floods.

From here it’s a pleasant but pathless walk to the old mine workings. just following the course of the stream. The “road” out from here takes you past Cwm Eigiau Cottage (Rugby Mountaineering Club’s bothy) which is sporting a smart new roof, past the much-diminished Llyn Eigiau reservoir and the breached dam walls, with a mile of easy walking back to the car park.

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A Pair of Wellingtons

Black Mountain, Brecon Beacons, 14-July-2011

Not those, these:

Mynydd Du (the Black Mountain) is at the queiter western end of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and is very different in character to the central Beacons around Pen y Fan. There’s still the amazing red sandstone cliffs of the northern escarpment, but the land further south is much wilder, and rockier. The reason – Limestone. The geology of limestone areas is very distinctive, due to the way that the stone is eroded by rainwater, forming Karst landscapes, often with extensive cave systems.

My walk started from Dan yr Ogof, where there’s a large showcave and various other attractions including, rather surreally, a dinosaur park. However, parking is a reasonable £3 and you can get straight onto the hills without any road work. The weather was baking hot with a gentle breeze, and the sky a brilliant blue as I headed up past a group of Welsh ponies.

The limestone outcrops and sink holes make for interesting walking – a straight line is rarely an option, and there’s plenty to look at. It’s also a great place to practice navigation skills, but in poor visibility it would be exceptionally challenging.

I’d read the story about the MF-509 memorial and wreckage on Carreg Goch, and reckoned that would be a good objective to locate. The memorial cairn was surrounded by many wreaths and crosses, and seeing it and the wreckage in such a remote place was surprisingly moving. It amazes me how aluminium can resist the mountain weather so well for over 65 years.

I headed back to join the path which eventually fords the Afon Twrch, before fading out completely. After a stop for lunch it was a hot but straightforward slog up the hillside to Waun Lefrith where the drama of the escarpment is finally visible, with Lyn y Fan Fach far below.

It’s a brilliant and easy walk from here along the escarpment, with one steep pull as you reach the trig point of Fan Brychieniog, which gives great views over to Pen y Fan and the (other) Black Mountains.  I wanted to continue along as much of the Fan Hir ridge as possible, before dropping down to cross the Afon Haffes back towards the start, but this was mostly off path, and I needed to pick the best spot to cross before the river runs into the deepening gorge of Cwm Haffes. I aimed for some meanders just downstream from a waterfall and headed downhill.

About half-way down I saw a flash of red about 100m in front, and was very surprised when realised I’d stumbled on another memorial cairn with a poppy wreath. No dramatic wreckage here, just a handful of rusted metal and molten aluminium, which is all that’s left of Wellington BJ697.

I’ve finally cracked getting a GPX track from my Motorola Defy into the blog. Here’s the day’s route:

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