We needed to have a bit more fun on Saturday, so we climbed out of Crickhowell and headed towards the village of Llanbedr to start our ascent towards Pen y Gadair Fawr.
The route I had planned would take us up, out of Llanbedr, towards Crug Mawr, along the ridge to Waun Fach then sweep back around along the ridgeline to Pen Allt Mawr, Pen Cerrig Calch, and eventually drop back into Crickhowell via Crug Hywel.
Our initial ascent was slow going, and Martin voiced his concerns about the length of the route. I had reassured him that it was about 15 miles, thinking it was more 20, but looking at the ridge curling around us I was beginning to think my estimation was way out.
After an initial steep section the ground levelled off and the views distracted us from any discomfort in our legs and we began our run / walk routine, gradually ascending towards the highest point of our run.
As we approached Pen Y Gadair Fawr we could see a line of runners climbing up over the mound then hurtling at break neck speed down the other side into the valley below. Once up on top we chatted with a few of the runners as they passed us and found out that they were taking part in the Black Mountains Fell Race, a 17 mile route that had started in Llanbedr. We sat and watched them for a while offering support and cheering them on.
The Garmin recorded that we had already clocked 9.3 miles at this point, and the route I had planned looked deceptively long, so we decided to turn around and return back along the way we had come.
It was down hill all the way from here and we enjoyed the sense of freedom as we effortlessly splashed our way through the mud back down towards the village. We rejoined the Fell runners as their route met with ours on the final leg of the race. We crossed the finish line as we enetered Llanbedr village, feeling a bit embarrassed, hoping noone would clap for us - of course they didn't. We stood out from the athletes like a sore thumb!
This was a great run and one I will make part of my regular routine. I don't use the Black Mountains enough, but this is going to change. Crickhowell is an excellent base for walking running and biking, and the place where Martin discovered his inner mountain goat! I think he might be hooked!
19 miles logged on the Garmin; Moving time around 4:20; Elevation gain 2700 ft