The cottage is fairly basic but has heating (a log fire & storage heaters in the three bedrooms) and hot water plus a working kitchen. Nothing flash but everything works and there are no cream carpets which is a bonus as it turned out to be a damp weekend.
After an afternoon walk on Saturday Dan (a good friend, and club member) came to join us for dinner, beers and a game of poker. It rained pretty heavily Saturday night so we knew we were in for a wet ride but thankfully it was dry and clear on Sunday morning
A massive breakfast got us fuelled up and ready to go. Our group for the day totaled four (two BucksMTB club members, myself and my partner) started off from the cottage and started heading downhill to a sneaky shortcut where we joined onto the route we were following. A short road climb took us over to a loose rocky bridleway that climbed steadily for 10mins to a wooded single-track section that had recently been trimmed. 2 punctures and a few fig rolls later we were on our way again traversing alongside the hillside on a flowing bridleway. We had a short road section to make up the miles and get us over to the first real climb of the day – an absolute monster of a climb and thankfully it was on the tarmac for ½ the way – the second half was steep, loose, rocky and of course wet – nobody managed to ride this clean but the view from the top was just stunning! The wind had died down, the sun started to come out and the next section was a descent!
The following descent was long, narrow, wet and rocky and it was a blast! The rocks we were hitting were moving underneath our wheels making the trail pretty unpredictable and the added wet roots kept everybody on their toes. Adam was unfortunately forced to stop when he had mud in not one but both of his eyes! With that cleaned out we carried on and made our way along the road for a mile and into Mynydd Du Forest itself. A long over (1km) and rocky climb took us out to the top of an escarpment with some stunning views and a lunch break. The trail took us down a super-fast bridleway to the bottom of the hill. We noticed once we’d got to the bottom that we no longer had the trail directions!!! They’d fallen out of a pocket so I volunteered to head back up the hill to find it. It was2.4km up the hill but it did mean I got one more descent than anybody else that day! I hit 60kmphon the way back down and everybody else got another good rest…..
So far we were making good progress and were keen to finish the trail, it looped around the forest on the other side of the valley we’d just come down & the next climb took us even higher than the previous one with a brutally steep section that only half of the group managed to get up – it wasn’t technical in itself just really bloody steep! I sat perched on the nose of the saddle with my chest about an inch from my handlebars just so I could keep the front wheel down! We were almost at the top of Crug Mawr now and only had to navigate to the tombstones and cross the ridge before our 2km descent!!!! The final descent was epic (despite the rather annoying headwind), we started by snaking in and out of the narrow gullies cut into the peat at the top of the hill, smashing through stinking deep puddles and hopping off the natural rollers that dotted the hillside. We rode onwards to a steeper section of hillside and followed the trail round some really wet, off-camber and loose corners cut into the hillside and into a final wooded section with some great rocky lines!
Back to the cottage for a brew before the group left for home. Now I had the following day off work (yippee!) so I stayed in Pengilfach for another night and made the30min drive south to Cwmcarn trail centre for another ride!!!
The map for this route is available from the Brecon Beacons tourist office as well as this online shop. There are a number of fantastic natural routes to suit mountain bikers of all levels of fitness and skill and I’d really recommend a trip to the area to ride of you ever get the chance!
Mike, BucksMTB Club Secretary