The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

4 Marilyns West of Caerphilly

Monday 23 March

Mynydd y Glyn


Mick described our route up this hill as being like a salute: we took the long way up and the short way down. Having found somewhere suitable to park a 6m van in the residential streets of Cymmer (arriving after the local residents had left for work would have made it easier), off we set up well-trodden paths, knowing that at some point we would have to leave those paths to reach the summit.

It turned out that the well-trodden paths didn’t follow the lines of the rights of way, and further turned out that a barbed-wire fence didn’t feature any crossing places, even where the rights of way lay, all of which led to a very circuitous ascent, variously over grass and slag heaps. Here I am standing at the top, from which snap you may notice that the views were somewhat curtailed, even though the cloud was well above the summit:


Our descent was a much simpler affair, as we headed straight for Cymmer, handily finding a stile exactly in the right place over the only fence we needed to cross.

(2.8 miles; 900’)

Cefn Eglwysilan


It’s possible to drive to within about 200m of the top of this hill, but it involves a tiny lane with no obvious parking, so we opted to leave Colin in Trallwn on the east edge of Pontypridd and we walked up the road instead.

The final ascent from the road must be a bit of a ‘mare of bracken in summer, but at this time of year we could see trods through the remains of last year’s growth, which led us steeply to the top. It was still heavily overcast, with the views being lost in the murk:


(3 miles; 900’)

Craig yr Allt


This was the outing upon which a cyclist mistook me for a horse! It’s not an everyday event, and probably not one to which I would have confessed, had I been in the cyclists shoes.

That was within minutes of leaving Colin, as we made our way steeply down* a path which is still shown on the OS maps as being a lane, but which has been sealed off at each end for long enough that nature has reclaimed most of its former width. (*If I’d paid any attention to the contour lines I may have chosen a parking spot which didn’t involve heading steeply downhill before we started on our objective!)

As for the hill itself, its shape was far more pleasing than the previous two, and judging by the well-trodden paths to and along its ridge, it is popular place to visit. Its shape also suggested it must be a fine viewpoint on a clear day. It wasn’t a bad viewpoint even on this day:


The final pull back up to Colin wasn’t as bad as it had seemed in descent and no-one mistook me for a horse on the way back...

(3 miles; 700’)

Garth Hill


This hill will be remembered as the one where I attempted to navigate Colin, on a really tiny lane, around a bend that (due to the combination of steepness and angle of bend) was physically beyond him. A retreat was made (that was quite a manoeuvre!) and we decided that rather than trying the lane from the other direction, we would simply extend the walk by taking the lane on foot. 


The offending bend

A number of public footpaths in this area appear to be missing (no signage from the road; no evidence of them on the ground), but we did finally find one which took us off the road and towards our objective. We could have continued following that path, giving us a nice gentle route, but when we saw a trodden line up the side of the hill we took it. Steep enough to touch the ground in front of you with an outstretched arm, we certainly gained height quickly … and I also quickly decreed that we were going back down the long way. Surely nobody’s knees would forgive them for descending that way!


A broad, grassy ridge awaited us once we had huffed and puffed our way up, together with a substantial layer of mizzling low cloud. For a day when it was meant to rain all day, we couldn’t reasonably complain about finally having to don waterproofs half a mile before our final summit. Of course, I did complain as the weather was now robbing us of even limited views.


There are a number of ancient burial mounds along this ridge. This trig lies on top of one of them.

A different set of paths saw us off the hill, before we trod the tiny lane again in the other direction, where I tested Mick to see if he could describe all 8 of the hills we had visited over the last 2 days. He confirmed what I thought: when visiting this number of hills in a short space of time it’s really difficult to remember them all without jogging the memory by looking at a map!

(3.2 miles; 1000’; Total for day: 12 miles; 3500’)


  1. Replies
    1. Angle of vision, poor light and dodgy sunglasses ... or I had a really long face on me at the time!

  2. It must be the stooped gait and the Pacerpoles that make you look like a horse. An easy mistake. Reading this posting first in my 'catch-up' had me puzzled for a while as I thought you were doing the WCP. Duh, I should have started from the bottom of the page. I'm pleased to see that Mick got to see the rugby. Where next? That's the question!

    1. Check out the photos again - no Pacerpoles (or any type of poles, for that matter) were used in the course of this trip, so the cyclist couldn't use that as an excuse.

      The next trip ... that is a good question ... to which I can't currently give a certain answer. Watch this space.

  3. your admirable determination to ascend (climb seems altogether too inadequate a word) all these remarkable hills is clear: however, your final paragraph does seem to convey a burgeoning recognition that there is the danger of a slight case of the 'if it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium syndrome' brewing up (no offence to Belgium, a plucky nation unlucky in its choice of history, but very good indeed at brewing)
    but I am enjoying the vicarious thrills of your tempting the wrath of Celtic gods, to say nothing of trangressed farmers - you make a good walk come to life. Ta!