Most folk when they get to Gliffaes make a dash for the famous Brecon Beacons and try and climb Pen y Fan, although a great hill walk you will find better scenery and far fewer people in the Black Mountains, right on our doorstep. Last Sunday I met up with my friend Rob Lewis, an ex Marine, who lives deep in the Black Mountains up the Grwyne Fechan valley, to ride our bikes up and over Macnamara’s road.
Legend has it that a man called John Macnamara won an estate and large house in mid wales, in a high stakes card game towards the end of the 18th century. He and his wife moved down from London and he also brought his mistress who he installed in a house called, ‘The Hermitage’ near the top of the Grwyne Fechan valley. To enable him to get to her a little quicker he had a carriage road built over the mountain, cutting out two sides of a triangle. The path is still in good shape and is at a pleasant walking gradient and a not quite so pleasant cycling gradient!
From the path the views down the Grwyne Fechan valley towards the Sugar Loaf are really quite spectacular. There are a number of walks and cycle rides that will allow you to take in Macnamara’s Road and we will be only to happy to plot them on your map for you once you get to Gliffaes. The start points are around 15 minutes drive from the hotel if walking.