Garth Mountain/ Mynydd Y Garth walk
Climbing a misty mountain near Cardiff.
(Photos © urban75, 27th December, 2006)
Just scraping into the official mountain category, Garth Mountain (also called Garth Hill) is a mountain north of Pentyrch village, south Wales.
Visible for miles around, the mountain lies in the Taff Vale and looks down onto the small village of Gwaelod-y-Garth.
At the top of the mountain can be found several tumuli (ancient burial sites), dating back from the early to middle bronze age, around 2000 BC.
The mountain caught the public eye after a book called, "Ffynnon Garw" was made into a popular film called 'The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain' (1995), starring toff heartthrob Hugh Grant.
Set in 1917, the film tells the story of two English cartographers arriving at the fictional Welsh village of Ffynnon Garw who cause local outrage when they reveal that their mountain is in fact only a hill because it just falls short of the required 1,000ft.
Villagers then construct a tall cairn to ensure that the hill is high enough to be classed as a mountain.
The movie has since made Garth mountain a popular walking destination, adding to the regular annual pilgrimages from stoners keen to exploit its plentiful supply of magic mushrooms.
Walkers in the distance enjoy the view over Gwaelod-y-Garth as we prepare for the climb.
Old farm barn near the foot of the mountain.
Looking south towards Caerwen.
A view of Gwaelod-y-Garth (Welsh for Bottom of the Garth!).
Situated in the parish of Pentyrch, South Glamorgan, the village was noted in Elizabethan times for its iron-ore mines, which opened between 1565 and 1625.
Re-opened in the 19th century by the Blackmoor Booker company, the mines finally closed in the early 1990s, despite a local campaign.
Chums Gareth and Andrea walk through the mist at the top of the mountain.
A modern (1940s) earthwork at the top, apparently the unfinished foundations for a radar mast.
A couple and their dog ascend the mound.
Pentrych council had helpfully provided this guide to landmarks visible from the top, although all we could see was mist in every direction.
The addition of a rather ugly triangulation point to this ancient burial mound has led to the Garth being known as 'the mountain with a nipple on the top.'
From the distance, it looks a bit like a mini Glastonbury Tor.
View from the top (that's 1020 feet according to Gareth's flaky GPS unit).
The council put up a sign explaining that the mounds are in fact Bronze Age burial chambers with a reminder that anyone thinking of getting out their shovel for a bit of a DIY archeology could face two years in prison for their troubles.
Heading back down the slippery hill.
A couple take in the misty view. We head down the hill, desperate for a cuppa.
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