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near Pont Sticill, Wales (United Kingdom)
Merthyr Common and Pen March (County high points)
This was a jaunt to get the county high points of Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly. Quite simply we parked at the dam head of Pontsticill reservoir (2 cars max) and walked across the dam and turned south on the road until we picked up the signposted footpath (on the left) that goes literally straight up through some fields until you come out on the mountainside.
You follow this well marked path NE as per the gpx track until it widens into a path wide enough for 4x4/s (unfortunately). After about 3kms you head east over a couple of fences and around a large quarry. You then follow a footpath directly to the trig pointed summit of Cefn Yr Ystrad (Nuttall). Then head directly south over roughish ground for another 3kms to Pen March.
There is nothing to mark the top of Pen March (535m) so use your map or gps but then you head due west several hundred meters for a small pond (marked on the 1:25 map). The pond is visible but rather dry/reed filled and Merthyr Common (531m) is on the other side of it again unmarked.
From here head due west still over grassy mountain terrain. You go through some craggy features and start to drop down towards Pontsticill reservoir past a quarry until you hit a fence. You turn right at the fence to go north and round a small quarry. You will then go through a gate and head down through a field to rejoin your original path at a point where it goes under the Brecon Mountain Railway track. Simply follow this path back to the start.
At the start of the walk and on a clear day today you can have great views over towards the Beacons but the views towards Merthyr Tydfil are not so grand. All in all it was a good weather day though, a reasonable hike all told with 12.5kms done in 3hrs 30mins with 435m of height gain.