|Ardenne & Eifel Aventures|
B&B and Tours
Beautiful Ardennes, Belgium
This is what I wrote about the A4069 15 years ago when I first rode it: Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Black Mountain run, the road the deities created specifically so they had somewhere to thrash their ethereal chariots on sunny days. If you want to find the Black Mountain run on a map, take a look at South Wales and trace the A40 east from Carmarthen. Equidistant between Llandeilo and Llandovery, and just to the south of the A40, you'll find the village of Llangadog, where starts the awesome A4069. One look at the map should tell you all you need to know, but I'll just add that when you take into account the oscillations of the road and the huge changes in altitude as you snake your way over the Black Mountain and down into Brynamman, the experience lasts for some 25 miles, and for a good 15 mile stretch in the middle I didn't have the bike vertical for as long as ten seconds even once. In fact, on the top 5 mile section, you can reduce that to three seconds. As you snake your way out of Llangadog, the road starts by lulling you for half a mile, before suddenly BANG, over on your ear and the rollercoaster begins with you fighting your way up a River valley, through trees, swinging this way and that, climbing inexorably and working throttle, box, brakes and concentration hard, while the odd corner tightens or a narrow humpback bridge over the river intercedes in between opposing ear-slider-optional corners. There's miles of this stuff which the Road Atlas isn't of sufficient scale to spot, and it's exhilarating beyond measure; your speed is limited by what you can see most of the time, and the scenery looks pretty unforgiving. More than a couple of times I was left feeling very glad that I had restrained my natural exuberance in favour of sensible caution. And then you emerge from the trees just in time to cross a cattle grid.... whereupon all hell breaks loose. You wouldn't want to ride this road in the wet, or in the dark; without the faintest shadow of a doubt you'd die. Here is bare mountainside, and a road that struggles to climb it. The limiting factor is not visibility, it is bottle and skill. Concentrating the mind wonderfully, as the road lurches sickeningly away to the left from beneath your front wheel, then slams back upwards and to the right, is the fact that the run-off on one side is lumps of jagged rock that would shatter bone and rend flesh, and yet go the other way and both you and your machine will cartwheel to fragmented oblivion down a thousand feet of rock and boulder-strewn welsh mountainside. Corners follow corners, every one a near death experience since without fail it will either tighten up, change elevation or alter camber; often it will do all three simultaneously. Additionally, if you come to a crest, even if you can see the road a few yards ahead, you can safely assume that it dives off into some fold of the mountainside in the gap and delivers you a vicious hairpin. As you attack the Black Mountain, the suspension loads and unloads hard while you crank first one way and then the other, eyeballs out on stalks and heart pounding, pushing as hard as you dare, pegs decking momentarily as the dips coincide with apexes, and then suddenly you are at the viewing point on the summit. Time for a fag break and a few Zen breathing exercises, and also to let tortured brakes and smoking tyres cool down. There are others up here, pausing for breath as they ride the Black Mountain, and I chat to them as I puff; the road claims a few bikers a year, and indeed an incautious Fireblade owner put himself in hospital and his bike in the Total Loss register only last week. I imagine it would be easy to do...Â¹ Back in the saddle, it's time to ride down the other side. There's more of the same here, but with the added excitement of a downhill straight bit ending in a hard 90-degree right hander about half way down; overshooting this corner will gain you air-miles, with a halo and wings shortly afterwards. And then you've hit the bottom, and the last section is a nice blast through some lovely, sensible fast sweepers... and then it's finished. For today... If life is looking drab, and colours are looking pastel, then go ride the Black Mountain. Everything seems more vibrant after my sojourn up there today.
an amzing stretch of road with lots of twisty fun and great views. Watch out for the wondering sheep on the roads though :)
Did this section of road (in both directions) last week with a bunch of mates. Personally I was blown away. Yes, there are sheep, yes the drop-offs / granite walls if you get it wrong, yes the tarmac is a little ropey in places.
Despite that, the view from the top (coming from Brynamman) is spectacular and the road starts-off with a lot of nice open corners and some very tight ones to boot. Once down the side of the mountain, the remaining section to Llangadog is twisty and interesting enough to be good fun. A bit too twisty for the ZX9R to make full use of its power, definately a better road for a sports 600cc but to be honest I would gladly ride it again on a moped and have a smile from ear to ear.
The only downside I can see is Police presence. We arrived in Brynamman at around 5pm just in time to see several Police motorbikes and cars travelling in the opposite direction. I think that this is a popular road with speeders so the Police will no doubt be camped out there a lot. That said, coming back we saw all manner of sports bikes and even Sporty cars (Evos with roll-cages) blasting down the road in the opposite direction. Think they will be locals who know at what time the Police head off home.
In summary, ride within your limits and enjoy!
This is a brilliant road, but be warned it has a sting in it's tail! Once across the cattle grid and on to the mountain proper, what little run off there is is rocky and would hurt a lot to land on. You can also gain air miles riding over the edge in places, or pile into solid granite in others. The road is unpredictable, in that just because you can see tarmac in the distance past the crest you are approaching, you cannot assume that there isn't a sequence of 120 degree bends following contours of the mountain in the intervening dead ground. It would be easy to sail off the side of the mountain as the road turns hard right while you don't, if you don't concentrate. But the biggest hazard on the road full stop has to be woolly and prone to wandering onto the apex of corners. Welsh mountain sheep.
It's my favourite road in Wales but it deserves respect.
As the first review stated, this road is BRILLIANT on a sports 600. I rode it today [on my ZX6-R] and loved it. Stick in it in 2nd [and a little bit of 3rd] and rev its head off!
Well sighted corners across and some lovely techincal corners.
Road this in reverse today - amazing views over the black monutains accros the beacons. Few nasty corners tha catch you out if your trying a bit too hard but great fun non the less. Stop at the viewpoint for some great scenery and photo ops!
The A4069 runs from Brynamman to Llangadoc in South West Wales near Ammanford. It darts across open terrain and crosses more of a large hill than a mountain. It's fairly demanding in places and there is fun to be found. It's narrow and fairly twisty. It wasn't really flowing enough for my lardy Sports Tourer, but would be fun on a sports 600 or better still a Super Motard. From Llangadoc head for the Llyn Brianne reservoir or Builth Wells and beyond. The choice is endless. See above a few photos for your enjoyment.