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Ask for a favourite Welsh road and many will cite the A4069 Black Mountain Pass, made famous by Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear – and as a result usually rammed with day-tripping adrenalin junkies, which rules it out
And besides, this stretch of the B4560 from Llangynidr to Beaufort, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, will always bring back memories of some of my best days in this job.
Not least the photoshoot we organised nearly a decade ago to mark the 30th anniversary of C&SC, with a set of nine cars that represented the cream of the crop in 1982.
Like the A4069 it’s better in the autumn or the spring, when the scenery looks even more dramatic and the roads are quieter than in the height of summer.
That day epitomised the Welsh weather – raining as we crossed the Severn Bridge, then sunshine to snow and back again during our shoot – yet the breathtaking scenery, wonderful roads and the likes of the Alpine A310 (above) more than made up for it.
It’s a relatively short stretch, but it crams in hairpins, switchbacks, camber changes, humps and hills, along with a few short straights, to make it the perfect test route, or ideal for a blast in a favourite car.
There are some pretty fantastic single-track spurs coming off it, too – although you need to be cautious of roaming sheep, unforgiving rocks and oncoming farmers if you’re going to start spearing off on them.
And the scenic Llangynidr car park makes the perfect viewpoint/meeting place/photo opportunity at the end of the day, with a gently pinking exhaust and a setting sun. And probably some rain.
Image: Tony Baker
- Where to stay The Bear Hotel: meeting point for generations of motoring hacks
- Where to eat Askew’s Family Bakery (01873 810345): Welsh cakes over the road from The Bear
- What to see Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway: hop 10 miles south for steam trains
- Hidden gem Crickhowell Bridge: it’s en route and, at 128m, the longest stone bridge in Wales
- Pitstop The Shell garage on the way out of town, where A40 meets A4077, sells V-Power
All information correct at date of original publication