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The valleys of the Grwyne Fawr and Grwyne Fechan were probably ice-free during the last ice age.
The Black Mountains may be roughly defined as those hills contained within a triangle defined by the towns of Abergavenny in the southeast, Hay-on-Wye in the north and the village of Llangors in the west.
Cadair, mutated to 'gadair' and anglicised as 'gader', means 'seat' or 'chair' in Welsh.
The highest mountain in the group is Waun Fach whose heavily eroded peat summit plateau attains a height of 811 metres (2,661 ft).
Above this are the sandstone-dominated Senni Beds which form the upper reaches of much of the range.
Higher again are the Brownstones which form the summit areas of the central and southern parts of the range.
Non-local rock fragments within the glacial till show that Wye valley ice penetrated the Rhiangoll valley from the north, moving over the low col at Pengenffordd.
No such evidence has been found in the Vale of Ewyas though the profile of this valley strongly suggests the presence of a major glacier.Outlying summits, all of which are classed as Marilyns, include the Sugar Loaf (Welsh: Pen-y-Fal), Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse. The six rivers rise in the plateau towards your wrist.The lower and separate hills of Allt yr Esgair, Myarth, Bryn Arw and Ysgyryd Fawr (also known as 'The Skirrid', Skyrrid or 'Holy Mountain') are scattered along the southern fringe of the Black Mountains. The first river, now called Mynwy, flows at the outside edge of your thumb.The Old Red Sandstone extends back into the late Silurian period and forward into the earliest part of the Carboniferous period.The body of rock, or facies, is dominated by alluvial sediments and conglomerates at its base, and progresses to a combination of dunes, lakes and river sediments.Other significant summits towards the northern edge of the range include the 703 metres (2,306 ft) peak of Black Mountain with its northern outpost of Hay Bluff (Welsh: Penybegwn), 677 metres (2,221 ft), Rhos Dirion, 713 metres (2,339 ft) and Lord Hereford's Knob or Twmpa, 690 metres (2,264 ft).