Brecon Beacons

Last week I spent a couple of days in the Brecon Beacons. It’s the first time I’ve been there. I took my camper van and based myself at Pencelli, which has an excellent campsite. The facilities were first class and I had a pleasant hard standing pitch with electric hookup.

I had intended to do a two-day backpacking trip with an overnight stop at Llyn Cwm Llwch but the weather on the first day was dire, with high winds and heavy rain, so I spent a lazy day in the camper van.

The next day, the weather was much improved, so I did a day walk, shortening my intended two-day plan slightly, shown below.

Distance: 27.9km, ascent: 1,255m

click to enlarge

From the campsite, I took the minor road to Llanfrynach.

On the outskirts of Llanfrynach, I took a footpath along the Nant Menasgin. This was unexpectedly beautiful, as hopefully the pictures below show.

For future reference, there were a number of decent spots for wild camping, well away from view. The next section was across some fields, with well signposted paths but inaccurately marked on the OS map. Then it was along some back roads.

The only incident of note was that the road passed through one farm-yard where there were four muzzled dogs (three collies and a small Doberman) which circled around me barking furiously and tried to “bounce” me. Fortunately, I’m used to dogs so I just walked on quickly ignoring them and they lost interest as I got beyond the farm buildings. Considering the road is part of the Three Rivers Ride bridleway used by horses and cyclists, I was surprised that the farmer had allowed loose dogs on the road.

Just after the road turned north, I left it to follow a footpath over fields to Plas-y-gaer. I then turned south-west following a sunken lane to below Allt Ddu, where I decided to stop for an early lunch, sheltered by some convenient gorse bushes.  After lunch I climbed on a good path on the western side of Allt Ddu and then on to Cefyn Cwm Llwch, the ridge that leads up to Pen-y-Fan.

Once on the ridge, I was exposed to a strong wind, so I swapped my windproof for my Paramo Velez smock. The clouds were clipping the top of Pen-y-Fan, making it look brooding and forbidding. However, the track up is very straightforward and presented no difficulties.

Unfortunately the low cloud base meant no views from the summit of Pen-y-Fan.  However, on the descent, I was below the clouds and was able to take some decent photos of Cribyn and surrounds.

From Cribyn, I could look back to Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du, which were now clear of clouds.

After Cribyn, I walked along Craig Cwm Cynwyn to the col before Fan y Big.  There were horses grazing on the path up to Fan y Big, so I decided that I didn’t want to disturb them and I took a short cut around to Craig Cwareli.

The views back to Pen-y-Fan were excellent with the sun and shadows, but difficult to capture in photos because of the strong wind. I wished I’d taken a tripod!

Once I’d descended to Gist Wen, I was a bit more sheltered. On the way down I encountered another group of ponies, some with foals. I gave them a wide berth to avoid disturbing them.

After crossing some fields, I was back on to a lane and then down to Pencelli. All in all, it was a very good introduction to the Brecon Beacons.

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9 thoughts on “Brecon Beacons”

  1. Some gorgeous pictures, Robin.
    🙂
    I’ve only been to the beacons a couple of times. The first, when I was thirteen with my brother David (eleven) and our Scout Leader and Deputy Leader, with three or four other kids. It was mid-winter, with snow down to very low levels. Blacks of Greenock orange cotton anorak, no cagoule. We were heading up Corn Du. It was bloody freezing. We turned back not far from the top when nearly all the boys were hypothermic, We sorted that out with soup made on a paraffin Primus stove as soon as we had some shelter.

    The last time was back in 1973 with my mates Bob Butler, Wilkinsod and Alvin as we were training for our trip to Corsica. It was incredibly hot and we ran out of water halfway round.

    My abiding memory of both trips is the amazing view looking north into the middle of Wales.

    1. Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn are impressive. There’s some decent places to wild camp, but routes are quite limited. I’ll go back again and do some more exploring. The valleys are very picturesque too.

      1. Showell Styles had a book of overnight routes including the Brecons and he found a water supply up there. Mind you, he found a water supply just under the peak of Snowden, as well 🙂

  2. Not been since 1982! I ought to rectify that.

    At least the farm dogs were muzzled. I wouldn’t have wanted to take Moss past a pack of unmuzzled farm collies.

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