Carry On Up the Brecons – November 2013   8 comments

More demands from TJS for “proper” walks and another sunny window in this gloomiest and wettest of winters. I let him choose the route today and he wanted to climb the comically named Fan y Big in the Brecon Beacons approaching  from the east along the northern escarpment.

10 Miles

10 Miles

We’ve walked many times on these western reaches as they are much quieter than the main summits but I can only recall doing this particular route once before on a really crap day a couple of winters back. This day was looking much more promising.

Only downside of this walk is it starts with an immediate and punishing steep climb to the edge of Craig y Fan Ddu. One to really to get the lungs and the leg muscles working. Upside is you get the views immediately with no forest or fields to bash through and the waterfalls along the side of the path provide interest.

craig y fan ddu

craig y fan ddu

Caerfanell

Once up on the edge the views are majestic with the huge Caerfanell valley beneath you and a sumptuous level walk right along the edge that allows you take it all in. One of my favourite stretches of mountain walking both in south Wales or in fact anywhere. I can’t recommend the walks around here highly enough.

Caerfanell

The edge continues along Graig Fan Las until it suddenly emerges on the northern escarpment. The views east and south towards the south of Wales and across the Bristol Channel to Somerset and Devon and replaced with views north and west across the Usk and Wye valleys to mid-Wales, Shropshire and the southern mountains of Snowdonia.Brecon Beacons

The high summits of Pen y Fan, Corn Ddu and Cribyn also catch the eye and they were the magnets that pulled us along the next set of edges.

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

The walk to Fan y Big along the edges of Craig Cwareli and Craig Cwmoergwm is equally fine and equally quiet, following the swoops and curves of the edge before arriving quite suddenly on the summit of Fan y Big.

Fan y Big

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

Fan y Big

Not a summit in the true sense as it’s more just the end point of the long edge before the ridge heads north and the drop to the col before the climb to Cribyn. It’s a fine viewpoint and would have mad a great lunch stop had we not been so cold in the wind.

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

We dropped down the path a found a small grassy hollow for our refuelling, TJS taking sustenance from his now regular cup of hot chocolate.

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

We stopped for a good hour such was the warmth out of the wind, playing with my camera and just enjoying the scene.

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

We’d made good time and decided an ascent of Cribyn was also in order on such a grand day. After dropping to the col at Bwlch ar y Fan, the steep climb the long edge of Craig Cwm Cynwyn that curves to the summit is a fine one and the summit perched and prominent is cracker.

Cribyn

Cribyn, Fan y Big

Shame that it’s very well-known and that you normally have to share it with the crowds so after a brief sit down we headed down.

Cribyn, Brecon Beacons

I’d planned to traverse it and return along the path that skirts its southern flanks but it was such a fine day and the views so superb that we just retraced our steps along the edge and back down to the col.

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

Cribyn

Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons

It’s a very long plod down the old roman road along the Neuadd Valley and then the Taff trail and road back to the car. With the sun setting I barely noticed it.

Brecon Beacons

Neuadd Valley

The lightness of being after a great day on the hills is hard to comprehend sometimes. On the previous mention of this route I walked the same way in wet boots with sore feet and heavy heart and I hated every step. This time every step revealed a new vista, a different ray of light on a hillside, silhouettes of trees as the light faded.

Taff Trail

I was disappointed to reach the car but a day to remember and let’s face it they have been few and far between this winter!

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8 responses to “Carry On Up the Brecons – November 2013

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  1. Stunning views! And where are you getting all these sunny days from?

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    • I got a job-lot of sunshine shipped in from November last year. I haven’t seen the sun since mid January (well not at home anyway – been skiing in France since then but that doesn’t count). It’s still hammering down here and my village is disappearing under water again although nothing compared to the poor souls in Somerset

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  2. Yes. Must admit – we haven’t seen any sun for, um, MONTHS??? This post is seriously getting me in the mood for walk season! (am not saying winter is no walk season. Am saying with 3 dogs to cater for life without rain is just…….well, nicer!). Proper hills! For days! None of this *must dash it’s gonna p down again any minute now* larky. I can see the pups having a blast up there 🙂

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    • It’s a never ending saga of rain at the minute. My village is nearly cut off by floods. I’m about to try and venture out in the car and see what happens. Oh for a few days without rain and perhaps just a little sun – PLEASE! 🙂
      I remember the days of walking with a wet dog – the smell of a wet dog especially – and x 3 well! Hope the boys are coming along well

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  3. Great images 🙂 The Brecons are just out of a days drive for me so don’t get to them as much as I’d like

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  4. I do like a comically named hill! The blue skies in the photos make me want to head out and enjoy the current run of blue skies. Alas it’s a stay at home weekend.

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    backpackingbongos

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