We drive up the splendid valley containing said reservoir on many occasions to access what I consider to be the better side of the Brecon Beacons. I’ve had in my head an idea to circumnavigate it by a long walk taking in some of the Brecons eastern summits, returning over the expansive moorland to the south and finishing on the fine little hill of Tor y Foel. We attempted this walk in the winter but were turned back by day that promised sunshine and showers but delivered 3 hours of ceaseless rain.
Today was sunny and blue with a keen wind although a late-ish start had us walking at a brisk pace anyway to keep us warm. We made swift progress up the steep slopes of Twyn Du and onto Carn Pica
It was windy on top and decided on the longer walk around the fine and usually deserted edges of Craig y Fan, Gwalciau ‘r Cwm and Cwar y Gigfran (evocative names up here), rather than the direct route over Waun Rydd. The latter of those edges I’ve never walked before so it was good to tread some new ground. As expected they were deserted and the sense of space up here above the deep and broad valley of Caerfannel is immense
We paused briefly to look down on the famous wreckage of a WWII bomber but as we were above it decided to press on.
We turned south and headed along the edges of Craig Fan Las and Craif y Fan Du, one of my favourite stretches of upland in the UK. Busier here as its close to the main car park for the waterfalls but nothing like the main ridge of the Brecons. Pleasant company rather than crowded.
As the wind was still keen we dropped down to the river and found a stonking spot in the warm sun by Nant Bwrefwr for a long lunch and rest as we hadn’t really stopped since we left the car
Then it was onwards onto more new terrain. The slopes up onto the southern side of the valley don’t look all that inspiring from a distance. Lots of cleared coniferous plantations that are always an ugly scar and wide scarred paths.
Indeed the climb up was hard work and uninspiring, the paths badly scarred by trail bikes. These things are becoming a real threat to upland environments in south Wales and seem to be more numerous. Luckily today we only saw their aftermath rather than hear the irritating buzz and smell of fuel. It saddens me every time I see the damage they do. Some paths, like here are little more than 30 foot wide mudslides and will take years to recover if ever, assuming the National Park authority ever decide to do something about the problem
All that negativity ended as we reached the summit of Pant y Creigiau. I hadn’t known what to expect up here, possibley endless bog and tussocks. In fact it was a fantastic high level stroll across sheep nibbled grass with superb views across to the edges and valleys we’d walked on and above in the morning and to the limestone crags and quarries of Mynydd Llangynidr
All the while the reservoir glistened blue below us beckoning us on as we still had a long way to go. Over Bryiau Gleision the it suddenly narrows to a ridge where the views are exceedingly fetching. We found a perch high above the Dyffryn Crawnon valley for a rest in the sun and out of the wind. We’d had another long stretch and I was starting to feel the strain. I could have sat there for hours.
Time was pressing though and I had drag my sorry frame another few miles. We had the option to shorten the route and head straight down to the dam and miss out Tor y Foel this time. TJS looked crestfallen at this suggestion so he convinced me trudge on. Despite the harshness of the gravelled road that leads to the base of the hill it was a good decision. We made light work of the short climb to the top and it’s always good to finish a day on a summit, especially on a day as good as this. Another one for my small hills book 🙂
From there it was pretty much straight down to the car, brutally steep at the top to start with.
This part of the walk wasn’t on the maps I brought with me so I was guessing my way down. I spied what I thought might be a shortcut down the side of the forest and despite some tenuous brambled sections and some deep mud that covered my boots almost to the top we were down in matter of minutes. Across the dam and back to the car
So glad that what I thought would be a fine walk was even better than expected. I’ve never seen anyone walking on the second section which is surprising as it’s exceptionally fine and highly recommended.
A long walk at 14 miles (TJS longest and probably mine for a few years) but well worth the sunburn and aching knees at the end
Back up to date again. We had grand plans for the half term weekend. We were off to Pembrokeshire in the camper to see the Puffins on Skomer Island and some quality beach time at Marloes. However due to a bout of immense stupidity by me involving a kitchen knife and an avocado, I managed to sever a nerve in my finger, requiring some minor surgery to try to repair it. Considering that the cut was only 1 cm long (albeit deep enough to see the inner workings of my hand) I’m sure you’ll agree the dressing is rather impressive if a little disproportionate. Kind of ruled out a rough camping weekend
No idea what the rest of half term week will hold but we’ll be royally looked after by Mark and his family so hopefully some adventures to report on when I get back.