Friday On My Mind   6 comments

While I’ve been enjoying the life of Riley and not working I’ve been grabbing every opportunity to hike the mountains and enjoy our newly restored freedoms. As TBF no longer works on Friday’s we had plans to use those days to good effect. A glorious forecast a couple of Friday’s back gave us our first chance to test the plan with a trip into the Brecon Beacons.

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The classic round from the South seemed in order and we were away early as its busy and popular even on a sunny weekday.

All going to plan until we arrived to find the local forestry operations had decided to close not one, not two but ALL THREE of the car parks in the area. No warning on the approach roads, just at the car park entrances. In addition they deemed it necessary to close most of the forestry roads AND the Taff Trail. The only work going on was in the top car park which I guess was fair enough to close that one but there was no reason to close the others.

We got lucky and managed to grab the last space where the Taff Trail leaves the road but even then we warned not to walk it. We decided to hell with all that and just walked in anyway (there were no obstructions, danger or machinery in operation and nothing more than what we all walk past hundreds of times).

All dressed up in “Health and Safety” terms but the truth is they were just too lazy to have managed plan in place and only close off those areas they were actually working in, much easier to close everything just in case. This was a Friday and with another sunny day forecast for the Saturday I dread to think of the chaos if they didn’t open the car parks the next day. Cue cars parked on verges, in passing places and lots of traffic problems. Again, much like my thoughts from the previous day, how is this allowed to happen. These car parks have been effectively closed and off limits due to COVID for several months yet they wait until the rules are relaxed and the weather improves before they close off one of the busiest and most popular areas of the National Park. Sigh!

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Anyway, nothing better than a stunning walk under blue skies to calm frayed and angry nerves.

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This time we decided on the route the opposite way round to normal and headed up the thin paths up to Fan y Big, views opening up as we climbed.

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Much like the day before it was warm in the sun but there was an increasingly strong NE breeze blowing that made choosing stops a very selective process.

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It was a little hazier than the day before with more in the way of cirrus clouds but still stunning.

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The classic view of Cribyn, Pen y Fan and Corn Du from Fan y Big

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TBF posing on the overhanging rock on Fan y Big.

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Cribyn from “The Gap”

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Cribyn Summit Ridge.

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TBF admires the views from the summit.

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Lunch time was proving a challenge as the wind seemed to search us out wherever we sat.

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There is a very prominent level grass shelf halfway down Cribyn towards Pen y Fan where I’ve often thought about a wild camp. I’m told its well known and referred to as “Dai’s Terrace”. Just under the cliffs of Cribyn we managed to find a sheltered spot although not a spot to drop anything!

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I’m not normally in this part of the route until later in the day but this time we were early enough such that the NE face of Pen y Fan was lit up by the sun.

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Looking back to Cribyn, the terrace where we had lunch clearly visible about 2/3 the way up.

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The climb up Pen y Fan is long and steep. I always brighten it by following the extreme edge away from the main path that gives superb views over the face.

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Looking back over our route so far.

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The long ridge from the car park to the north.

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As it was Friday both Pen y Fan and Corn Du were relatively quiet. Had this been a weekend its not uncommon to see over a hundred people on the summit and a constant stream of people heading up from the Storey Arms.

Corn Du from Pen y Fan.

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And the reverse fixture.

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Looking down to Llyn Cwm LLwch, a popular wild swim with a mermaid legend to boot. I’ve not walked that route for many a year.

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Looking back to the twin crowing summits of the Beacons.

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As soon as you head down the long edge above the Neuadd Reservoirs (or what’s left of them), you lose the crowds.

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It’s a stunning walk but the wind had become ferocious by now and I was struggling to find any shelter for afternoon tea.

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I figured the steep path that runs straight down to the valley bottom would afford some shelter from the forest.

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An so it proved. We could hear the wind roaring through the trees but a ground level it was calm and very warm in the sun.

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I mentioned the reservoirs before. There used to be two but both have been empty of water for many years. The smaller lower one has now been completely drained and the dam removed. This is all that remains. The dam is still in place for the upper one but I have no idea if they will remove that or whether it will ever be re-filled.

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All that was left was to repeat our highly dangerous and risky walk back past the very small piles of logs next to a 20m wide open track to end a day that started with annoyed frustration but delivered a superb day out in some long missed mountains.

6 responses to “Friday On My Mind

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  1. I can fully understand your frustration. It appears that many others also parked and walked in this stunning area.

    Like

    • As it was a Friday, most people are long time walkers who know not to block roads with inconsiderate parking and know alternative routes etc. Over the weekend if the situation had been the same it would have been chaotic. Still, after my anger had died down we still managed a superb day

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In the woods above Thirlmere, United Utilities closed several footpaths< I think as a result of fallen trees after Storm Desmond. They were still closed long after, presumbaly something to do liability. I chose to take my chances only to end up hiding in the trees like a naughty child whilst a group of blokes drove around the forest tracks erecting security fencing across the points where the paths left the tracks. Needless to say, I wasn't mugged by any fallen trees and, miraculoulsy, lived to tell the tale!

    Liked by 1 person

    beatingthebounds
    • So frustrating that they are allowed to do this without seemingly anyone policing what they are up to, all hidden behind the forcefield of “Health and Safety”. Clearly both organisations feel that walkers are irksome invaders and no doubt jump at the chance to make things difficult.
      On a positive side, we still had a great day and I felt very triumphant as I walked past the “closed” areas. The image I now have in my head of you hiding in the bushes like some kind of mad stalker has given me a lift! 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That east/north easterly wind seems to have been around for months, always a bit cold and brisk for comfort. Great walk this one though but you seem to be getting into a habit of finding places that are now closed!!

    Liked by 1 person

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