Archive for the ‘Carn Pica’ Tag

Around the Caerfanell Valley   12 comments

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One of my favourites. High edges, streams, waterfalls , a blue sky and breakfast outdoors. A perfect combination.

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The weather forecast was for a reasonable day with some sunshine. We hadn’t expected a clear blue sky morning. It was glorious

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Although the large waterfall at the start of the walk was in shadow

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The Caerfanell valley is a beauty and on a clear morning in spring the combination of blue sky, green trees and a bubbling stream is enchanting

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Even after a dry spell the path is a muddy one but with views like this, hardly a chore

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Small waterfalls cascade line the route and as I always do here I went a bit crazy with the camera. Not a bad excuse though

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We were out early – for us anyway – so the whole place was deserted

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The reason for such keen-ness? Another outdoor breakfast. Life is pretty good under a warm sun, eating a bacon and egg sandwich with a fresh cuppa

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Alas such a good day deserved a high level walk so there was some hard work to be done

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The walk directly up the slopes at the back of the photo below is one of the steepest I know but it does deliver you to a high and little frequented edge that is a real joy

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TJS was again my muse for the day

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These edges are a feature everywhere in the South Wales mountains but these are almost always deserted and have extensive and expansive views. On a clear day like this its hard to imagine a better walk

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As you reach Carn Pica (sadly with its impressive cairn now collapsed) the view open out to the high peaks of the Brecon Beacons. Corn Du and Pen y Fan always stand proud

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With the weather being so stunning we extended the walk by carrying on towards Fan y Big. After almost 3 hours walk/breakfasting from the car it was only here that we started to see people

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These edges are equally fine with equally expansive and extensive views to the north. In fact due to the peculiar geography you can make an almost a 360 circuit of the high ground along edges

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We cut back across the plateau to the southern edges again following the Beacons Way. I’ve never walked that part before and expected a bash through heather and bog but in fact it was well-marked and actually quite delightful with some new vistas

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All that walking deserved another stop for second lunch and another brew, this time perched high up on the edges

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From there it was pretty much straight down past another succession of pretty waterfalls.

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We could have stayed out longer but the forecast mentioned heavy showers that in the end never materialised. Still it was a fine walk and we’d enjoyed the best part of the day having gone out early. I’m liking the outdoor breakfasts, well worth the effort to carry the larger stove and fuel around

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Caerfanell

No idea how long the walk was as I forgot to turn off the mapping apps so it added on the 40 mile drive home. I’m guessing around 9 miles of magnificent entertainment.

A Proper Day’s Walk   16 comments

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Seems like a long time ago that I wrote a post about a proper walk in the hills. A some distant point back in September me, TJS and TBF took a long walk around the Eastern edges of the Brecon Beacons. A route I did a couple of years back with TJS. You can read about that post here which has a reminder at the end of the post at just what a clumsy bugger I am and that I should never be allowed to use sharp objects.

The forecast was bland but dry and we set off under bright but grey skies

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It’s a pretty steep climb in a couple of places that had us puffing hard. We walked a lot of miles on our city tour but it doesn’t keep you in shape for a proper mountain walk

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At the top of Carn Pica we were in the cloud, a most unsatisfactory turn of events. As we crossed the plateau of Waun Rydd (on a spanking new path) the skies began to clear again. The walk along the edges up here are some of the finest in the UK, elevated with expansive and spacious views

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We stopped for lunch and a cuppa and the weather steadily improved

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When we set off again there was plentiful blue sky and it was turning into a very splendid autumn afternoon

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The route is a round of the valley containing the Talybont Reservoir. The southern leg is across a wild and track-less moor that seems to see no people. I’d noticed how wet and muddy everything was on this walk. It’s normally dry at this time of year so either we’ve had a wet year all round or it must have rained ceaselessly while we were away on our travels. This section of the walk was especially soggy

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More than compensated for by the marvellous views

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Its and wonderful high level stroll/squelch across these hills although I’d forgotten just how far it was

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It was late afternoon already and the car was at the far end of the reservoir in the photo below

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We’d left the other Funster behind at home and were anxious not be home too late. More stops to admire the views were in order but we had to press on and enjoy them on the fly

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The peak at the end of the ridge (on the right in the photo below) is Tor y Foel. Me and TJS climbed it last time we were up here but we were too late in the day this time. You can drive halfway up and it’s another one for my much touted but never to be written book about small hills

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Instead we cut down through very dark and wet forests, very Mordor-like in their spookiness

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When we emerged at the dam by the end of the reservoir it was a glorious evening, all blue sky and reflective water

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A grand day out and a challenging long one for unfit hikers at over 12 miles.

Talybont

One of those routes that seems obvious on the map and on the ground but seems to see no walkers or mentions in any of my guide books

A round of the Talybont Reservoir   2 comments

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.

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

We paused briefly to look down on the famous wreckage of a WWII bomber but as we were above it decided to press on.

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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.

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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.

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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.

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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 🙂

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

From there it was pretty much straight down to the car, brutally steep at the top to start with.

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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

Talybont reservoir, Craig y Fan, Gwalciau 'r Cwm, Cwar y Gigfran, Caerfannel, Twyn Du, Carn Pica, Craig Fan Las, Craif y Fan Du, Brecon Beacons, Nant Bwrefwr, Pant y Creigiau, Mynydd Llangynidr, Bryiau Gleision, Tor y Foel

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

Talybont

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

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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.

Breakfast on the Caerfanell Circuit   8 comments

Some brief words on a little stroll we had in June. I’ve done this walk a couple of times, clockwise a couple of summer’s ago, anticlockwise last autumn. You can look at maps and lots of my wittering stream of written consciousness if you follow the links to the previous visits. You can see from those posts and the photos below that this is a little cracker of a walk.

Nant Bwrefwr

Waterfalls on the Nant Bwrefwr

Nant Bwrefwr

“Oh what a beautiful morning”

This was another clockwise journey with TJS and TBF. We took advantage of TJF staying at a friends for an early start. As a special treat I cooked me and TJS a bacon sandwich halfway up the hill by the stream. It was a lovely spot and great start to the day

Nant Bwrefwr

Nant Bwrefwr

Still time for a lesson learned though. Even with the little pot stand the heat given off by a Jetboil stove is ferocious. Enough to warp a Trangia frying pan, burn off its non-stick coating and melt the end of my daughter’s pink spork – she was not amused. Worth it for a cooked breakfast under a clear blue sky 🙂

Nant Bwrefwr

Breakfast by the Nant Bwrefwr

We had to get back for a Scouts event for D so it was a brisk walk from there. It was a perfect day for walking, clear skies, abundant sunshine and a brisk wind to keep us cool

Craig-y-Fan Ddu

TBF on Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Caerfanell, Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Caerfanell valley & Craig-y-Fan Ddu

The walk along the long edge above the Caerfanell Valley was simply superb

Caerfanell, Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Caerfanell valley & Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Pen y Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn

Pen y Fan, Corn Du & Cribyn

The views across to the high summits of the Brecons and north to the perfect northern u-shaped valleys was as good as I can remember

Waun Rydd

North from Waun Rydd

Pen y Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn, Waun Rydd

Happy Walkers

Even the boggy bits were dry 🙂

Pen y Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn, Waun Rydd

Pen y Fan, Corn Du and Cribyn from Waun Rydd

Allt Llwyd, Sugar Loaf, Talybont Reservoir

Allt Llwyd, Sugar Loaf and Talybont Reservoir

As the route switches from the edges on both sides of the ridge so the views and aspect changes to great effect. The sense of height and space from these edges is something to behold. I love it up here

Gwalciau’r Cwm, Craig-y-Fan

Edge from Gwalciau’r Cwm to Craig-y-Fan

As ever despite the perfect weather and the fact it was Saturday we saw hardly anyone. Pen y Fan would we mobbed on a day like this

Gwalciau’r Cwm, Waun yr Gorlan

Gwalciau’r Cwm from Waun yr Gorlan

The Caerfanell river and it’s waterfalls were as special as ever. Had we not been in a bit of a hurry I could have sat by the banks for hours.

Caerfanell

Caerfanell Waterfalls

Caerfanell

Delicately poised

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Caerfanell Waterfalls

At the bottom of the falls there were several families playing in the river with some light gorge scrambling. Something to remember when I need some water based fun in the summer. The usual sting in the tail of this walk is the steep climb through the trees back up to the car. It was pretty hot by then and we were all suffering a little from the brisk pace. This waterfall with its carpet of bluebells gave us a fitting finale to the walk

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Bluebells by the waterfalls

Short and sweet but I’m now only 2 weekends behind in my posts. A couple of great backpacking trips to write-up. Shame I’m off to Wales for a week and then France for 3 weeks. Looks like I’ll be writing in the past for a couple of months yet 🙂

Caerfanell circuit – Edges and Waterfalls   14 comments

This is one of my favourite walks in the Brecon Beacons. Slightly away from the main hotspots but with a sense of spaciousness and air from the long walks along the edges. Apart from one very short steep section in the middle (or start depending on which way round you walk it) the route is easy and mostly level and ideal for families looking to introduce the younger ones to more mountainous terrain.

Allt Llwyd, Sugar Loaf

Allt Llwyd, Sugar Loaf beyond

It was just me and D today, TBF having been compelled to take L to the Remembrance service with her Brownie pack at our local church. We’d debated between this route and Pen-y-Fan from the south but as we approached Brecon under clear skies, Pen-y-Fan itself was smothered in cloud so we defaulted to this alternative. I’ve done this walk before last year so knew that D would really enjoy it as would I. The parking area was absolutely crammed with cars perched in every available spot. We returned to the bottom of the road to start the walk there, all it added was a short walk from the lower car park to the waterfalls and avoids having to finish the walk with a steep climb to the original start point. I’ve been lazy again with the route map so just use your imagination to create the extra little bit to the car park just south of the marked route!

6.5 miles, 1,600 feet of ascent

The walk up through the trees dappled with autumn sunshine was a pleasure with the sound of the waterfalls on the Caerfanell River below us.

Caerfanell

Apporoaching Caerfanell Waterfalls

There was a path lower down on the opposite bank that keeps to the riverbank so I’d follow that in future. We reached the bottom of the steep climb to where we should have parked, with more waterfalls visible on the much smaller Nant Bwrefwr through the trees. We decided to take a look at the big waterfall on the Caerfanell before we headed up.

Caerfanell

Caerfanell Waterfalls

Caerfanell

Caerfanell Waterfalls

It’s an impressive one and considering the number of cars about, deserted. We managed to get right up close on very slippery rocks to admire the heavy flow over the edge. I do like a good waterfall, probably due my propensity to climbing them in a wetsuit! As we returned it became obvious that doing the original route in reverse was a much better plan.

Caerfanell

Below Caerfanell waterfalls

It would give a much different flavour than when I’d walked it the other direction with the added bonus of being in the sun as we walked up the Caerfanell valley. With the low sun we would have been completely in the shade later in the day. Had we found a space in the car park at the top this would not have occurred to me. Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

The walk up the valley was splendid with autumnal colours and waterfalls every step of the way.

Caerfanell

Caerfanell Valley

Caerfanell

Caerfanell Valley

As is the way of things this year, every step was wet and muddy but I’d gone with lightweight boots rather than trail shoes for a change. As the valley opens out there is a short climb up on to the open grassland of Waun y Gorlan with all the edges to be traversed later in the day towering above us, beautifully lit by the low sun.

Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Gwalciau’r Cwm, Waun yr Gorlan

Gwalciau’r Cwm from Waun yr Gorlan

Facing us was the savagely steep climb up the nose of Gwalciau’r Cwm (I’d remembered it’s steepness in descent the last time). D found this grassy climb hard-going and seemed a little off the pace most of the day – a tough week a school he told me. Young people today – no staying power.

Gwalciau’r Cwm

D on the steep climb up Gwalciau’r Cwm

Gwalciau’r Cwm

Taking a breather

It’s a mercifully short climb; only about 500 feet and the views from the top are breathtaking.

Gwalciau’r Cwm

D on Gwalciau’r Cwm summit

From there the route is just a joy. A thin a little used path takes you around a succession of edges with huge open spaces below you as you progress towards Carn Pica.

Gwalciau’r Cwm, Craig-y-Fan

Edge from Gwalciau’r Cwm to Craig-y-Fan

Gwalciau’r Cwm

D looking back to Gwalciau’r Cwm

Halfway along we found a little sheltered spot where the ridge from Allt Llwyd joins and took lunch in the sunshine. The views out south and east were sublime. The sugar loaf held the attention and the Black Mountains looked dark and forbidding, smothered in dark clouds. To the west we could make out Swansea Bay and the distant outline of the Gower with the Mendips, Quantock and Exmoor hills faintly visible on the horizon. North looked less than promising however with dark clouds massing and Pen-y-Fan still brooding in misty clouds.

Allt Llwyd, Sugar Loaf, Talybont Reservoir

Allt Llwyd, Sugar Loaf and Talybont Reservoir

We pressed on along Craig-y-Fan to the massive and well-constructed cairn on Carn Pica.

Craig-y-Fan

Craig-y-Fan

Carn Pica

Carn Pica

We’d now hit the wind and it was too cold to linger so we continued snaking around the boggier bits on thin paths and a detour to the un-named summit above Waun Rydd.

Waun Rydd, Black Mountains

Waun Rydd looking to the Black Mountains

Waun Rydd

D on Waun Rydd

The weather had changed and it was now grey and overcast as we turned and headed along the edge of Graig Fan Las. It’s one of the highlights but with the dark clouds it took on a more threatening air and the sunny skies of earlier had gone.

Caerfanell, Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Caerfanell valley & Craig-y-Fan Ddu

It’s still a terrific section with airy drops into the Caerfanell valley below. We met numerous people on our way up all asking directions to the cairn that marks the spot of an air crash from years earlier on the opposite side of the valley. Perhaps some of the crowds were to pay respects as this was Remembrance Sunday.

Caerfanell

Upper reaches of the Caerfanell valley

Craig-y-Fan Ddu

Craig-y-Fan Ddu

We carried on, progressing easily and quickly along Craig-Fan Ddu and the steep descent to the waterfalls on the Nant Bwrefwr. As we approached the car park the sun came out again and the skies began to clear giving us a warming glow before we plunged into the forest.

Nant Bwrefwr

Setting sun over Nant Bwrefwr

Craig-y-Fan Ddu, Nant Bwrefwr

Craig-y-Fan Ddu & Nant Bwrefwr

All that remained was a steep descent, slipping and sliding over numerous fallen trees with glimpses of yet more waterfalls before arriving back at the car, satisfied with a fie walk. Waterfalls and Edges is a pretty good combination

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