Archive for the ‘Gwalciau’r Cwm’ Tag

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

Caerfanell

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

Caerfanell

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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