Author Topic: Fan Hir to Picws Du (Brecon Beacons without a car Part 1)  (Read 802 times)


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My first post on here, after lurking for some time. Thank you for all the brilliant walk reports and recommendations, they were so helpful!

Second week of Jan 2020 on a cloudy Thursday I caught the T6 from Brecon towards Swansea, getting off at Tafarn-y-Garreg pub stop (~30 min journey). Turned out that bus driver would be the last human being I saw until I reached the pub again at about 3pm.

There’s a clear waymarker to get you onto the Beacons Way straight from the road, which then crosses a weir and skirts around a farm. Met a friendly dog there who wanted to play fetch with a leaf. Just above the farm I forked left, heading up onto Fan Hir. The path up to the ridge was very wet, at times like walking in a stream. From here you’re walking along the edge of the ridge all the way to Bwlch Gledd and (hopefully) your first view of the lake Llyn y Fan Fawr. For me it was a very foggy and rather long slog! But amazing. So atmospheric and surreal walking along the edge of the ridge, every now and then catching glimpses of the steep drop-off. The sun even said hi a few times.

I eventually dropped down into Bwlch Gledd, a dip where you have the option to head further down to Llyn y Fan Fawr. I took a single photo of the lake.

Llyn y Fan Fawr. Honest.

Looking S/SE from Bwlch Gledd, back up Fan Hir.

I considered heading down to get a better view of the lake and ridge but decided to press on, wanting to ensure I reached Picws Du and that incredible view of Llyn y Fan Fach! (spoiler…fog had other ideas)

Fan Brycheiniog looked daunting looming out of the gloom ahead. I necked an energy bar and readied some cold-weather gear for the top, but the ascent wasn’t bad at all and it was beautifully calm on the peak. No need for the shelter by the trig point, though I’m sure on other days it’s a welcome sight.

From here I headed on along the path to Fan Foel and around to Bwlch Blaen-Twrch. This was a lovely little saddle, stream running through it (that you need to ford, though it was an easy job) and incredible views of the stepped faces on each side.

Coming down into Bwlch Blaen-Twrch, Picws Du in the fog ahead.

It was just after noon and I was getting antsy about timings. Would the fog make it feel dark before sunset? I decided to press on and vowed that wherever I was at 1pm, I'd turn around and head back. Turned out I was too cautious, but hey ho - better that way round!

In my eagerness to see Llyn y Fan Fach and Carmarthen Fan, I nearly killed myself hoofing it up Picws Du and arrived a truly sweaty mess. Looking triumphantly out in the direction of Llyn y Fan Fach....I couldn’t see a thing. In fact, I couldn’t see anything at all beyond about 50 feet. Checked the time. Went on a bit further, along Bannau Sir Gauer. Still in a world of fog. Checked time again. Realised I also needed to eat. Sat and shared this stunning vista with a cheese and ham sandwich.

It was 1pm and I couldn’t bring myself to push it any further. No amazing view of the lake for me. Oh well. Next time! I headed back the way I came, dithering about whether to drop down at a bwlch and switch to the lower Beacons Way route but deciding against it. Given how wet the paths had been, I didn’t want to risk getting stuck crossing the fords. 

It was an uneventful but equally atmospheric and enjoyable journey all the way back to the Tafarn-y-Garreg pub. There, a lovely beer and view of some sheep made the wait for the bus very pleasant indeed. Fabulous day!

Top tip: The buses may be early, and they may not hang around until their scheduled time. Even if you are running down the road towards it like a wally.

Beacons without a car: I caught a train from London to Abergavenny (~3.5hrs, 1 change) then a bus to Brecon (~50 mins), stayed at the lovely Flag and Castle House, very reasonable £55/nt for a single room….with small double bed! Breakfast included too. Will post day two's walk - Pen y fan - separately.


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Super atmospheric photos of your trip. Sounds like you had a bit of a journey just to get there. Nice read,!


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Excellent first trip report, Hazelnuts.

Welcome to the forum :)
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain


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Welcome to the forum. Great to see a route you can do by public transport - I'd like to travel to more of my walks that way.


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Nice pics and an enjoyable read, thanks O0

Welcome to the forum!

Tracey :)
***Happiness is only a smile away***


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Great pics and report, I've been to Llyn y Fan Fach but would like to explore the area more.


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Very atmospheric TR much more exciting than a sunny day.
Using public transport is often more possible than people tend to imagine but can be a bit expensive.
So many paths, so little time