Author Topic: Pen y Fan loop via Cwm Gwdi (Brecon Beacons without a car Part 2)  (Read 1584 times)

Hazelnuts

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A banging weather forecast had me geared up for a big day, setting out straight from Brecon to tackle Pen y Fan from the north.


The walk to Cwm Gwdi car park wasnít particularly scenic but still rather lovely in the morning light, following a stream to steadily ascend along country lanes. There are a few routes from there up onto Cefn Cwm Llywch, but I got the impression it didnít really matter which, as long as you aim for the highest bit. Approaching Pen y Fan from this side certainly is a quieter route. There were just two cars in the car park and I didnít see another soul until I got to the very top.



Looking back down towards Cwm Gwdi car park, Brecon town in the distance.


I was in just a t-shirt for the sweaty walk up to Cefn Cwm Llywch, but that soon changed once on the exposed ridge. Wrapped up warm and cocooned in cloud, with a strong, bitterly cold wind coming in from the west, it was an amazing and atmospheric walk along the ridge. A thick blanket of cloud over the peaks meant I couldnít see Pen y Fan itself.


Part way up my belly began complaining, so I elegantly stuffed some flapjack through the small gap in my coat and carried on.



A very blustery Cefn Cwm Llywch.


Eventually Pen y Fan loomed out of the mist and suddenly I was at the top, with other people. There was no view to speak of and only a handful of fellow hikers, though a steady stream seemed to be coming up the Storey Arms route Ė as I gather is the norm.



Pen y Fan





I hung a left and followed Craig Cwm Sere down and up to Cribyn, by which point the cloud had lifted and the sun appeared. Incredible views all around! I happily sat watching two dogs (who had just met) play energetically just metres from the sheer drop.



Amazing views from Cribyn, looking back at Pen y Fan...


...and onwards to Fan y Big (great, great name)


Down and up again to Fan y Big (hur), with more amazing views and sunshine poking through. Sitting there, eating a sandwich and enjoying the sunshine, I decided to extend the route Iíd planned. Rather than head back along Cefn Cyff, why not carry on round the next ridge and go back via Rhiw Bwlch y Ddwyallt? A quick calculation suggested itíd be tight, but that Iíd definitely be back in relative civilisation by sunset.


It was a great choice. Craig Cwarelli in particular was such a lovely trail, beautiful views back to Pen y Fan et al on the left and Peak District-esque underfoot. I was skipping along in beautiful afternoon sunlight singing to myself like a loon.



L-R: Pen y Fan, Cribyn and Fan y Big


Craig Cwarelli


Once around the ridge and heading down towards civilisation, the path became pretty boggy and unclear in places. So unclear after Pen y Bryn in fact that I managed to end up on the wrong fork, leading down towards Pencelli. Ultimately this added on a mile or two to the route back to Brecon. But happily, Pencelli was a lovely little place, with a bridge over the canal and some moored canal boats. 


After a frustrating half hour in the fading light, scuppered by an overgrown path and an electric fence across a right-of-way ( :knuppel2: ), I got onto the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal path. Some lovely reflections in the water at that time of day. I followed the canal all the way back to Brecon and arrived at 5pm, just as the light was at its last. Another amazing day, a beast for me at just under 19 miles.



Who says Wales has lots of sheep?


The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal






Everyone I met in Wales was so friendly and the scenery was superb. Iíll definitely be back!
« Last Edit: 20:11:29, 12/01/20 by Hazelnuts »

vghikers

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An excellent round and photos  O0. The northern approaches are much quieter and have a grand view of the escarpments. The atmospheric Pen y Fan photo is grim but great!.

sussamb

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That's my favourite approach to Pen y Fan, I love the way you crest and there it is. Lovely pics, thanks for posting  O0
Where there's a will ...

GinAndPlatonic

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Super photos and lovely desciptions to boot. O0 Now I just know I must walk up from the North side next time.

gary m

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Great photos
you have 1 life live it

Lee R

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Great story & photos :)

richardh1905

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Another excellent report, Hazelnuts - keep them coming!

I particularly like the view back towards Pen-y-Fan from Cribyn, and the view back down the ridge of the 3 hills. I lived in Snowdonia for 17 years, but never really got to grips with the Brecon Beacons. Squirmed around in a cave for several hours near Crickhowell, and crossed the western flank of the range on a long distance walk, but that's it.
« Last Edit: 17:48:02, 14/01/20 by richardh1905 »

Bigfoot_Mike

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Excellent report. I did traverse the Brecon Beacons when I was on a scout camp in South Wales, but that was more than 40 years ago. I donít recall seeing anybody else on the route, other than a border collie that followed us the whole way. We also did some crawling around in caves near Crickhowell, which might have been the same caves mentioned by Richard.

clyoung

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Great, atmospheric photos. I've done parts of that walk at various times but the whole thing in one go looks quite an epic!

sunnydale

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Excellent pics & report  O0


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

Vincent82

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Great pictures!  No snow at all this year?  I went last year and it was very snowy.


I'll be walking from Nant Ddu this year. Does anyone know if there are trails from Nant Ddu? Google map shows the road...

sussamb

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If you mean directly from off the A470 then no tracks there as far as I know.
Where there's a will ...

GinAndPlatonic

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Great pictures!  No snow at all this year?  I went last year and it was very snowy.


I'll be walking from Nant Ddu this year. Does anyone know if there are trails from Nant Ddu? Google map shows the road...
There are not really trails. There is a vehicle track, across the road from the water works,which is about half a mile long going roughly North East  following the Nant Ddu Stream. To get up to Pen Y Fan you can follow it for a mile or so and then walk North wards till you get to a ridge (Graig Fan Ddu), It is tricky ground to walk over and the semi plateau before scrambling up to the ridge is very peaty and sodden in many places, making it hard going. Then it is a further 2 mile N/W to Pen Y Fan itself.

A much more interesting route up is to follow Nant Crew (stream) from the A470.  There are some lovely small waterfalls. Again no trails as such so you have to use a bit of common sense on the way up,
« Last Edit: 21:52:33, 10/02/20 by GinAndPlatonic »

Vincent82

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Ok, thank you both.