So I did it, as suggested in my previous post. The Brecon Four Peaks is ticked off the list, good and proper.
It nearly, I have to say, didn’t happen at all, due to nearly not being able to find the starting place. Having looked at the map the night before, I knew that I had to head through a place called Pant, just north of Merthry Tydfil, and then head north towards the Neuadd reservoir. However, if I hadn’t have known the name of the reservoir, I’d be lost altogether still. Pant is pants!
You would think, that with a place like the Brecon Beacons, that there’d be signposts somewhere wouldn’t you? Well, there aren’t – none at all in fact. I drove around all manner of housing estates in Pant and Merthyr Tydfil (not a pretty place I have to say, sorry :o) and just guessed in the end as to which road might head north.
After miles of twisty single track roads with virtually no passing places, I eventually found a sign at the side of the road saying “Neuadd”, and something else in Welsh, and so I pulled in. Thankfully there were a few other cars in there with people donning walking boots, otherwise I would have just thought I was lost in the woods. Maybe the people of Wales just don’t want people/tourists to find their nice mountain paths? It doesn’t make sense to me at all I’m afraid, so if anyone has any insight into this, I’d love to hear from you.
Anyway, after setting out with fullish daypack (my fairly recently acquired Osprey Talon 33 – which I am really pleased with) and equipped with food and drink aplenty, I followed the good folk of Wales (or wherever they had come from) up towards the hills in the distance. Seeing what I took to be Pen Y Fan in the distance (it wasn’t, but I wasn’t far off, it was Corn Ddu, it’s neighbour), I set off up to the nearest ridge line, a fairly good pull but not too long. It took me up to about 2,000 feet, from where I could walk towards the approaching hills and see all before me.
The day was a very dull one as far as weather was concerned, and around five or six degrees C at the start I’d say. I started with a heavy fleece on in fact, unusual for me, but I soon got warmed up when walking, as I always do.
From the ridge the walk was all very straightforward. The path eventually led right to Corn Ddu and Pen Y Fan, separated by a very short and well trodden path, and both summits were a simple short climb to rocky flat tops.
The two summits both duly done in short order, I thought I would get some ascent and descent in by heading down to the ‘motorway’ path. This is the path down from Pen Y Fan to the Story Arms Outdoor Centre, the path most frequently used up the mountain. This took about 45 minutes down and precisely 56 minutes back up again.
From Pen Y Fan I went down and up to both Cribyn, and Fan Y Big. Whilst neither are as high as Pen Y Fan, both have steep ascents, if not overly long, but both make you pause to ‘admire the view’ whilst you are on your way up!
At the top of Fan Y Big, perched out onto a ledge with what appears to be a 1,000 foot drop immediately below it, is the so called ‘diving board’ (pictured above). No-one will know whether I was brave enough to stand on top of it or not, except for me 🙂
With my limbs and faculties all happily in one piece, I then headed back down the other side of the valley back towards the reservoir and my car.
It was a really good walk, and I’d love to go back there again. I covered about 15 miles altogether, and did about 4,400 feet of ascent. Details are here:
And so finally, this weekend, I’m off to Wales again! This time it is for the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge. We will do Pen Y Fan early on the Saturday (like 4.30am early), and then drive to mid Wales to do Cadair Idris (which is about a six hour romp). We will then drive to Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain, which we will do at about 7am the next morning. Altogether it is just shy of 3,000m of ascent (9,900 feet) and about 21 miles. I’m taking 12 work colleagues with me in a minibus, so it should be a great adventure, and hopefully a lot of fun. We are also raising money for a cause close to my heart (Prostate Cancer), and so if you are able to, please sponsor us at the link below. Many thanks!
Nice post! It reminded me of a very similar trip I did two years ago – though I didn’t know it was called the Brecon Four Peaks. Back then we camped on Cribyn, which was really nice. I also completely missed the diving board on Fan Y Big. Despite the fact that I’ve been there twice now.
Good luck with the Welsh Three Peaks!
Hi Marketa, and thanks so much! It would be very bad news to completely miss the diving board on Fan Y Big if you were trying to actually stand upon it, but otherwise it is actually quite missable until you are right upon it 🙂
And I love your blog – I look forward to following your adventures more. Munich is such a fabulous place to explore the Alps from. I need to get back out there more often 🙂
Best wishes and happy adventures,
Hehe, fortunately enough I didn’t go anywhere close to the diving board 🙂 thanks for the compliments! I’ve got a few trips planned for the summer. There will be more alpine posts on the marmot post soon. I’ll keep my eyes pealed for your reports from Wales. m.