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A Brecon Beacons Traverse (E-W)

A Brecon Beacons Traverse (E-W)


Postby Christo1979 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:06 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Bannau Sir Gaer - Picws Du, Cefn yr Ystrad, Craig Cerrig-gleisiad, Cribyn, Fan Brycheiniog, Fan Fawr, Fan Frynych, Fan Gyhirych, Fan Hir, Fan Llia, Fan Nedd, Pen y Fan, Waun Rydd

Date walked: 28/05/2019

Time taken: 22.5

Distance: 72.8 km

Ascent: 3823m

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I was fancying giving myself a real challenge, and it had been some time since I had wild-camped. When a friend revealed they were heading off to South Wales for a couple days, it didn't take me long to decide on grabbing a lift down there and tackling a solo traverse of the Brecon Beacons.

Stage 1: Pontsticill to Talybont


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



I was dropped-off near Pontsticill reservoir late on the Tuesday afternoon. The weather was glorious, and a glance at the mountain forecasts revealed the next two days would get a little windier and wetter, but nothing too drastic (hmmmm). I stomped up the path away from Pontsticill with a spring in my step, and after crossing the sprawling (but dry!) heathery moorland, arrived at my first Hewitt of the walk - Cefn yr Ystrad.

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

From the summit, it was down towards the quarry where clear tracks took me to the footpath that would lead past the beautiful valley of Dyffryn Crawnon, before heading into the woodland and joining the Taff Trail down to Talybont. I arrived near the reservoir in time to catch the tail end of the sun going down, and enjoyed a good night in my trusty little Vango tent.

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr


Stage 2: Talybont to Glyntawe


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



So far, so good. A very early start on Wednesday, and the weather was still looking good, though as soon as I started up the steep path away from Talybont and up onto the Beacons 'proper', the wind got up and the mountain forecasts suddenly seemed to be worse than they were the previous day. I stopped at a windy Carn Pica to enjoy the views, and have to say that once I headed up into the mist from the cairn, the rest of today's epic trek was largely viewless and tough.

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

The walk mainly involved following the Beacons Way, leaving the path here and there to gain the actual summits of mountains along the way. Waun Rydd was first, and with poor visibility I found myself having to navigate back to paths and waymarkers more often than I would have imagined on what is effectively a ridge walk on a good path! It was a shame to have this one terrible day of wind, rain, mist, and no visibility, because I'm told the views are generally fantastic from the ridge path!

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

The steep ascents of Cribyn and Pen y Fan really challenged me, especially in this weather. Having not seen a soul so far, I was surprised to find that Pen y Fan was 'like Piccadilly Circus' and despite the horrific weather, there were people dressed in tracksuits and trainers patiently awaiting their photos at the summit cairn. My turn came eventually.

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Down from Pen y Fan and along the A470 to the Storey Arms Centre, I found myself wishing there was a pub somewhere here. I imagine they'd do well with all the Pen y Fan customers, but in the end I just took a 15 minute break and bought a can of Fanta from the takeaway van. Nectar!

The rain was incessant, but on I plodded up towards Fan Fawr, a very steep climb once I'd left the main Beacons Way. One or two nice views on the way up...

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I put my navigation skills to the test to take me from Fan Fawr across featureless moorland to Pt.555, then eventually rejoined the path to take in the next few summits.

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Eventually the path brought me round to the summit of Fan Llia, where I encountered a group of young lads on their way to the Storey Arms Centre, pointed them in the right direction, and then off I toddled down to the next valley, crossed the road and headed straight up towards Fan Nedd. Not an easy climb, possibly due to the fatigue that was setting in (and STILL no let up in the wind, rain, or mist!). This section of the day was the most trying, because I had strayed substantially from the Beacons Way and there was a lot of cross-country slogging between Fan Nedd and Fan Gyhryich, before eventually joining a disused tramway that took me down towards Glyntawe.

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWalking in The Brecon Beacons by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

I'd almost had enough, but pushed on into the evening, on the Beacons Way again, to take in Fan Hir, Fan Bricheiniog, and Picws Du. I had arranged to be picked-up from Glyntawe the following morning, so decided to turn back after Picws Du and make my way down to find a place to camp. This meant missing two Black Mountain peaks off this walk, and not taking time to enjoy the glacial lakes in this area. Having said that, it was now night time, I couldn't see anything anyway, let alone lakes, and I had been walking for nearly 19 hours without stopping, in horrendous weather, so I decided I was pleased with my efforts.

Wet and tired, I slipped into a wet sleeping bag on wet ground and listened to the rain in what proved to be an uncomfortable night punctuated by short spells of deep, exhausted sleep. The next morning I woke up to glorious sunshine, clear skies, and excellent mountain forecasts, Shame I was going home. I summoned the energy to whizz back up the Beacons Way path and enjoy a view from Pt. 453, before trotting down to Glyntawe and arriving at the same time as my lift home.
Last edited by Christo1979 on Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 144
Munros:7   Corbetts:9
Grahams:14   Donalds:30
Sub 2000:50   Hewitts:75
Wainwrights:65   Islands:22
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: A Brecon Beacons Traverse (E-W)

Postby dav2930 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:01 pm

Fantastic concept to cross the entire length of the Brecon Beacons; I'd love to do the same or similar. What a shame about the weather on the main part of it! :( :clap:
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1302
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:10   Donalds:37
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: A Brecon Beacons Traverse (E-W)

Postby Christo1979 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:29 pm

dav2930 wrote:Fantastic concept to cross the entire length of the Brecon Beacons; I'd love to do the same or similar. What a shame about the weather on the main part of it! :( :clap:


Thanks! I can recommend it. I realised lately that to make headway on completing lists of hills in fhis lifetime, I’m going to have to tackle some long/overnight walks. I’d love to go back to the Beacons in good weather, fingers crossed you’ll get clear conditions when you go, too 😊
User avatar
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 144
Munros:7   Corbetts:9
Grahams:14   Donalds:30
Sub 2000:50   Hewitts:75
Wainwrights:65   Islands:22
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

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