Brecon Beacons part 1

Forum » Walk Reports » South & Mid Wales

By SheepFarmer on 03/10/20 at 1:29pm (last edited 23/12/20 at 7:50am)

Hills walked:
Fan Nedd (Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP, Clem, Sim, and Tump)
Yr Allt (Dewey, Sim, and Tump)
Fan Bwlch Chwyth (sub Sim)
Fan Gyhirych (Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP, Clem, Sim, and Tump)
Fan Fraith (Nuttall)
Carreg Cadno (Dodd, Dewey, and Tump)
Date started:10/09/2020
Distance:29.1 km or 18.1 miles
Ascent:913m or 2995ft
Descent:908m or 2979ft
Start OSGB:SN923196
Time taken:9:08

I had been wanting to go to the Brecon Beacons & do Pen Y Fan for a while, but reports of it being busier than ever after the lifting of covid lockdown & continuing so, clashed with my desire for quietness which won, so I looked elsewhere & decided upon the chuck S of Sennybridge between the A470 & A4067 with the thought that with the powerful magnet of Pen Y Fan so close it would be quieter and so it turned out, with me only seeing about 12 people all day & a couple of those were at a distance. Having plotted multiple routes and each time coming up with over 8hr Naismith times which I felt was too long, I looked upon the little road that splits the block as a natural divide & split things and added to form parts 1 & 2 with this report being part 1 with 2 later when I’ve composed it. The problem of taking time out from work to walk, is that the work is still there when you get back so it’s taking me time to compose these reports especially as I’ve been going off walking a few times.

Conditions were dry, clear enough for good views & cool enough even with bits of sun for me as someone who pushes on at a quick pace & soon has the multiple layers back in rucksack. Despite getting there early there was already one car present when I arrived, leaving just one other spot nearby, these being the bunch just above what's called the Devils Elbow on maps which is a couple of hairpin bends on the minor road that goes up & over, giving quite a high start to the walk although my route took me not only up but down lower than my start.

GPS track


On the climb about ¼ way up to my 1st top of Fan Nedd looking roughly NNE out along the valley I’d driven up

Not the summit of Fan Nedd but the stone cairn on the N end of it’s ridge & looking E over Fan Fraith & the escarpment of Fan Gyhirch to the NE escarpment of the The Black Mountain that I’d been on a few years back & have since been on again.

Having walked S past the summit trig pillar of Fan Nedd to the end of the ridge, a zoomed shot of the Mumbles sticking out into the sea which was about 25miles away.

Taken in the saddle between Fan Nedd & Yr Allt looking out along the valley with the NW edge of the chunk I described in my intro on it’s right & Pen Y Fan & Corn Du just creeping in top right.

Having started my ascent of Yr Allt looking at the full bulk of Fan Nedd

Around the summit which is most insignificant & hard to find without help, looking at the escarpment of Fan Gyhirch.

After continuing out to the summit of Fan Bwlch Chwyth & back as there was no other way to fit it into my route, I hit the new forestry road that forms an ugly scar through the landscape visible on the left in pics above & below, I popped up onto a little rise for a bit of lunch.

Looking ENE to Pen Y Fan & Corn Du

Looking back along the edge of the escarpment I’d just come along from Fan Bwlch Chwyth & Yr Allt, also with in front of Pen Y Fan on the skyline is Fan Frynych sticking out left over Yr Allt.

From the same place as the last pic the East face of the escarpment of Fan Gyhirych & Cray Reservoir.

The trig pillar that most people will take as the summit (it’s 50m off) of Fan Gyhirych emblazoned with Cofiwch Dryweryn which means Remember Tryweryn, a phrase that has spread as a sort of graffiti from it’s original location in Llanrhystud. Tryweryn was a valley flooded by Liverpool city council against Welsh wishes to create the Llyn Celyn Reservoir.

Having summited Fan Gyhirych I then went across to Fran Fraith which involved crossing the wettest part of this walk then heading back the same way to the forestry road to avoid the forming stream valley walked on some then headed off on minor path to follow more the ridge line onto an unnamed slight height where the pic below came.

Looking NW to the escarpment of The Black Mountain.

Having moved on down into what was a limestone area I cut off path from the forestry track that I I’d left then regained, heading up slope & crossing the Beacons Way path & on up the rocky Carreg Cadno to it’s summit which was one of a few rock towers.

The limestone pavement area around Carreg Cadnos summit a change from the red soils at the start.

From the summit it was more off path walking to hit the well trodden Beacons Way path that later merged with forestry road.

Walk the Plank -it was on this stretch that someone had repurposed one of the marker post to a useful crossing.

The unknown ruins of a building possibly station or similar as there were odd sleeper & railway line nearby & the path looked like the bed of one or old tramway.

Taken where the Beacons Way path meets & turns into a forestry road again the view of the W flank of Fan Nedd

Following the track to the Southern most point of my walk, the track then becomes the route of the old Sarn Helen Roman road which I followed for 3 miles, 1st I dropped down to the Nedd Fechan.

The crossing of the Nedd Fechan the picture shows the old way fording the stream, the new is the bridge I took the pic from.

Looking back down what I’d just walked up from the stream crossing – hard going

In the midst of what’s marked as forestry on a map before hitting the modern road the Southern part had been felled giving a view E for now.

Having hit the modern road & approaching the end of the forestry on my left the view over the sheepfold & Afon Llia to the long ridge of Fan Llia that I went on the next week in part 2.

A natural stone weir on the Afon Llia

Continuing on the modern road after the Roman one forked off more E of N rather than the W of N of the modern one, the ancient - a few thousand years older than when the Romans came here, Maen Llia standing stone which is about 12ft high and it is said, once a year on mid summers eve the stone walks down to the river below to drink, or its shadow does.

Back where I began 9 & a bit hours earlier, the view of the Eastern flank of Fan Nedd with the pimple of the fancy false top cairn.

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