Back in February in lockdown I decided to stick some pins in a map of places I wanted to walk and visit, when we all could again. A few in the south west (Brown Willy in Cornwall already in the bag), some in south Wales, Snowdonia, Peak District and a few aspirational ones in Scotland. Well opening up started and I looked at how I could best fulfil some of these, having said to myself that, this virus is with us whether you like it or not, and its time to get on with things. South Wales looked doable in a one night stay and with some fine advice from Andy at Surfnslide I decided on the best way to tackle what is named the Pen y Fan horseshoe. Unfortunately Andy couldn’t join me on what turned out to be a stunning Friday morning in early July. The sun shone strongly and I was sweating by 9am! I had plans to potentially extend this walk on to Fan y Big and Waun Rydd, but I’ll save those to give me an excuse to come back, instead I chose to beat the M5 south bound Bristol traffic which is horrific every Friday afternoon. I just about managed it and was home by 5.30pm.
The walk itself is a cracker and the Rhiw yr Ysgyfarnog ridge is a brilliant way up a mountain, everywhere I looked there were glacially valleys and ridges spreading out like a octopuses tentacles. It was a brilliant place and justified the decision to come here. The faces of Cribyn and Pen y Fan plunge down into the valleys and walking the edges is far more impressive than seeing the photos, the only slight down was the number of horseflies, which took a keen interest in me, as they always do. Arms, legs and my head (just under what would have been the rim of my cap), were pickled with bites the next day, even with cream on. Still it didn’t spoil the walk at all and this one is likely to go on my list of favourite walks of the year. Pen y Fan ticked off. Next is the Lakes at the end of July
Start – Tal Fechan Forest car park (SO036170)
Route – Neuadd Reservoirs – Graig Fan Ddu – Rhiw yr Ysgyfarnog ridge – Craig Gwaun Taf – Bwlch Duwynt – Corn Du – Pen y Fan – Cribyn – Tor Glas – Tal Fechan Forest
Distance – 8.5 miles Start time – 8.30am Time taken – 5hrs Highest Point – Pen y Fan 886 metres
Weather – Very warm, sunny, clouded over a bit on the return, lots of horseflies!