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Home arrow Meet Reports arrow Brecon Beacons National Park 23-25 August 2008

Brecon Beacons National Park 23-25 August 2008

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Contributed by Ian Powditch   

We had parked our cars some way from the ridge, Craig Fan Ddu, and regretted the very muddy walk for the start of our day on the hills. The weather was overcast and remained so for the morning; brighter spells were forecast for the afternoon, with rain due at 4pm!

The hard pull up to the ridge was rewarded with panoramic views, intermittently obscured by low cloud.

Having completed the ridge it was time for lunch; we found a small rocky area out of the wind where we could sit, eat and rest for a while.

Our first top of the day would be Corn Du (873m); as we approached the junction of six paths through the mist, we could see a few people, they had taken the short cut from the nearby A470 car park.   Suddenly, the mist cleared and there were sixty or seventy walkers all heading up hill-- we joined them for the misty summit views.
After a short stop on Corn Du, we set off to Pen y Fan (886m); we reached the summit and joined at least eighty other walkers.

While waiting for the mist to clear, we noticed a dozen people standing in a circle, they were gesticulating with their arms in unison, and each held a sheet of paper.  The wind died down and we could hear the faint drone of ‘ohmmmmmmm’ across the flat top of the summit; we left them to their peaceful meditation, and moved on to Cribyn (795m).

There were noticeably fewer walkers on this summit. The view from here to Fan y Big is across a steep sided valley; the sides of which have amazing rock formations that protrude from the grassy banks. When we finally reached Fan y Big (719m), there was just one other group of four people on the top. We agreed it was now time for refreshments; so we strode off down the path to find a suitable sheltered place for afternoon tea.

Our circular trip was completed by further ridge walking, finally dropping down to the valley and our two cars, located south of the Upper Neuadd Reservoir.

Incidentally, the Met office was wrong by 30 minutes, heavy rain started at 4.30pm.

Paul Mandel now takes up the Baton:

On Sunday there was  a lot of getting ready activity outside my tent as I lay in my sleeping bag trying to come to terms with an irritable bowel, but prepared to make a hasty trip to the toilet block, if needs be.

In view of my physical condition I declined the offer of an 18 mile walk over the Black Mountains with the rest of the group and spent most of the morning pottering around the campsite and being entertained by the eccentric owner.  At about midday I made my excuses and went for a gentle walk up the lower Vale of Wwyas and eventually up onto the ridge between that  and Olchhon Valley enabling me to return to the campsite at Pandy by the Offa’s Dyke Path.

On Monday John had the excellent idea of walking from the campsite over to the small but perfectly formed Ysgyryd Fawr and all those of us who were unencumbered by other engagements at home that day, joined him.

Ysgyryd Fawr or Holy Mountain as an isolated Old Sandstone hill, the most easterly of the Black Mountains and just 486 m high

But, its distinctive shape comprising a long north–south ridge, with a jagged western side resulting from ice age landslips , makes for an impressive landmark, despite its modest proportions.

According to legend, part of the mountain is said to have been broken off at the moment of the crucifixion of Jesus and Pilgrimages were made, especially on Michaelmas Eve, to the summit. The ruins of an iron–age hill fort and a mediæval Roman Catholic church, dedicated to St. Michael, lie nearby

The summit and ridge offered glorious panoramic views whilst the wooded path below by which we returned was a marked contrast. A short circuit of the hill takes les than 2 hours, but as we had walked from the campsite  rather than driving to the base of the hill, it worked out as a good half day walk.


There are pictures of this meet in the gallery. Please check it out.

Pictures by Jon Clarke

Pictures by Ian Powditch

Pictures by Don

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