A strange day

Look this is getting out of hand! Posts on 3 consecutive days on my blog? Outrageous!!!

Ok, I had a day to myself. A rare enough event in itself so I decided to go out walking as you do. I had been warned though. I had checked the BBC weather report (vague and unsatisfying), metcheck’s weather report (usually quite good) and metoffice’s mountain specific weather report (usually excellent). All three told me it would be misty up high and generally thoroughly wet in the Brecon Beacons. I decided on a classic tour of the high ridges of the central beacons as a treat and devil may care what the weather would throw at me.

Ok, I drove from my house to Brecon and found that the weather forescast was being pretty accurate. It was throwing it down. I consolled myself with a bimble through Brecon itself. Brecon is a little gem of a place. Decent fish and chip shops, a WHSmiths and now 5 outdoor gear shops. I didnt buy anything but a slight detour into Gregg’s the bakers ensured that I was happily full. By mid morning, there were signs that the weather might break up a bit so I decided to chance it and go for my walk.

I drove up to the Neuadd Reservoir and parked the car by the old water board buildings and set out. Walking along the reservoir itself, I glanced up at the ridgeline opposite and saw that the mist line was hanging around at the 600m mark.

looking up at the mist

looking up at the mist

A squall of rain pushed me onwards although I did tarry around the little “island” at the far end of the reservoir. Normally this surrounded by water but at the moment its walkable from the foreshore. Evidence of people camping abound on the knoll of the island, which is lightly wooded. I do wish people would take their rubbish home with them. Whover has been using it as a campsite has been really careful to build fire pits using stones but then leave a variety of tins, cans and other detritus all over the place.

The Neuadd Reservoir

The Neuadd Reservoir

Pushing on, I find myself heading towards “the gap”. No, nothing to do with the London Underground. This is a gap or access point through the otherwise unbroken wall of mountains. I believe that the Romans used this to march through but I’ll have to check with Kate Gilliver for the truth of it (I dont really know and it may be an urban myth).

From here the climb up to Cribyn is steep and brutal. I have to stop a few times but each time I do I notice that there is evidence of speckled sunshine starting to play across the flanks of the mountains. Maybe the weather is about to be kind. After attaining the top of Cribyn, its time to push on to Pen-y-Fan. The wind picks up and my cap is in danger of flying away. It also has the effect of blowing the mist from the opposite ridge towards me.

High mist on the ridgeline from Pen-y-Fan

High mist on the ridgeline from Pen-y-Fan

However, just as I am about to be engulfed, the sun wins out and breaks up the mist and suddenly we have a rather nice afternoon on our hands. Speckled sunshine with a strong breeze and no rain.

The view from Cribyn in the sunlight

The view from Cribyn looking back towards The Gap

By mid afternoon I attain the top of Pen-y-Fan and have a grand look around. Its about this time that I see other walkers out and about. A family from Ireland are doing a circular walk based around Bryn Teg and Cefn Cwm Llwych. Luckily they are going down the Cefn Cwm Llywch as I find coming up it to be really brutal. After exchanging a few words, I press on and after briefly touching Corn-Du I make my way onto that long return ridgeline that leads back to the reservoir and the car.

The view back to the Neuadd Reservoir

The view back to the Neuadd Reservoir

Here I am in my element. I love ridge walking. Ok, its not for everyone but I love the views and the ability to eat up the miles with long unabated strides. I find my way towards the exit point off the ridge and scramble down a route that is part path, part mountain stream. It makes an interesting descent  but I am soon back at the car.

The weather was much better than any of the three forecasts envisaged so I have had an afternoon of great views and pleasant walking. I dont do the central beacons very often but when I do I am always pleased. So there you have it. A rainy miserable day to begin with but by the afternoon, breezy dappled sunlight and another cracking walk. Bit of a strange day.


About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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4 Responses to A strange day

  1. Martin Rye says:

    Yet to walk there but views like that make me determined to get there and see for myself.

  2. backpackbrewer says:

    Hi Martin.

    Do you mean to say you’ve never done any of the Beacons of just the central bit?

    Funnily enough I chatted with a woman at a camp-site last weekend and she said that she had never heard of the beacons until very recently. I guess with North Wales having so many pointy mountains, perhaps people overlook the Beacons as a “mountain” destination

    Western Beacons for bleak wildness, central Beacons for the highpoints and relative ease of access, eastern Beacons for sublime beauty

    I love them

  3. Martin Rye says:

    None at all. I once drove around there visiting a mate but no walking. I must make amends. The Beacon way is looking like a good walk to go do some time.

  4. backpackbrewer says:


    I would love to do the Beacon’s Way. Its on the list of things to do when I get time………

    Get thee down here soon

    A walk and a wildcamp in the Beacons is truly a great experience

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