I've been to the Brecon Beacons several times but only to the East side of the park. Terrible I know! So when I mentioned to Grant I was interested in seeing the West side we quickly arranged some weekends and routes to get over and hike, camp and general photography.
There is quite the debate about which side is the best side. This is my first time in the West but it's winning, only because of weather and we were certainly spoiled on this weekend.
All my other trips to the East side of the park or Pen y Fan previously have been wet or very grey so yes it is a little unfair of me to say the West is best but rest assured I will visit the East side again soon enough.
Our weekend started on Pen y Fan on the Friday after a quick (3 hour drive) after work.
I know Pen y Fan is a popular tourist attraction and expected it to be busy but didn't expect to see 50 odd people on the summit with music, BBQs and generally having a party but who could blame them.
The car park is only 45minutes to an hours walk at the bottom of the mountain so it's very accessible and with weather like this you can see for miles. I mean MILES you could see right down to the coast and up to the Cambrian Mountains to the North which are some 50+ miles away.
Saturday morning I started with a quick 4:30am wonder around Pen y Fan and Corn du to catch the cotton grass and cloud inversion from the top. After a few hours I then headed off down to find Grant so we could go grab breakfast before our stupid long hike in the heat.
We started at Herbert’s Quarry on Foel Fawr/Moel Gornach and made our way across a 11 mile route covering Foel Fraith, Twin Swdn / Garreg Las, having a quick nap on Waun Lefrith above Llyn y Fan Fach and on to Picws Du, Fan Foel and Fan Brycheinoig to finish off at Llyn y Fan Fawr. We started at 10am and didn't arrive until 5pm that night.
We could probably completed this 10 miles a lot sooner but between a coffee break, ideal gossip and chats with passing walkers plus a 30-40minute nap above Llyn y Fan Fach.
The two things that kept us going in this heat was a cold can of coke and a wild swim/paddle in the lake. NEIther disappointed.
Later that evening we wondered around to Fan Foel to view Picws Du and the surrounding landscape during the sunset. We were very lucky with how clear it was and you could see down to Swansea coast and right up to the Cambrian Mountains to the North.
Over the weekend I had my Fitbit with me and this is what we racked up in stats:
Total steps = 71202
Total floors = 612 with biggest climb up to 802m from climbing Fan Brycheiniog
Total miles = 33.62
with an average of 4 hours 50 minutes sleep