Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Brecon Beacons (East)

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 30  July 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Brecon Youth Hostel
Start Point - Upper Blaen-y-glyn car park (SO 05635 17590)
Start Time - 10:44
Finish Point - Upper Blaen-y-glyn car park (SO 05635 17590)
Finish Time - 18:30
Duration - 7hrs 46mins
Average pace - 1.60mph
Distance Walked - 12.39miles
Height Ascended - 1029.84metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (190W - 444E&W)
Fan y Big (6W - 259E,W&S)
Bwlch y Ddwyallt [Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion] (7W - 260E,W&S)
Waun Rydd (8W - 261E,W&S)
Allt Lwyd (9W - 262E,W&S)
Hewitts (138W - 317E&W))
Fan y Big (4W - 183E,W&S)
Waun Rydd (5W - 184E,W&S)
Marilyns (158W - 1550E,W&S)
Waun Rydd (5W - 66E,W&S)
Deweys (241W - 427EW&S)
Allt Forgan (6W - 51E,W&S)HuMPs (364W - 2977EW&S)
Waun Rydd (5W - 110E,W&S)
W: Wales. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Other walks on this trip
02nd Fan Nedd, Fan Fraith & Fan Gyhirych
01st The Black Mountains (South)
30th The Brecon Beacons (East)
29th The Black Mountains (North)
28th Mynydd Troed & Mynydd Llangorse

Walk Summary
A tougher walk than I had intended in the trip plan, by the inclusion of Fan-y-Big in the route.
Good decision though as it means I will be able to approach Pen y Fan from Brecon via Crybin and subsequently Corn Du and Y Gyrn via  a circular route, rather than the tourist route from Storey Arms without having a there and back excursion up Fan y Big.
Paths from Fan y Big to Bwlch y Ddwyallt, Waun Rydd and Allt Lwyd all straight forward and easy to follow/navigate. 
After arriving at the final hill of the walk; Allt Forgan, which is “ONLY” a Dewey, albeit feeling tired I was congratulating myself on completing a longer walk after the long walk the previous day.
However the steep descent without footpaths through 5ft high fern was really difficult leaving me spent and exhausted by the time I reached the road near Pont Blaen-y-Glyn. I never found the footpath marked on the map, in fact on the ground I think it was a broken wall. 
There is no doubt I would not have taken this route if I had been ascending Allt Forgan. 
Hands up who think Dewey’s are an easier option. They are not - because they are walked less than Nuttalls I suspect access and similarly exit routes are less well defined.
Reoccurance of the aching shin on descent from Allt Forgan so definitely having a rest day tomorrow to allow some recovery time.  
  • Do not think Deweys are an easy option compared to Nuttalls. At height of between 500m and 609.57m (nearly 2000ft) they deserve and demand every bit as much respect as any Nuttall. Furthermore because they are visited less often access route and exit routes are less well well established and often more difficult
  • Summer walking has it's own unique problems/challenges. In particular prolific undergrowth such as fern is tall and thick often obscures established paths making navigation difficult and progress if wander off route tough on legs and ankles.
Walk Description
 1.) Leave car park through entrance you just drove through over cattle grid passing waterfalls on your right.
Waterfalls at entrance to Upper Blaen y Glyn car park
 2.) Turn right along road following Taf Trail.
 3.) Stay on road (and Taf Trail) until next cattle grid at Taf Fechan.
 4.) Stay on Taf Trail by turning right off road along way-marked Taf Trail.
Turn off road at entrance to Taf Fechan following Taf Trail
 5.) Stay on well established path to 423 spoyt height wher Taf Trail turns sharply back and downhill.
 6.) Go through the gate continue straight on following sign to Bwlch Ar Y Fan by taking the right hand fork
Take the right hand fork.
Unlucky if you planned to bring the car.
 7.) Follow this well defined track and cross gully of Nant y Gloesydd.
 8.) Stay on track and very soon you will see the col between Fan y Big and Crybin. This is Bwlch ar y Fan
 9.) Turn right at Bwlch ar y Fan and ascend Fan y Big on what is now the Beacons Way.
Straight forward climb up Fan y Big from Bwlch Ar Y Fan
10.) Leave Fan y Big to the south, staying on Beacons Way to Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion [Craig Cwareli] an deleted Nuttall missing out on prominence by a mere 0.8m.
11.) Leave the Beacons Way and stay on well defined path around Craig Cwareli for approx 1½ miles to Bwlch y Ddwyallt [Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion].
12.)  Continue from Bwlch y Ddwyallt [Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion] satying on path but take care not to go too far along Rhiw Bwlch y Ddwyallt.
13.) The path to the right to Waun Rydd is not too obvious so I used the gully to my left that drains down to Cwm Cwareli as a marker to turn right towards Waun Rydd.
14.) I did come across something resembling a path that disappeared as I descended groughs and ascended hags, but took special care to make sure I did not pass the summit area to my left. By which time the path had become a little more obvious.
15.) As the rate of ascent decreases to the left, leave the footpath and head up hill to Waun Rydd marked by a cairn.
16.) From the cairn return to path and turn left passing single tarn on the right.
17.) At double tarns turn right where you will see a small cairn ahead.
At next single tarn turn right towards cairn for Allt Lwyd
18.) Follow grassy path passed cairn, as you descend the lower summit of Allt Lwyd will appear ahead of you.
19.) Continue following path through slightly boggy ground until rate of descent suddenly increases.
20.) Carefully descend steep path to whale back ridge leading to Allt Lwyd. To you left is the distinctive peak of Tor y Foel beyond Talybont Reservoir.
Descend to whale back ridge towards Allt Lwyd
21.) Follow ridge and ending with gradual ascent to Allt Lwyd summit.
22.) There is not an obvious path to the west off Allt Lwyd to Allt Fogan, so take the easiest route of descent diagonally across contours to crossing point of Nant Cynafon. Maybe zig-zag back on yourself to reduce further rate of descent.
23.) There was evidence of a path from the crossing point to Allt Forgan top, but it kept disappearing and reappearing in the long summer grass.
24.) There are two fences before you turn right to ascend Allt Forgan, both of which can be crossed over a gate.
25.) A ridge to the left formerly the line of a wall up the eastern side of Allt Forgan marks the ascent route, follow this to where the the rate of ascent flattens out and turn right heading for the highest point.
26.) This marks the unmarked high point. I then headed to the next high point which was just SSW of the 513m spot height.
27.) I then headed down hill to an embedded boulder which although obviously lower than the true summit as well as the subsequent high point marks the spot height shown on OS 1:25000.
Allt Forgan high summit area from 513 spot height
marked by the embedded boulder
28.) The descent suggested here is what I should have done which was to head for crossing point over stream at SO 061179 then follow path to Blaen y Glyn.
28a.) Instead I tried to find the path at the end of the wall at SO 065177. This turned out to be a demolished wall and landed me in 5ft fern without any evidence of a foot path which after much difficulty, hidden streams and steep hidden ridges. Not to be recommended especially in Summer when ground coverage is at a maximum.
Fern everywhere on the SW descent from Allt Forgan
29.) My plan from Lower Blaen y Glyn car park was to follow the road back to car at Upper Blaen y Glyn car park. However as the rate of ascent increased at the footpath to Blaen y Glyn I decided to turn right and return to car park through woods past Blaen y Glyn car park and where I I should have ended up if I had taken the suggested (untried) route in 28.) above.
30.) This was well worth while passing many beautiful falls of which there are many, making me think it is worth a return to Blaen y Glyn to discover more.
One of the many lovely waterfalls in Blaen-y-glyn woods
More Photographs
Looking back along the Beacons Way towards Pen y Fan from Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion [Craig Cwareli]
Click on photograph to view slide-show