Monday, 24 February 2014

Cefn yr Ystrad

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 24 February 2012
Walkers - +Steve Smith,
Accommodation - Danywenallt National Park Study Centre
Start Point - Danywenallt National Park Study Centre (SO 10737 20584)
Start Time - 09:22
Finish Point - Danywenallt National Park Study Centre (SO 10737 20584)
Finish Time - 16:45
Duration - 7hrs 23mins
Average pace - 1.98mph
Distance Walked - 14.64miles
Height Ascended - 932.01metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (190W - 444E&W)
Cefn yr Ystrad (34W - 287E &W)
Hewitts (138W - 317E)
Cefn yr Ystrad (24W - 203E &W)
Marilyns (158W - 1550E,W&S)
Cefn yr Ystrad (12W - 82EW&S)
Deweys (241W - 427EW&S)
Mynydd Llangynidr (12W - 57E &W)
Fron-wen (14W - 59E &W)
HuMPs (364W - 2977EW&S)
Cefn yr Ystrad (17W - 134E,W&S)
Mynydd Llangynidr (18W - 135E,W&S)
W: Wales. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Other walks on this trip
19th Craig Cerrig-gleisiad, Fans Frynych, Llia & Fawr
20th HuMPing and TuMPing around Llandovery
21st Fan Hir to Waun Lefrith
22nd Garregs Lwyd & Las
24th Cefn yr Ystrad
25th Bache Hill, Black Mixen & Great Rhos

Other walks in Brecon Beacons
Click on map to access these routes and accommodation available


Walk Summary
This walk will see me completing all 34 Nuttalls in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains but what I have learnt here as with many other areas in the UK I have visited Nuttall bagging it will not be the last time I visit this area. 
That is the beauty of peak bagging. It is merely an excuse to visit an area to introduce you to all the places you would not dream of visiting as well as see things you would not otherwise go to see or even know about.

Apart from the hills, of which there are many more, other than Nuttalls, to base a walking route around there are many walks including the Usk Valley Walk and Taf Trail not to mention the Beacons Way along which I have walked several sections visiting the 2000ft tops.
The original plan was to drive round to Wern phone box and start walking from there. However it occurred to me it would take at least 30 minutes to drive there and 30 minutes back so the three extra miles or 90 extra minutes to walk from the Youth Hostel to pick up the route near Bryniau Gleision and then past Tor y Foel on the return from Wern was not too high a price to pay.
There was also a little extra to walk as a result of trying to find a route around the dis-used quarry Cwar yr Ystrad as a concession to my obsession of doing circular walks. Although the 1:50000 map clearly shows escarpments the 1:25000 that I was using only shows dead flat ground devoid of contours or anything else. It was only after trying to find a route round for about 45 minutes I decided to double back and take the direct route to Cefn yr Ystrad summit I should have taken in the first place. As it turned out I was still able to manage a respectable circular route as well.
The extra miles round the quarry were however reduced slightly by the more direct route I took between Cefn yr Ystrad and Mynydd Llangynidr varying slightly from the planned route, mainly influenced by the fact I did not have the electronic 1:25000 map. 
Heading for the boundary stone in clear conditions then on to the Mynydd Llangynidr to the Trefil quarry road or a NNE bearing in cloudy conditions really was not too bad over what is fairly uneven ground but down hill.
Overall I was pleased with the decision to start from the Youth Hostel even though it was maybe an extra 2 hours walking it probably would have been close to that driving there and back to Wern, especially as I would have had to change out of muddy clothes and boots to drive home.
In addition the extra part included the route down from Bryniau Gleision I walked with wife and Joss Johnson back in May 2009 and past the descent route from Tor y Foel I did also in May 2009 with the wife and Debbie Alexander. Both walks part of my first visit to The Brecon Beacons as well as full of happy memories.

Walk Description
Allt Lwyd on right beyond Talybont dam from hostel access road
 1.) Leave hostel and walk down drive to main entrance at east end of Talybont Reservoir dam.

Take right fork for Taf Trail opposite hostel entrance
 2.) At hostel entrance you can take the left fork along the Taf Trail or right fork on main road alongside reservoir. I chose the Taf Trail as this was our descent route from Bryniau Gleision mentioned earlier.
Take right fork for Taf Trail opposite hostel entrance
 3.) Stay on Taf trail ignoring first fork back to direction of travel.
Ignore path forking back on the left
 4.) Take the next left fork blocked by boulders off the Taf trail and slightly up hill. This is also the point where the main road alongside reservoir joins the Taf Trail.
Fork left uphill off Taf Trail
 5.) Very soon take next left fork of three.
As you ascend from right of picture again take left hand fork of three.
 6.) Last time we were on this path was wet and plunged into darkness by the thick canopy. The vegetation was verdant and the path really more like a stream. It is still the same today like a magic forest.
Densly planted trees and damp environment
give feeling and colours of a magic forest
 7.) As you clear the forest there is yet another fork and yes take the left one heading up-hill.
Once again take left fork heading uphill
 8.) At the Brinore Tramroad marker stone near Pen Rhiw-calch, take the right fork keeping fence on your left signposted Dolygaer.
Marker stone commemorating route of Brinore Tramroad
 9.) Stay on track passing farm building on the right.
Wrong side of fenc should be on path on other side.
Path to farm building comes all the way from Brinore marker stone
10.) As track veers south look out for Fan y Big beyond Abercynafon to the north west.
As the path starts to veer south
look right for views towards Fan y Big beyond Abercynafon
11.) Continue south along track along Pen Bwlch Glasgwm to Bryn Cefnog.
12.) Track became very muddy and stayed so for the 1km walk to the quarry Cwar yr Ystrad.
Very muddy track between Bryn Cefnog and Cwar yr Ystrad
14.) Upon reaching quarry road you have a choice of path straight over hill or road to the right. I went straight ahead and cut the corner off around the hill.
13.) Once on abandoned tarmac quarry road follow it it on a SE bearing then take first junction to left and north of quarry. I went straight on in attempt to access Cefn yr Ystrad from the west, but quarry is very large, so turned back and took above left junction. Still managed a circular route.
Turn left at the lamp post on road around north end of quarry
14.) As the quarry road turns south and comes to an end take care to pick out path without ascending unnecessarily and descending into large depressions maintaining a steady ascent towards Cefn yr Ystrad trig point.
Approaching Cefn yr Ystrad trig point from the north west
15.) From trig point walk the final 200m or so SE to summit cairn.
Cefn yr Ystrad summit and cairn
16.) In clear conditions you will see the next summit of Mynydd Llangynidr. Its bulk and the two areas of dead ground makes it look closer than the actual 2½ miles to its summit.
Mynydd Llangynidr from Cefn yr Ystrad. Sugar Loaf beyond
17.) If you can see Mynydd Llangynidr I would suggest walking straight for it on an ENEasterly bearing. Alternatively if conditions are not clear it may be the best option to head NNE for the path around the quarry edge then turn right and follow it all the way to quarry roads and then on to B road used to access Cwar yr Ystrad.
18.) On the EN Easterly bearing you will quickly come across a cairn marking the crash site of Wellington T2520 crash site.
Wellington T2520 crash site cairn near Cefn yr Ystrad summit
19.) Continue descent along vague path in EN Easterly bearing and start re-ascent to 563 spot height and boundary stone.
Boundary stone at/near 563m spot height
20.) Although there is a vague path heading in the right direction it does disappear from time to time, so keep your eye on the summit cairn if conditions allow and when you can see it head for the turning point for Trefill quarry. I took advantage of one of the large boulders there to shelter and have lunch.
Turning point on access road for Trefill Quarry.
At last can now see how much ground to cover to Mynydd Llangynidr
21.) Near the lunch stop there is an obvious and for me muddy path to the east up to Mynydd Llangynidr.
22.) As the rate of ascent levels out to the summit plateau, which is in fact near the county boundary follow the path to the left and continue to the summit.
Approaching summit cairn of Mynydd Llangynidr from the SW
23.) From the summit there is a path to follow just west of north. Take care to not veer to far west, even commit to leave the path and walk through the heather if you think you are going too far off line.
20.) Gap in Clo Cadno

Lone tree on way down from Mynydd Llangynidr descending to Wern

More Photographs
Marker stone commemorating route of Brinore Tramroad
Click on photograph to view slide-show
Brinore Tramroad in use from 1815 - 1865
T2520 Wellington bomber 1940 crash site