Saturday, 8 February 2014

February 2014 Brecon Beacons West and Central Wales

Walks Summary
Well here is the schedule for proposed trip to South Wales later this month.

Fairly late for the first trip of the year, especially as I have set myself a target to walk 1000 miles and visit 100 peaks. However with what has been happening at home since Christmas it was never going to be possible to get away sooner.

For the very same reason it is especially a much needed trip to get in the hills and hopefully in benevolent winter conditions.

Split in to three phases based on accommodation location with the middle phase being based at DanywenalltYouth Hostel. The first and last phase will be spent in my campervan at Llwynstyffilin Farm Campsite and Elan Oaks Camping and Caravan Site respectively.

The objective of the trip is to complete the 11 remaining Nuttalls in the Brecon Beacons, then go on and visit all 11 Nuttalls 
in Central Wales. This will take my Welsh Nuttal count to 45 leaving 145 Nuttalls, all of which will be in Snowdonia.

Because of the horrendous weather we are having it could well be possible this trip may be cancelled last minute. Looking at all the flooding that is currently being reported on the news everyday at time of writing (08 February), it does not make sense to impose myself on an area or environment that may be struggling to sustain normal daily life, let alone cater for tourists. For reasons outside of my plans let's hope things improve and the area will be able to accept tourists without them being a drain on local resources.

That aside if weather conditions are not suitable for hill walking I have planned some walks to visit the Deweys in the area as an alternative and if that is still not possible will pick of some of the many lower level Marylins that do not attain Dewey status.

Either way I expect to be returning to the Brecon Beacons and Central Wales to increase my Marylin count and the outstanding Deweys. Plenty of excuses to come back.
The rest days marked yellow have been included as contingency for bad weather but more importantly as rest days.

I know my limits and even with the physical preparation I put myself through past experience shows that my physical limit is likely to be no more than three days, four at a push.

Although I have set dates for each walk, I do not expect the plan to follow exactly. The weather will cause rest days to be taken early or subject to personal fitness may well even be postponed.

Even with perfect weather and dry days everyday, it is an ambitious plan. In all honesty I do not expect to complete every walk listed, however priority will be given to Nuttall routes first resulting in the possibility that the two Dewey routes in phase I will only be considered if the plan has gone to schedule up to 24 Feb or the weather is too bad to attempt any of the Nuttall routes.

Phase I - Llwynstyffilin Farm Campsite

Craig Cerrig-gleisiad, Fans Frynych, Llia & Fawr
On reflection at 12.61 miles it seems a tough ask so will be looking to reduce this by taking a shorter route between Fan Llia and Fan Fawr. For this reason I will tackle the route anti-clockwise so that if I do commit to the shorter route via the sheepfolds north of Ystradafellt Reservoir and the ground is hard going over what may well be uneven boggy terrain there will only be the 1.3 mile descent down Fan Fawr to walks end at Storey Arms.

Fan Hir to Waun Lefrith
Planned second walk of the trip and again intending to walk anti-clockwise. Primary reason being that I will make a decision after completing the Nuttalls at the footpath due south of Disgwylfa whether or not I call it a day for peaks and walk the 2.86 miles along the direct route back to walks end at Tawe Bridge or pull in the 3 Deweys on the way covering 3.91 miles. On paper only 1 mile further and extra 100m of ascent but what looks like ground without any well marked paths will be tough ground. For that reason Deweys can often be a tougher ask than the larger Nuttall cousins. While I want to increase the Dewey count it is not to be at the expense of the overall objective to complete the Brecon Beacons and Central Wales Nuttalls. Like I have said earlier the hills will be there another day and it will be a good excuse (if I ever need one) to return to the area another time.

Garregs Lwyd & Las
If the plan has gone to schedule and weather has been kind this will be the third walk of the trip after the first well earned rest day.
At 9.1 miles including the extra mile to pull in the Dewey - Carn Pen-Rhiw-Ddu it will be the shortest walk so far but if I do not over do the pace, fitness holds up should be no trouble at all and with diligent use of subsequent rest days will count as training to improve fitness whilst out on the hill. The ideal form of training .

Carreg Cadno
Both these short Dewey only walks; Cefn Cul & Moel Feity and Carreg Cadno, have primarily been included as a back up option if the weather is too bad to do the 3 earlier mentioned higher and longer Nuttall walks. That is not to say they should be considered easier because they are Deweys. Yes the route is shorter and has less ascent which of course makes it easier. However because Deweys are not visited as regularly as the larger Nuttalls routes, they can be less well trodden and therefore less well defined resulting in having to go over tough uneven terrain.
The plan schedules these walks to be completed before driving to Danywenallt Youth Hostel, however if I need the rest these walks will be left for another trip saving energy for the Nuttalls still to do.

Cefn Cul & Moel Feity

Carn Pen-rhiw-ddu
No map for this walk as it has already been included with the Nuttall walk above - Garregs Lwyd & Las.
An extra mile on top of the 8.1 miles after returning to Pantyffynnon Quarries car park from Garregs Lwyd & Las. This will mop up this isolated Dewey on the other side of the A4069.

Phase II - Danywenallt Youth Hostel

Cefn yr Ystrad
This route was originally planned for my first Nuttall trip to the Brecon Beacons, however the extra effort to include Fan y Big in the Brecon Beacons (East) walk last August meant I returned home on the day I had planned to walk this route rather than staying an extra day to take the rest day I needed.
There was an option to walk from Danywenallt Youth Hostel, however to give me the option to include the Dewey Mynydd Llangynidr I have opted to make the short drive to and start the walk from Wern phone box.

Bache Hill, Black Mixen & Great Rhos
Not the ideal accommodation base to use for this walk but it does give me the chance to include a rest day during my stay at Danywenallt Youth Hostel and use that day to catch up on what will be essential laundry.
Two routes have been planned both starting at Upper Folley or New Radnor. The shorter Nuttall route is only 9.73 miles includes the Dewey Whimble. While the longer route includes the two extra Deweys Fron-Wen and Nyth-Grug but at 14.32 miles will be too far for the time of year especially as it includes an hours drive each way to/from the youth Hostel.
Either way the plan is to start in or near New Radnor and walk anti-clockwise.

Phase III - Elan Oaks Camping and Caravan Site

The Pumlumons & Y Garn
Wiyh five Nuttalls this is the most prolific walk of the trip and intend to walk this route first to get the peaks 'in the bag'. However once again will be influenced on the day by the weather and may well do Gorllwyn & Drygarn Fawr as it is closer to Elan Oaks Campsite, is not so high as well as less ascent and is shorter if the weather is not good.
Will walk anti clockwise to get the peaks bagged in the first half of the walk

Gorllwyn & Drygarn Fawr
Only a four mile drive from Elan Oaks Campsite but definitely too far to walk.
Planned start point is Llanerch Cawr car park and intend to walk in a clockwise direction.

Pen y Garn
The final walk of the trip and based on experience of walking up Pen-y-Fan then driving home the same day the plan is to do the same here. Only just over 7 miles so with an early start should not be a problem.
Plan to walk in a clockwise direction though will confirm on day of walk depending on conditions.