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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Friday, 4 May 2018

Brecon Beacons Trip - The Schedule

The Brecon Beacons – 4 Days of Walking (with up to 4 extra days for the keen ones)

Arrive in Brecon anytime on Friday 4th of May, either by car, or by train and bus:
·        Paddington – Abergavenny plus Bus Line 43/X43  from the bottom of Station Road,
·        Paddington – Merthyr Tydfil or Cardiff plus Bus Line T4,
·        Paddington – Neath (or Swansea) and Bus Line T6  from Neath Bus Station [5 mins away]).

For Paddington – Abergavenny, please be aware that – to get the best prices – you have to book separate tickets Paddington – Newport (South Wales) and Newport – Abergavenny, as these lines are run by different operators. Also make sure that you arrive in good time to catch a bus to Brecon.

Stay either in Brecon  (lots of B&B’s, some hotels), or in the Llwyn-y-Celyn Youth Hostel (some distance away, but on Bus Line T4) or anywhere else in the area if you have a car.

The Schedule (picnic lunch on all but one of the walks):

·    Friday 4th of May
Arrival Day Walk!!!: meet at 15.00 hours for this gentle introduction into the area.
The Usk and Ysgir rivers, a Roman Fort, a low ridge, woodlands, an ancient hillfort site and a covered well (and a cathedral and an optional woodland gorge), 4 ½ hours of walking, then straight to the group dinner. Too long? Too early? Start an hour later for the short version of the walk (cuts out the low ridge), or start two hours later and just walk the woodland gorge loop (details in the pdf).

·    Saturday 5th of May
Easily accessible ridge walk leading to and around South Wales’ largest natural lake then up to an Iron Age hillfort site. Great views of The Black Mountains, the Central Beacons and Llangynidr and Llangattock Hills; pub lunch. Easily accessible, but not easy, that is the main walk (10/10), but cut out the 260m ascent to Mynydd Troed, and it’s only 7/10. There is another option to cut out some of the ascent to the Iron Age hillfort site near the end. Tougher Option: head east from Mynydd Troed via its ridge and down and up Pen Tir and down and up Cefn Moel (picnic lunch). Bus 43/X43 from Brecon to Bwlch.

·    Sunday 6th of May
This is a traverse of the dramatic massif of the Fforest Fawr (‘The Great Forest’, with ‘Forest’ here denoting a former Royal Hunting Ground, rather than an area full of trees), one of the least frequented parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park, linking the Black Mountain to the west with the Central Brecon Beacons to the east. 10/10, tough, no shortcuts unless you want to call a taxi to the one road that’s being crossed 2/3 through (there is some phone reception on the descent to that road).
8 of us reccied this last year on the first extra-day. Any of those people may want to join me  in exploring a variation of the route, by following the Beacons Way between Penwyllt Quarry and Fan Dringarth, through the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu National Nature Reserve of Shake Holes and caves and along Sarn Helen (an old Roman Road) past an ancient standing stone (Maen Madoc) and an old Roman Camp (see route map on the webpage).
For those that want an easier walk:
The first one was a great success last year, with loads of bluebells (and also mud) and a nice lunch pub and a café at the end. Same start point as the tough walk above. 
The second one is the short out-and-back walk up to Black Mountain, a longer version of which we walked last year. Same bus line as the other two walks.

·    Monday 7th of May
From Brecon up to the ridge (takes about 3 hours), east along the less frequented tops and the upland peat bog plateau of the Waun Rydd (past the airplane memorial) and down into the Usk Valley to Talybont (2 pubs, but no buses on the Bank Holiday, so taxi back or follow the Monmouth & Brecon Canal).
Not so tough option: descend from Fan y Big back to Brecon, still a full day…
(infrequent bus service though on the Bank Holiday).

·    8th May to 11th May· Bus-based recce walking:

Tuesday - Llangynidr to Bwlch (up Cwm Cleisfer to source of river, across Mynydd Llangynidr shakeholes area past the Chartist Cave; descend through the Dyffryn Crawnon Nature Reserve and then over or around Tor Y Foel and past Llangynidr to Bwlch (no late buses from Llangynidr). [easier option: rtn from river source or from Chartist Cave the way you came] Bus 43/X43: out 08.56; rtn 16.28 from Llangynidr or 16.34/17.29/18.19/19.19 from Bwlch.
Wednesday - Three Cocks to Talgarth (via Felindre and Three Rivers Ride to Gospel Pass; [optional out-and-back up Hay Bluff] up Twmpa/Lord Hereford's Knob and over Rhos Dirion, descent via Sychnant Farm). Bus 39/X4: out 09.10, arrives 09.35; rtn 17.02 (arrives 17.23) or 17.20 (arrives 17.41), then the 17.58 to Abergavenny (last direct bus).
Thursday - Pandy to Llanvihangel Crucorney (up along Offa's Dyke Path across Hatterall Hill and ridge; descend to Llanthony [priory, pub, hotel restaurant]; through Vale of Ewyas to Cwmyoy [crooked church with leaning spire]; then either valley route via Stanton or hill route over Twyn Y Gaer hillfort). Bus X3: out 09.35, arrives 09.50; rtn 17.10 or 18.07.
Friday - Abergavenny Circular via Sugarloaf (various routes and lengths). No bus needed.
Evening: train from Abergavenny to London via Newport.

p.s. for a mountain weather forecast for the area we’ll walk in, either check our very own website on the respective walk’s page, for example here, or try the ever reliable Mountain Weather Information Service and their forecast for the Brecon Beacons here. There are also live webcams at the Brecon Beacons National Park’s Visitor Centre, available here.
p.p.s. your options for getting out of Brecon by bus on the Sunday or the Bank Holiday Monday are fairly limited.

28 comments:

Thomas G said...

Still available on the BBC iPlayer for a couple more weeks: "The Brecon Beacons with Iolo Williams" (2 parts)

Thomas G said...

I am open to other suggestions from the cognoscenti, but this is my likely schedule for recce walks, assuming bus schedules as currently valid [all are about 20 km long, tough and mostly with options to lengthen or shorten]:
Tuesday - Llangynidr to Bwlch (up Cwm Cleisfer to source of river, across Mynydd Llangynidr shakeholes area past the Chartist Cave; descend through the Dyffryn Crawnon Nature Reserve and then over or around Tor Y Foel and past Llangynidr to Bwlch (no late buses from Llangynidr). [easier option: rtn from river source or from Chartist Cave the way you came] Bus: 43/X43.
Wednesday - Three Cocks to Talgarth (via Felindre and Three Rivers Ride to Gospel Pass; [optional out-and-back up Hay Bluff] up Twmpa/Lord Hereford's Knob and over Rhos Dirion, descent via Sychnant Farm). Bus: 39/X4.
Evening: transfer to accomodation in Abergavenny. Bus: X43, last at 17.58.
Thursday - Pandy to Llanvihangel Crucorney (up along Offa's Dyke Path across Hatterall Hill and ridge; descend to Llanthony [priory, pub, hotel restaurant]; through Vale of Ewyas to Cwmyoy [crooked church with leaning spire]; then either valley route via Stanton or hill route over Twyn Y Gaer hillfort). Bus: X3.
Friday - Abergavenny Circular via Sugarloaf (various routes and lengths). No bus needed.
Evening: train from Abergavenny to London via Newport.

Sandy said...

Abergavenny to Crickhowell over the Sugar Loaf is also an excellent walk, bus schedules permitting. When staying near Crickhowell I had time for a fry-up in Abergavenny first.

Stargazer said...

Calling all Breconites...for those interested in the group kick-off dinner on the Friday night, the venue this year will be the Clarence Inn (http://clarenceinn.co.uk/), starting about 7:30pmish.....In due course, please drop me an email at goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom to let me know if you plan to attend so that I can finalize the numbers...See you there!

Barbara Dobos said...

Hi, I am just wondering if someone want to share a room with me. Barbara(Hungarian :)

Thx

sp2k said...

Hi Thomas,
Can you please confirm whether the planned schedule for Tuesday 8 May - Friday 11 May is still valid?

Best Regards,
Balaji

Thomas G said...

Yep, still valid as laid out above.

sp2k said...

Hi Thomas,
Thank you for confirming. You have said that you would be based out of Crickhowell or Abergavenny during the period 8th - 11th May. Unfortunately, I am unable to find YH accommodation in Crickhowell for this period. If I am able to get suitable accommodation, I would join in. I intend to arrive in Brecon on the afternoon of 4th May and have confirmed accommodation until 8th May.


Best Regards,
Balaji

Catherine Bates said...

Is anyone driving back on Monday evening and has a safe seat in the car? Would be grateful for car journey back if possible, as expect trains infrequent on bank holiday Monday. Many thanks Catherine (red wellies)

Catherine Bates said...

Sorry - meant spare seat (predictive text, grrr)

sp2k said...

Hi Thomas,
Could you please share your contact number? As I arrive late on Friday evening in Brecon, it might be too late for me to join the introductory walk on Friday afternoon. I would be staying in the youth hostel. Please let me know the starting point for Saturday's walk.

Best Regards,
Balaji

Thomas G said...

There will be a group dinner on the Friday and details of that and the meeting points and times for the group walks will be made clear in the walk posts I will put up as soon as I get my WiFi working again.

John Powell said...

Just in case anyone else is interested in coming along and is OK with sharing a room, I have booked a twin room for the 3 nights commencing 4th May at The Beacons Guest House. Please contact me on john_c_powellAThotmailDOTcom if interested.

sp2k said...

Hello Thomas,
I just observed that the last bus out of Brecon towards the Llwyn-y-Celyn YH is at 18:27 and so I would not be able to join the group dinner on Friday. So, I would meet you all at the Brecon Bus Interchange on Saturday morning.

Could you please share your contact number? You could email me at balajiDOTsrinivasATgmailDOTcom (balaji.srinivas@gmail.com).

Best Regards,
Balaji

Best Regards,
Balaji

Angela said...

I am now unable to come on the trip and have cancelled my room at 6 Bridge Street, Brecon so if anyone is still looking for accommodation do contact them. I had a small double booked. See http://www.6bridgest.com/en-GB/homepage

Thomas G said...

@sp2k: done

Thomas G said...

There has been a short term announcement of trackworks on the Newport - Abergavenny line this week (electrification and all that), meaning bus replacement service between Newport and Cwmbran, leading to about 20 minutes longer journeys, which may or may not mean you will only catch a later bus than thought from Abergavenny to Brecon. For a timetable of the bus service from Newport to Cwmbran, check here and click on the Timetables/Newport link about half way down the page: https://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/south-wales-mainline-modernisation/

Barbara Dobos said...

Hi, if anyone need a lift I’m leaving London around 7pm on Friday and coming back Monday evening after the walk. I have another passenger, but two seats are still available. Leaving from Kensington Olympia.

Thomas G said...

Brecon Beacons Mountain Forecast for the next three days: light winds, foggy start with at least 60% chance of cloud-free summits, temps on the tops: 6 rising to 12 deg, likely dry. http://www.mwis.org.uk/english-welsh-forecast/BB/
[Legal Disclaimer: This is a forecast only, always be prepared for the weather turning out worse.]

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara
Is the lift still available?
This is a last-minute decision so if it is I will book accommodation straight away.
Are you staying in Brecon?
thanks
My name is Ana, I had to make it anonymous, sorry

Barbara Dobos said...

Hi Ana, yes it is. I think Angela is looking for a roommate, to share, talk to her. She is in a former post. Email me your number: redchylly@hotmail.com


Anonymous said...

Barbara, thanks for your message.
The email link did not work, my phone is 07428797014.
I will leave a message for Angela now, I cannot find anything in Brecon...

Anonymous said...

Angela
Are you still looking for somebody to share the room? I am interested
Ana, 07428797014
Thank you

Catherine Bates said...

Hi Barbara
Do you still have space in your car for the return journey back on Monday?
Catherine

Thomas G said...

Bus replacement from Newport: leave platform at front of train, turn left out through station building, bus stop on left, helpful staff about. 20 mins to Cwmbran.

Monique said...

Just wanted to say that the Brecon weekend was excellent. There were walk options catering for all tastes, so we all got to see the beautiful countryside. All the logistics went smoothly due to the meticulous planning and attention to detail for which Thomas is well-known (despite Network Rail doing its upmost to throw a spanner in the works with engineering works/electricification/bus replacements and all round bank holiday travel hideousness etc). The ascents were something to endure in the heat but so worth it in the end for the fabulous views. The company was interesting, stimulating, friendly and convivial - what more could you ask. Thanks Thomas

Catherine Bates said...

Well put, Monique. Completely concur!

Thomas G said...

In summary: 30 on the walk on Saturday (1 other had to stay in town), 1 arriving Sunday afternoon for 2 days of walking, 1 other arriving on Monday for 2 days of walking, so in total 33 in town at some point. That number is slightly down on last year (39), which comes as little surprise, as there was an overlapping Greece trip on, attended by 16 I hear, and only 2 of those made it to Brecon as well agt some point. 20 minutes of rain (on Friday afternoon). Attendances on the 4 recce walks: 13/3/2/2. Some fascinating new walks are in prospect from those 4 days.
Thanks to everyone for coming along.