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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.

Blog Archive

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Sunday Walk - [Brecon Trip] [Hard Walk] Fforest Fawr Traverse (Craig y Nos to Llwyn-y-celyn) [New Walk]

Length: 21.4 km (13.3 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  949/833m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ½ hours
Toughness:  10 out of 10

Take the 08.50 bus (line T6) from Bus Stand 7 at Brecon Bus Interchange. Arrives Craig y Nos 09.27.
Return bus (line T4 from Libanus/Llwyn-y-celyn Youth Hostel) is on: 18.06 (journey time 14 minutes). Buy separate single tickets.

From the pdf: “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. From the Craig y Nos Country Park, an idyllic spot on the banks of the Afon Tawe (River Tawe) with its Victorian Gothic building, the route follows the Tawe Valley for a short stretch to rise steeply up a hillside to the Penwyllt Quarry, from where you follow old tramways up through the limestone terrain of the Ogon Ffynnon Ddu National Nature Reserve, a large area of shakeholes and caves. You rise further along a good track and then trackless on up the slopes of Fan Gyhirych to its summit, the highest point of the walk, from where you have stupendous views of the surrounding upland moorland, the giants of the Beacons, the Black Mountain and of the Tawe Valley. Follow a steep glacial escarpment above the Senni Valley down to a saddle and ascend Fan Nedd and then Fan Dringarth, from where the route turns to another dramatic glacial bowl in the Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad a Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve for a descent to the A 470.
An alternative finish at the Storey Arms Centre bus stop follows the Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad in a southerly direction and then the Craig y Fro escarpment high above the A 470.  
A 1 km out-and-back from the main route leads to Maen Llia, an impressive Bronze Age standing stone.

An alternative route through the high plateau (adds 1.1 km) follows 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.”

Lunch: Picnic lunch.
Tea: YHA Brecon Beacons 200m beyond the bus stop at the end of the walk.

For walk directions, map, photos, height profile, and gpx/kml files click here.


Thomas G said...

In long established SWC tradition on day 2 the group imposed its basic anarchic streak on proceedings. Out of 31 in town (one more arriving today), 2 drove to Gower peninsula for a coastal walk, 2 tried to find bluebells in Cwm Oergum (and found gorse), 1 fell ill and later walked the woodland gorge section of Friday's walk with 1 other, 1 had to work, 1 walked the town, 1 arrived for the 10.55 bus to do the Black Mountain walk, but found no one else was there so aborted the idea, 2 others actually went on that walk, but by car and uncoordinated, 6 irregulars had seemingly fallen out with the rest and did their own thing, while n=14 did this walk (numbers may not add up).
The weather was w=hot-and-sunny-with-a-nice-breeze.
1 explored the Beacons Way option, all else the norm route. 1 regular walk poster suggested adding another top to the route close to the end to this 10 out of 10 walk.
We trundled into the Youth Hostel one by one and bridged the time with a drink or two until the bus departure. Both buses out and back surprised us with a new scheme of free weekend travel! To encourage outdoor activities...

Frankie said...

13 of us had an excellent day out, spectacular views all day. Early start in cool woodland followed by strenuous ascent with views of the reservoir, surrounding mountains, wild horses and lambs. Later on we naturally split into two groups and finished our walk at the Brecon YHA where we enjoyed cool beers and tea in a beautiful outdoor setting. 18.06 free bus back to Brecon and exclusive upstairs dining at the Gurka restaurant followed by the usual post dinner convivial drinks at the Brecon Tap.

Thomas G said...

Two corrections: the walker on the 10.55 bus did indeed go to Glyntawe, but decided against the escarpment top and walked along the bottom of the escarpment instead out and back to near the first glacial lake, basically the ending of SWC 279 in reverse. And the walker that "walked the town", in fact walked out of town down the Usk Valley along the canal for quite some distance. So everyone got some country walking done.

Sandy said...

I've stood on Scottish mountain tops and been regaled by SAS types boasting that they have walked over the whole horizon to get there. That's very much the effect from the top of Fan Frynych, the "extra top" - the hills you have climbed over the course of the day stretch almost as far as the eye can see to the west. So I'd highly recommend that addition which required almost no extra effort - and I say that as someone who was very tired by the end of the day's walk (SWC 307 main route). Well worth your somewhat downbeat description of our arrival at the YH ;-)

sp2k said...

I'd say that the latter part of the walk was challenging, especially as it involved a lot of vain attempts to skirt the muddy patches by jumping and hopping about. Nevertheless,a very enjoyable walk with beautiful views of the Cray reservoir. For once, I was glad I had chosen the YH to stay.

Thomas G said...

... turns out that the 6 irregulars did try and failed to make it to Brecon in time for the bus, so they returned to base to pick up a second car, drop it at the alt. finish to the walk, the Storey Arms, drove around to the start and walked the walk. N=20