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Sunday, 19 July 2020

Sunday Walk - Brecon – Fan y Big – Cribyn – Brecon [Brecon Trip]

Length: 21.8 km (13.5m ascent) mi)
Ascent/Descent: 933m; Net Walking Time: 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 10 out of 10

Meet at 09.30 in the south east corner of the Morrison’s car park in Brecon’s town centre, next to the Markets Tavern and near the four-way road junction by the Bus Interchange.

This route deliberately avoids the guaranteed-to-be-busy tops of Pen y Fan and Corn Du and is one of the many variations described in the pdf for the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe. Following the write-up will require frequent shuffling of paper within the 19-page document (we start on page 12, immediately go to page 9, then back to 12, etc. pp.), and the stretch between the two tops is obvious but not written up in text in this anti-clockwise direction.

The route rises from the centre of Brecon up to and then across the majestic core of the Central Brecon Beacons onto Fan y Big, where you turn right along the ridge towards the other of these two least frequented of the four table-top peaks: Cribyn. The clear path around a steep sided glacial valley is part of one of the best ridge walks in South Britain, featuring some spectacular views in all directions in good weather. It is exceptionally exposed to the elements though and also requires one steep descent and re-ascent.

·        descend directly back down from the ridge off Fan y Big the way you came, back to Brecon (cut 1.8 km and 196m ascent); 
·        continue past Cribyn to Pen y Fan and descend from there (adds one descent/re-ascent);
·        from Fan y Big, turn left along the ridge – to Waun Rydd alongside an upland bog – offering more superb views, and past a WWII airplane memorial and lastly down into the lush Usk Valley to Talybont and its pubs, or on a loop back from Waun Rydd to Fan y Big. The return from Talybont to Brecon would have to be by taxi or on foot along the Monmouth & Brecon Canal (11.7 km), due to the 43/X43 bus not running on the Sunday;
·        from Fan y Big, turn left along the ridge – to Waun Rydd alongside an upland bog – offering more superb views, and past a WWII airplane memorial but descend from Waun Rydd to Brecon via the Gist Wen and through Llanfrynach village (pub). This descent would be map-led.

Lunch: Picnic lunch.
Tea: plenty of choice in Brecon, but also in Talybont (see the pdf) and that pub in Llanfrynach.

For walk directions and options, route map, height profile, photos or gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.278.a


Thomas G said...

Constant overnight rain had cleared the air so much so that the mountain forecast promised 'fantastic long range views', and that's what we got besides w=sunshine-all-day. Combined with temperatures of 19 in town and 12 on the tops, this is perfect walking weather in my view.
3 set off by cars to drop one off in Talybont and then drive back to a car park in the Cwm Gwdi and start their ascent from halfway up the range, to Cribyn and across to Fan y Big and on to Talybont.
Group 2 set off first from Brecon and were only briefly encountered by my group, up on Fan y Big. They turned left from there to the Waun Rydd and the downed aircraft memorial, then down a new exploratory descent route from there, while we turned right down to the saddle between FyB and Cribyn. The car drivers were encountered half way down going the other way and at the saddle one of us turned right along the old Roman Road to spare herself the 200m height up Cribyn and descent down again along the scramble steep side. We met her again by the hill fence, sunbathing. Another one of our group continued on to Pen y Fan to descend from there. Time for dinner: the Gurkha Corner is awaiting...
A picture perfect day of walking. The hills were fairly but not overly busy.

Thomas G said...


Stargazer said...

A special kudos are deserved for the 3 others who set off for the memorial and exploratory route home....Found the memorial and a canal side pub for an afternoon break....but the final canal stretch turned out to be twice as long as described (apologies)....all soldiered on without complaint....hopefully, enjoying the lovely evening light along the way....

Sandy said...

Strictly in the interests of scrupulous accuracy, I would like to add that we did not in fact drive half way up the hill; the altitude of the car park is 300m and we descended to approx 255m before making the ascent of Cribyn (795m).