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Pen-y-Fan Boxing Day

I went up early so I could drive to the Neuadd Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons and be there before noon. The weather forecast had said it would be partly cloudy but the sun never showed.

This is Cribyn from the south. You may remember that I gave up on climbing Cribyn from the north on Lucia (13 December). That was a very different day, so I got to see another side of these mountains, not just literally. In the clouds on the left Pen-y-Fan is hiding.
Cribyn from behind
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Here I'm looking back along the track. That's Taf Fechan Forest on the left. As you can see, the track is rising very slowly and evenly. It was an easy stroll.

As usual, what looks like stray pieces of fluff on your monitor are sheep. Remembering that will give you a much-needed sense of perspective in other photos.
Track, looking back toward Taf Fechan Forest
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Here are the reservoirs. They didn't seem to be very well maintained. There were trees growing out of the dam and the roofs of the buildings had big holes in them.
Upper and Lower Neuadd Reservoirs
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Higher view of the reservoirs in landscape

Here I've reached the saddle between Cribyn and Fan-y-Big at nearly 600 m. On my map it's called Bwlch ar y Fan. I'm looking north along the Cwm Cynwyn valley.

There is a fence dropping down into the valley from the right, that I took out. On the large version you can still see the netting if you look carefully.
Cwm Cynwyn valley
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Nant Cymwyn, the stream at the bottom of Cwm Cynwyn valley in waterflow

On my right I have Fan-y-Big. This is a good time to remember that the little white dots are sheep. The grass on the north side looks especially juicy. Fan-y-Big measures 719 m. I've left the fence in this photo, because I felt it gives a sense of scale, particularly when compared to the sheep.
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Another view of Fan-y-Big. Here I've moved along the Beacons way on the south side of Cribyn and am looking back. This is probably my favourite photo from this walk. The path really draws me into it.

It was not long after this that I saw mountain ponies by the trail. I've saved them for another post.
Fan-y-Big from the south side of Cribyn
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I soldiered on toward my goal, Pen-y-Fan. Here I've started scaling the mountain and am looking north, along the Cwm Sere valley with the Bryn Teg ridge on the right.
Cwm Sere valley and Bryn Teg ridge
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A dramatic view of Cribyn from the west.
Cribyn from Craig Cwm Sere, the eastern path up to Pen-y-Fan
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My goal for the day Pen-y-Fan is visible in the clouds. I did make it but the summit was completely socked in.

In fact, the view was so obscured that I took the wrong trail down from the mountain and ended up retracing my steps instead of continuing along Craig Gwaun Taf and dropping down to the reservoir from the west. Still, it could have been much worse. I could have accidentally headed north, further away from the car.
Pen-y-Fan, from eastern approach
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As it was, the whole experience took about 5 hours. It was 8 miles, starting at 423m and summiting at 886 m. I stretched when I got back to the car so I was only slightly stiff the next day. But the ponies were the best thing.


Nice shots. That first one looks like it could be the American southwest.
Thanks Bob.
Hiya :) This was long ago and on the other side of the world, but did you follow a particular route, and where did you start? I'm thinking of spending a bit of me-time on the side of a mountain :)