Post image for Cambrian Way day 11: Storey Arms to Bwlch Bryn-rhudd

Cambrian Way day 11: Storey Arms to Bwlch Bryn-rhudd

October 2, 2016 · 10 comments

 

Date walked: 9th August 2016

Maps used:OS Explorer OL 12 (Brecon Beacons National Park Western Area)

Distance: around 10 miles

Guide book: Cambrian Way by A J. Drake 7th edition

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Another day with the three Musketeers (Paul, Neil and me). Leaving Pauls car at the mercy of car thieves, Neil drove the two of them over to meet me at Storey Arms around 12 ish. (IMHO Neils car should always be the one left in isolated spots as no one would want to steal it).

Our last day was a bit a of a killer, but then we had camped the night before and had been carrying considerably more weight. Today we were fresh and raring to go – well Paul and I were. Several quite high summits lay ahead of us today and Neil was not feeling his best. He resolved to take a slightly longer route, sticking to the Beacons Way at first and avoiding some of the higher climbs. We arranged to meet up where our paths would cross in about 5 miles time.

The Cambrian Way near Storey Arms, Brecon Beacons, photographed by Charles Hawes

Neil pointing out his route to Paul

Paul and I followed the less well-defined path heading south-east climbing the flank of Fan Fawr. We soon lost sight of Neil.

Walking the Brecon Beacons Way from Storey Arms, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bye Neil

As Paul and I climbed we had a good view back to Corn Du.

View to Corn Du from the side of Fan Fawr, Brecon Beacons, photographed by Charles Hawes

A rather unsympathetically located plantation if you ask me

At the highest point of Fan Fawr (2,408 feet) there was a cairn where we paused for a pic.

Cairn at Fan Fawr, Brecon Beacons, phootographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Paul taking that view to Corn Du

Strangely, Fan Fawr also has a trig  point nearby at a slightly lower 2,345 feet – this one emblazoned with the Welsh Dragon. So for good measure I snapped Paul, there, too.

Trig Point at Fan Fawr, photographed on the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Paul is singing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

It was a great day to be up in the hills. And of course, no such day would be complete without sheep.

Sheep on Fan Fawr photographed on The Cambrian Way ijn the Brecon Beacons by Charles Hawes

Because, we, like sheep,… (the old ones are the best)

The way off Fan Fawr was ill-defined to say the least.  That was probably because not only is the Cambrian Way not a defined Right of Way, but the guide book treats Fan Fawr as an optional extra. Which seemed a little surprising.  It wasn’t difficult ground, though, and we could see very easily where we wanted to reach next.  Below us to our left the Ystradfellte reservoir.

Ystradfellete Reservoir, photographed from Fan Fawr on the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Paul lives quite close to here (just saying)

We could see that a reasonably substantial stream feeds into it, so after some debate we made a beeline for some sheepfolds that were marked on the map by the stream. En route we spotted a horses skull. Being culturally rooted in South Wales, Paul took a fancy to this, reckoning that he had a friend into Mari Lwyd who would be glad of it.

Horses skull near Ystradfellte reservoir, photographed on the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I think Paul was trying to imitate the horses expression

I dutifully strapped it to his back. At the bottom of the valley we had a nice view of the reservoir.

Ystradfellte reservoir, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

The ground around the sheepfolds was a bit boggy…

Sheepfolds above Ystradfellte reservoir, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

…but we forded the steam easily enough and were soon onto our next debate over the best route up to Fan Dringarth. There was barely a path to follow but though quite steep, it wasn’t too difficult a clamber.

Climbing Fan Dringarth, photographed on the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Paul is about to impale a slug with his stick

Looking back, we had a great view to Corn Du and Pen Y Fan.

View to Corn Du and Pen Y Fan from Fan Dingarth, photographed on The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Fan Dringarth doesn’t have a very well-defined summit but it gave us a good view to the next hills that we would climb.

View West from Fan Dringarth, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

And very nice hills they look, too.

As we were dropping down towards the little road that leads back to Ystradfellte Neil rang me up to say that he had reached our rendezvous. Our route to meet him crossed a Roman Road….

Cambrian Way crossing the Roman Road near Ystradfellte, photographed by Charles Hawes

I wonder if they had road signs?

…. before reaching the more modern tarmacked one.

Cambrian Way crossing the road to Ystradfellte, photographed by Charles Hawes

Neil had already half way up  the hill on the other side of the road when we caught him up. He was fine but decided to continue on a lower path rather than attempt the climb up Fan Nedd and was quite happy for Paul and I to “bag” the mountain.

A stone wall defined our route at first…

Wall on the side of Fan Nedd photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

… until we left it to make the quite steep climb to the top.

Climbing Fan Nedd, the Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

I was ahead of Paul for once.

Except we didn’t climb to the top as near it we found a clear path that headed back down to a track we knew Neil would be taking. Although this meant giving up a trig point we couldn’t see on map or ground  any alternative path off the summit, so with the (always unwelcome) prospect of walking to the trig point only to have to re-trace our steps we took the path back down.

Cambrian Way off Fan Nedd, photographed by Charles Hawes

Paul leading the way once more

As we descended we had a very wide view of the route that Neil would have taken but there was no sign of him; we concluded that he must have made good progress.  At a place marked on the map as Bwlch y Dywynt (but which had no characteristic I could make out that warranted a name – maybe its translation would enlighten, John) we left the more obvious track for a shortcut by the edge of a fence. The view back still gave us a now somewhat misty view of Corn Do and Pen Y Fan.

View to Pen Y Fan and Corn Du from near Fan Gyhirych photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

But there was still no sign of Neil. We had agreed that we would meet up again at Fan Gihirych which was only a couple of miles to go. Our route was on a wide farm track now. Ahead we could see a herd of fine black cattle on the path. We speculated about why they were bunched up there with no better conclusion that they were sheltering from the wind (which was picking up).

Welsh Black Cattle of the Cambrian way near Fan Gyhirych, photographed by Charles Hawes

Welsh Blacks according to Paul, and he should know

They proved to be a placid bunch, and hardly bothered to shift off the path as we approached, giving me an opportunity for a nice portrait.

Welsh Black Cattle photographed from the Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Not as pretty as an Aubrac perhaps but still rather nice

Neil rang at this point. He  was just wanting to check his route and although we reckoned he was taking a longer way round than us to the summit of Fan Gihirych, we were still on schedule for our rendezvous. And about 15 minutes later the trig point came into sight and we could see Neil striding towards it.

Fan Gihirych (2,379 feet),  sits (or stands, perhaps even lies) on the edge of  the escarpment which we have been following  for most of our traverse of the Brecon Beacons. Below us was the Usk Valley and a view onto the Cray Reservoir.

cambrian-day-11-34

This was Neils first trig point of the day and he got very excited and I took lots of pics of him.

Neil on Fan Gyhirych photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

He does love a trig point

We celebrated being re-united by a group pic at the trig point…..

Fan Gyhirych trig point photographed on The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

…. and then moved 100 yards to cairn for some more pics……

Neil on cairn near Fan Gyhirych photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Still very excited

…. where Neil wanted a pic of me looking rugged.

Charles Hawes on the Cairn by Fan Gyhirych photographed on the Cambrian Way by Neil Smurthwaite

Neil then took charge of our route, as is right and proper. For about 100 yards.

Cambrain Way near Fan Gyhirych, photographed by Charles Hawes

We didn’t follow the track shown on the map as it would have taken us a bit out of our way so Paul led us off the mountain in the manner of a sheep.

Descent of Fan Gyhirych , The Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

It was quite a steep descent but Paul seems at home in this terrain and raced ahead. When Neil and I caught up with him at the car I took lots of pics of him looking very silly.

Paul Steer photographed by Charles Hawes

 

Paul Steer photographed by Charles Hawes

 

Paul Steer photographed by Charles Hawes

A most enjoyable days walk. We didn’t see much of Neil but at least we didn’t lose him.

 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil October 2, 2016 at 7:02 am

It was a lovely quiet relatively easy days walk, with fabulous views from a distance of all those tops you two were having to walk over. Glad to meet up with you both on the final summit, though. 🙂

Reply

Charles October 2, 2016 at 8:29 am

Yes, and I had no idea that the next day would be so good!

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Paul Steer October 2, 2016 at 8:47 am

Too many pics of me ! A fine day’s walking – sorry about the steep descent – but at least it took us right back to the car. The next section was stunning.

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Charles October 2, 2016 at 11:47 am

Well, there weren’t enough sheep. I was really taking the skull.

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John October 2, 2016 at 9:01 am

Sheep, cows, slugs and horses (albeit the last dead) in one walk! Lucky you.

The Bwlch bit is easy – gap, pass, depression, what some geological types call a “col” I believe. “Dywynt” is a bit more difficult as it’s some sort of corruption of words which makes perfect sense to the locals. Without that local knowledge, I might guess that the bottom of the dip between Corn Du and it’s next door neighbour might get a bit breezy – “gwynt” means wind (it can also mean flatulence or smell but we won’t go into that). So we have something like “Windy Bottom”. That’s probably a bit corny though (groans!).

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Charles October 2, 2016 at 11:50 am

Yes,not bad on fauna . Thanks so much for the Welsh lesson. That makes perfect sense. I like “Windy Bottom”.

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Anne Wareham October 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

LOVE the sheep pic! Xxxx

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Charles October 2, 2016 at 11:51 am

Oh come on – I’ve taken far better. I think my cattle pic is fab.

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Kev the Yank October 3, 2016 at 12:28 am

Great cow picture! I’ve never seen a cow with such fluffy ears! Must be quite old to have that much hair growing from the ears….

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Charles October 3, 2016 at 8:28 am

Haha. Or maybe just one of those cows that couldn’t give a f***.

Reply

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