After leaving Dryslwyn it took us just over an hour to drive to the town of Brecon. A four mile circular walk up to Corn Du and Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons was order of the day but we wanted to get some information first and take a look around the town. The Tourist Office was amazingly helpful and the two ladies in there extremely knowledgeable about the area. They even seemed to know everything about motorhoming and gave us some ideas of where to park overnight. They also had completely up to date information from the local traffic warden who they had spoken to just the week before to clarify the motorhome parking situation. They were told that parking overnight in the National Park was acceptable so long as you only spend 1 night in any one place and obviously pay any car park fees. This was great to hear, it’s good to feel welcome for a change!
Taking our maps and leaflets back to Buzz, we drove down to The Boathouse and a spacious car park right alongside the River Usk which is a popular place for paddlers. We had a good walk up the river back towards the town and down again, spotting several herons and losing a pair of sunglasses through a slatted path in the process! Further down we’d seen a large green area and smaller parking area (N51.950632 W3.46392) which looked a bit quieter than the main car park so we moved Buzz down there and made use of the picnic tables to have a coffee and Welsh Cake as the weather was just perfect.
We spent the late afternoon and evening outside, leaving the walk for the next day, looking up parking and the route we would take. The next morning we parked in a layby just a couple of hundred metres away from the Storey Arms Outdoor Centre for the start of the ascent. Unlike our walk up Snowdon, this time it was sunny and warm so although the walk was much easier we did get quite hot! The walk is labelled as ‘moderate’ with an estimated completion time of about 2 and a half hours which depends on how much time you spend at the top before coming back down. Most of the time the path was fairly good but the most annoying part was a couple of times getting to the top of a hill and going back down a stretch and then having to climb up again instead of just going up and up and up! Several times we thought we were nearly there but we weren’t, it’s very deceptive in that respect. The wonderful outlook takes your mind off it though with spectacular views to the south, down the Neuadd Valley to the reservoirs above Merthyr Tydfil.
After a quick coffee break on the top of Corn Du we carried on for the final part of the walk to the summit of Pen Y Fan. We were a bit worried about drinking too much though because on this walk there is absolutely and most definitely nowhere to ‘go’! Once we got to the top it was time for the inevitable summit photo where everyone happily took photos for each other on the cairn marking the height of 886 metres. The cairn was originally a Bronze Age burial chamber that was excavated in 1991 revealing a bronze brooch and spearhead that were found buried inside. Photos complete, we then found a place to sit on the edge of the mountainside and ate our lunch while watching graceful red kites gliding above us on the thermals.
There was an SAS selection hike taking place as we walked and we saw several of them jogging up and down the mountain carrying heavy kitbags and a couple walking down, having obviously failed the test. The walk back down was easy and by the time we reached the motorhome we were quite invigorated and weary at the same time. It’s always such a welcome sight to see Buzz in the distance after a long walk. He’s our home sweet home on wheels and it feels no different than the real thing when you come in, unload and relax with a nice drink after a good day out.
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