The first entry covering my Pen y Fan horseshoe walk finished off at Fan y Big, and in a rather obvious choice that’s exactly where we pick up from now. You find me walking south along Craig Cwmoergwm into an afternoon haze, thankful that the freezing wind has finally been left behind. In fact I’m starting to get concerned about sunburn having stupidly left both my hat and sun-cream in the car. Fortunately the sun wasn’t quite strong enough for that but it certainly felt more like a summers day than the first weekend in March!

2936829353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe

 Corn Du, Pen Y Fan, Cribyn and Fan y Big

With the famous peaks behind me there were still some very significant altitude changes coming up, the first of which took me almost straight down to intersect once more with the Roman road. There was no defined path here so I made my own route which offered stunning views back the way I’d come.

2936729353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe

At the bottom I was surprised to find some very nice examples of Victorian architecture around both Neuadd reservoirs. The upper body of water has one of the most impressive dams I’ve seen whilst the lower had a stunning selection of abandoned buildings. Having been walking across such an open landscape their presence jarred somewhat yet offered a fascinating insight into times gone. Peering through one of the windows I could see plenty of old machinery still left in-situ, whilst the spillway itself could class as a work of art.

2937629353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe
2938029353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe

Behind the dam water levels were very low as the reservoir is now drained and no longer in use. Interestingly I joked to Emma that the whole place would be an awesome project to buy and restore, and have just found out that it is actually for sale. Given that the price is only available on asking though I think it would probably be way out of our price range.

2938229353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe

Having crossed the dam I was now faced with the steepest climb of the walk; a near vertical ascent to regain most of the altitude lost since Pen y Fan. To make things that little bit more difficult my left leg decided now would be a good time to throw in a spot of cramp to liven up proceedings. Thankfully chocolate and a brief rest soon had me on my way again. Initially the going wasn’t too bad but in the permanently shaded upper reaches I had to resort to all fours in order to traverse sheets of ice. Let me assure you that emerging at the top was probably the best feeling of the day.

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The top of a very steep climb

The route from here back to Corn Du was now along Graig Fan Ddu and it afforded me great views over the route I’d already walked. Every climb revealed yet new vistas, all with an impressive sheer drop on one side. I must admit to going a bit snap happy with the camera though did somehow manage to miss a Sea King helicopter passing right overhead. By the time I’d extracted said camera it was way over towards Fan y Big. As far as I could see there was no rescue in progress, merely a training exercise.

2938929353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe
2939029353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe

More worrying was the plume of smoke that emerged late in the afternoon, a sure sign that the illegal fire setters are once more upon us. Of all the ills done to our wildlife this is the one that most irks me due to the indiscriminatory nature and vast areas of habitat that grass fires destroy. Only last week a large area behind Rhossili went up and I’m sure there’s sadly much worse to come.

2939429353 - Pen y Fan Horseshoe

Everything you see here I walked

Eventually I found myself back at Corn Du and made the final turn of what was easily the best days walking I’ve had in a very long time. The challenge combined with spectacular scenery and weather created an almost perfect day. At this rate I could find myself becoming addicted to hill walking and am already well on the way to planning my next adventure.

1 Comment

Sondra · March 8, 2013 at 12:56 am

The vistas are so stunning! That must have been quite a hike several miles! Love the old building and the damn…wouldnt that be an awesome spot to create a wildlife retreat for folks who appreciate the wilderness.

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