Brecon Beacons Somehow I'd never got round to walking up Pen y Fan, the highest point in the UK south of Snowdon. So when a settled weather forecast appeared in mid(ish) October, I jumped in my car and headed for, er, Somerset...
Tiny Goat ...to visit a pal and his tiny goats. After that I headed for Merthyr Tydfil, where I spent the night in the rather pleasant Premier Inn so that I could get an early start.
Start Tuesday - There were a few cars in the Pont ar Daf car park when I arrived at sunrise, but not many. This gate marks the start of the trail up to Pen y Fan.
Bridge And shortly after the gate is this bridge. There's also a ford, but at this time of year the water was a bit deep to try that.
Sunrise Shortly after I set off, the rising sun was just starting to catch the tops of the hills.
Pen y Fan I'd been able to see Pen y Fan as I set off, but soon the very top was shrouded in cloud.
Cloud And before long everything was shrouded in cloud. Doh! So much for yesterday's weather forecast of "95%+ chance of cloud free mountain tops with the little cloud around likely to be above the summits".
Corn Du Approaching Corn Du in the cloud. Corn Du is the peak next to Pen y Fan.
Corn Du On Corn Du.
Rocks This is the pile of rocks on the top of Corn Du, which presumably signifies the top.
Pen y Fan Rocks And a short while later I was on the top of Pen y Fan (because it's not very far from Corn Du). Fortunately the cloud was clearing a bit.
View from Pen y Fan This was the view from Pen y Fan looking towards Cribyn, which is where I was heading next.
Cribyn Trail As I descended Pen y Fan, I got a great view of the trail up Cribyn.
Sheep There were a lot of sheep about. No bears though. Which was a bit of a shame because in this desolate landscape you'd be able to see them coming from miles away.
Cribyn Trail The trail up Cribyn.
Ford Hmmm. I wasn't expecting that. Fortunately, it turned out that my boots would tolerate a few seconds of complete submersion in the water while I crossed.
Cliff The trail along Cribyn was rather close to the edge, where there was quite a big drop. You can see how in this poor visibility, people not paying attention could get themselves into difficulties.
Decision Point I was on the trail descending Cribyn and on the left there's the trail heading up the next peak - Fan y Big. If it had been clear I would have probably gone up there. However, on this day I decided to just head down the trail that you can see disappearing off to the right.
Trail and Reservoir This trail descended gently and passed an old disused reservoir, which used to be in the ring of trees that you can see in the distance off to the right.
Closed Well that was a bit unexpected. They've dug up a massive section of the valley floor and it's the bit that my trail used to go across. There was no option but to go around.
Stairs To be fair, they'd made quite an effort to maintain the walkers' access, although the temporary trail did go across some very boggy and muddy ground.
Ridge However, before long I was back on track and had ascended a most excellent and steep bit of trail to get up onto the ridge on the opposite side of the valley to where I'd been walking earlier.The far side of the valley was just starting to emerge from the clouds as the weather improved.
View Before long the views were excellent. This is looking back to where I've just come from.
Valley Another valley.
Peaks View From left to right, Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn.You can just see the steep side of Cribyn from here. Both Corn Du and Pen y Fan are like that on the other side.
View Another miscellaneous view looking back along the trail. The ring of trees surrounding the old reservoir is just visible in the distance.
Pen y Fan The end of my trail loop skirted past Pen y Fan. This would have been about midday and there were many, many, many people at the summit now and loads more on the way. i'm glad I came very early in the day in October.Back to my car, then a very pleasant 150 mile drive home in the sunshine. What a super trip.