Following on from last week's walk in the Black Mountains, Sarah and I decided to take advantage of another fantastic weather window and head over to Brecon Beacons for the day.
Sarah was having problems with the first set of boots that we bought her (heel slippage) and has decided to try out another pair (the ladies equivalent of mine). Taking into account the fantastic weather and the need to give her new boots and good breaking in, we decided to try and complete the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe. The guide book suggested a six hour round trip over 15.3k. Given that we only arrived at 1pm we has to get our skates on. As it happened, the whole circuit only took 4 hours and 45 minutes.
The horseshoe circuit felt very different to last week's walk in the Black Mountains. It felt much more like a walk in the Lakes or Snowdonia. The hills were significantly drier underfoot and the ridgeline walks more exposed. I can safely say that I wasn't expecting the level of exposure you feel on the climb up Cribyn (795m). The route we approached from felt extremely exposed and in the strong winds towards the summit we both felt a little on edge (as can be seen in the scuff marks on the toe box of Sarah's boots).
Once up Cribyn, the paths were much more established. The steep descent into the cwm between Cribyn and Pen y Fan is well constructed, as is the climb up to the summit. I was surprised at how few people there were on Pen y Fan (886m). I was expecting it to be a real scrum given that it is the start of the Easter holidays (and a wonderful day) but the summit only had a few people scattered about.
The short drop down and up to Corn Du (873m) only took 10 minutes or so. The views down to Llyn Cwm Llwch lake were stunning and the wind was picking up; so we decided to descend into the valley, our route back to the car. The ridgeline walk to the memorial to Tommy Jones was exceptionally windy (ass can be seen in the photo). However, when we dropped past the lake the winds died down and the final walk in to the road was fantastic. The walk had a sting in the tail with a 2k road walk uphill to the car. We were both craving the second half of our sandwiches so 2k seemed to take forever.
Another 3 2500' peaks down now...only the Black Mountain to go now. Looks like we are going to have to plan a trip to Snowdonia soon.