|Icy cold January winds on the slopes of the Brecons|
Last Friday a select group joined the queues on the M4 towards Wales and the Brecon Beacons YHA hostel. This comfortable old farmhouse is in the middle of nowhere yet only a short drive from Merthyr Tydfil. Two miles from the nearest building and hidden from the road it is easy to miss in the dark.
A range of accommodation including rooms as well as dormitories, a lounge with comfortable leather sofas and a log fire, and a few beers makes for a good venue. They can also provide a cooked breakfast and a three course dinner on request.
At the bottom of the back field is the Taff trail - at this point the old post route - which leads to one of the start points to Pen Y Fan.
Heading up from the Storey Arms Centre we had a wide circular route planned taking in Pen Y Fan and some other tops to the east of the road before crossing to other side and returning on the ridge to the west.
|Simon in the lead, still optimistic that we will complete his well-planned walk|
|Heading into the cloud that obscures the way ahead|
|A pow-wow at the top of Corn Dhu results in a revised plan|
|Time to reach for the crampons on the icy path down|
|RMC members examine the quality of the Welsh snow|
|Fan Fawr give a chance to use the ice axe|
A circular walk, much shorter than planned but nevertheless a good taste of winter conditions in the Brecons.
On Sunday the weather prospect was better and four of the group headed elsewhere to use their bikes. Three of us drove round to Taf Fechan Forest for a rewarding tramp to Pen Y Fan via Cribyn on the east side, returning on the western ridge from Corn Du.
It was quiet on our side of the hill with only a couple of cars in the car park when we arrived.
|From slope of Cribyn looking towards Taf Fechlan Forest|
|Pen Y Fan from Cribyn|
|On top of Pen Y Fan looking North West|
|The Swarm advances from Corn Dhu|
From Cribyn we had extensive views and a sharp drop down to the slope of Pen Y Fan. It was a surprise to arrive here and find the summit cairn area empty of people. This was not to last for long. To the west swarming over and around Corn Dhu was a mass of ant like dots - hundreds of people of all ages many with dogs - heading along the icy path to Pen Y Fan.
|The Race to the top of Pen Y Fan|
|Just below Corn Dhu summit looking west Fan Fawr in middle distance|
|The Ridge route S from Corn Dhu|
|The ridge from Corn Dhu - a break in its defences provided a route down with deep snow|
|Crossing the valley at Neuadd|