Wet and Cold – December 31st 2013

A different walk for a change today, planned out and ready to go.

Starting at the Storey Arms car park, crossed the road to the phone box ( Thats the easy bit ) and start climbing.  As usual, the ascent rises quickly and when you think you’ve crested the first section, think again, theres another 300m left before you finally crest the first part of the hill. Continued down, though the gate and down into ( literally, I slipped at the bottom and just slid into..) the stream which is now flowing nicely and around 2′ deep. I then continued to start climbing again towards Corn Du. The weather was very wet at 9am this morning and cold. 3’C with a wind chill of -9’C. The mist kept coming and going so very view opportunities to snap the usual spectacular views. The last 100M was arduous this morning, the cold really making my ankle painful and with a right to left wind all the way up the legs were unusually tired.

The top of Corn Du was blustery with slush ice everywhere making it slippery underfoot. I then took another bearing and headed of to Pen-Y-Fan. Quick Photo at the top before heading down Jacobs ladder.

Once at the base I headed towards the Roman road and continued keeping the Neuadd Reservoir on my right,  then continued on until the tree line before dropping down to the crossing point that takes you over start of the reservoir.

I headed up the short sharp climb up to the ridge line, kept putting one foot in front of the other until I reached the top. I have to say I needed to take a breather after that climb. I turned right and walk along the ridge for the first time this year but unfortunately no views to photo.

Ahead of me was Corn-Du and Pen-Y-Fan.  I decided to go around the back of Corn Du and ascent it again before dropping down. This is where I cocked up. The mist was down as I headed down the path, head down against the wind and sleet. Whats wrong with that you think… well, without taking a bearing and having my compass out while the mist had defended I ended up walking down toward the Tommy Jones Obelisk. I realised after about 50om when I realised I was about a meter and a half away from the mountain edge looking down onto the lake. That shouldn’t be there if I’m heading down to the storey arms by the correct route. So at this Point I did a quick map and bearing check and headed diagonally across the peat area to pick up the correct patch before finishing off the walk, 9 miles in total. I have to say that i felt every one of the 896 metres / 2939 feet of Pen Y fan today… twice.

Happy New year to all the readers

Weather over the next 4 days is sleet and snow. So we’ll see what the going is like at the weekend when I head back up there again.

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Iconic Gate

View heading up Pen Y Fan

View heading up Pen Y Fan

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Water crossing before heading up to Corn Du

Water crossing before heading up to Corn Du

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Pen Y Fan – December 27th 2013

A quick update on todays endeavours. Simple route today; Storey arms, Corn Du, Pen Y Fan, Down Jacobs Ladder , back up and all in reverse.

The snow of yesterday had largely melted due to the rain overnight. Temperature at the Storey Arms at 9am was 7.5’C with a howling gale. The wind today was going to be the big factor.

In the valleys its was nice, albeit with the occasional squall and hail but it was fine, out of the valleys and on the exposed hillsides its was blustery. Thankfully weighted down by the Bergen I had a little steadier footing when the wind hit but I was lifted on my feet twice.

The route around the right side of Corn Du onto Pen Y Fan was one of the more exposed area’s as usual. Going underfoot was slushy with 9″ of soft melting snow to contend with.

The hail on top of the fan blasted the skin on my face, thankfully the squalls only lasted 5-10 minutes at a time.

The decent and ascent of Jacobs ladder was nerve tingling. With the wind swirling around from Corn Du and a near vertical drop on the side of Jacobs I certainly got close to nature a few times, I wasn’t against a bit of rock hugging today. The ascent was hard due to the snow meting and making any foot purchase very slippery, so when the wind hit there was no real purchase to brace with.

Other than that, all in all a nice day. Will post again Monday or Tuesday next week after the next venture up.

Enjoy the Pics…..

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Winters coming to Pen Y Fan – December 22 2013

I headed off to the Storey arms with some trepidation this morning. The weather reports were expecting heavy snow on the Brecon’s and as I’m driving the heavens opened and down came the rain. Still, I decided to carry on. Four weeks to go before the Fan Dance I can’t afford to lose any training time if I’m to get my fitness up over the next 4 weeks. The rain continued all the way to Merthyr but then the sun came out and I felt ready to go.

This weeks training was a little different. I started at the Storey arms and continued to the gate and down to the water crossing, then instead of continuing up to Corn Du I bore right following the stream until I got to a water intersection, then headed on up towards Corn Du between the normal storey arms route and the Brecon way. The reason… I wanted to get some photo’s of the water falls.

The going underfoot was very soft and boggy. Going uphill with this ground was hard going, I’d anticipated this so reduced the distance I was going to do. Once I got the images I continued up the Brecon way to Corn du and Pen Y Fan, down Jacobs ladder and straight back up again, before heading back down to the storey arms. I headed down by cresting Corn Du and bearing right down to Tommy Jone’s Obelisk. From there I headed diagonally across the marsh and picked up the route back to the storey arms at the water crossing.

Weather was extremely changeable, sunny, sleet, hail and snow, together with high winds made for a typical Brecon’s winter day but far from typical training.

Note : The top of Corn Du was just starting to pool with slushed ice at midday, so it won’t be long before thats solid. Pen Y Fan was icy with remnants of snow. With four weeks to go I’m sure the landscape will continue to change and become more challenging. The wind to the right of Corn Du heading to Pen Y Fan and the decent from the top of Corn Du was very high, it made for a slightly hairy decent and balance was key.

Enjoy the images…

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Pen Y Fan – 15th December 2013

brecons

Well back up training again. Beautiful red sky as I drove across to the Storey Arms. This is the view behind me on the car park as I faced the Red telephone box for another time. Good start with the weather, clear sky, sun coming out, a little misty. Going was hard and I’m again concerned with my ankle. After cresting Corn-Du I could feel the Shin splints coming back and the foot aching horribly when pointed in a downward direction. I decided with another 4 weekends of training available I would cut short the walk today and keep strengthening the foot, so headed down back to the car park at a gentle jog.

It was at that point the weather started changing. Saw a couple of other lads with Bergens looking like they were in training heading up. By the time I got back to the car park the rain was in full flow.  So the old tale of “Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning” was true today. The Bergen was all prepped for a longer day on the fan with all the wind and waterproofs at the ready.

I’m going to have to reset my time goals for the fan dance challenge. The ankle is not permitting me to do any serious cardio work so i’m expecting a more arduous challenge than I would have otherwise planned for due to fitness but I’m not giving up, especially with the fun raising for the families in need of accommodation at Bristol Children’s hospital.

If the weather and sky is clear I’ll be up on the fan on wednesday night to try to take a night time photo with a full moon, Its another way to get motivated for the training 🙂

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