Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales and the southern United Kingdom, situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
We left the “new” Brecon Beacons Youth Hostel in a glorious morning. It’s new because it has only been called “Brecon Beacons” for a couple of months. Its old name was Llwyn-y-Celyn.
It had been raining. The ground was wet and muddy. My shoes were still wet from the day before. Sinking in mud and deceptive wet grass always annoys me.
Walking along the path, we reached Storey Arms sweating and amazed by how warm the sun was at the end of February, with the bottom of our trousers rolled up to almost knee height. The refreshment van girl was just opening the hatch. We turned on the path to Pen y Fan with a few Welsh cakes wrapped in cling film. This was the second time we’d bought Welsh cakes from her.
The weather was amazing. The path was clear and dry. My shoes had been in a drying cupboard all night in the youth hostel, but they dried faster and better in a few minutes.
A few people overtook, shot past and disappeared ahead of us. But we didn’t care. Looking back, we could see the mountain and reservoir we walked the day before. Every few steps gave us a better and grander view. We kept stopping and taking photos, wishing we could walk backwards.
Until all of a sudden, we could see Corn Du in the distance. We didn’t look back any more.
It looked like miles away. But it got closer every a few minutes as if it was coming towards us too! We noticed a few small birds dashing up from the grass and disappearing like a flash, a few puddles which were made of ice, and a few small dots jumping up and down on the crown of Corn Du. We were suddenly almost there!
After this point, the view of every step was breath-taking. We tried not to get too excited and fall off the shoulder of the crescent-shape ridge! The line of ice and snow looked amazing!
We arrived on top of Corn Du and we could see miles away! There were a lot of people on top of Corn Du just like the magazine said, giving it a “festival” feel. It was definitely our best mountain top experience! The view was clear but the wind didn’t blow us over.
Ice hung on the end of grass in the shade, reflected the sunshine like crystals.
I loved the shape of the rocks facing north.
In a few minutes time, we were on Pen y Fan.
Looking back to Corn Du and Pen y Fan. An amazing view.
In just a week later, one family who lives near the Brecon Beacons sent us a photo of the same view. It was completely white and looked freezing cold, but a different kind of beauty and wonder.
The walking mileage of the day was 8.8 miles.