I arrived at Llanddeusant youth hostel with Keith and Steve at about 4 O’Clock on the Friday afternoon. Weather looked promising, and we had fantastic views to Pen y Fan on route, and to Bannau Sir Gaer on arrival. Aware that no others would arrive until probably around 9pm we settled in, and went to the Cross in at about 17:30 for food. Had a good few pints and a steak, and returned to the hostel around 9pm. Llanddeusant Youth Hostel.
To my relief the weather looked exceptionally good on the Saturday morning. To my dismay, Bannau Sir Gaer was well and truly in the clouds. I had taken the decision to wear my new winter boots in a conscious attempt to accustom myself to walking on the hills in them. All told they performed very well. I did gain a couple of blisters from them, though nothing major. They are much heavier than my other boots though, and I did gain a thigh strain, but again, now’t major.
The route left the youth hostel, following a country road for a mile or so before taking to the hillside. There was no part of this route that I would describe as steep. It is though a very muddy route, and I came to regret not wearing gaitors. The route winds along the ridge of Bannau Sir Gaer above the two lakes of Llyn y Fan – Fach and Fawr. I would like to say that both lakes are fantastic. As I at no point could see either of them, I can’t, not that I’m bitter!
We ascended the ridge to the top of Waun Lefrith, 677m, up then to Picws Du at 749m. We paused briefly here for a bite to eat before proceeding upwards. It did get quite cold as the wind picked up, and the drizzle became heavier. We ascended to the 781m cairn at Fan Foel, from where we would later descend, and up to the highest point of the ridge – the 802m top of Fan Brycheiniog. Most of us proceeded then on the the 761m top of Fan Hir. There is no cairn on this part of the ridge, and it was only when we had descended a little and checked the GPS that we knew we had topped out.
We reascended the ‘steep’ bit that we had descended, but as it was stepped the reascent was very easy compared to going down. We gathered those that we had left in the summit shelter of Fan Brycheiniog before descending to Fan Foel, and slowly descending to the youth hostel. Only at the very end did we come out of the clouds. The photos taken are poor, and there are few of them as the camera was playing up.
I found the descent quite difficult with the thigh strain, though I couldn’t really say it was painfull at any point. I quite enjoyed another steak in the Cross Inn, and a few more pints. I asked for medium rare, and whilst it had been exceptionally good the evening before, if this one had been any rarer it would have been running around my plate! For some reason I was asleep for 9:30, and slept for about 12 hours. Really enjoyed the walk though, despite the weather.