Beacons Way bivvy trip.
For a long time now I have wanted to walk the full length of the Beacons Way. Like lots of ideas though, it has been put aside until I can feasibly lose a few days to this goal. In the meantime, I thought I could maybe walk sections of it as and when I have some free time.
So with a free weekend on the cards, myself and a friend were dropped off at Storey Arms on a Friday night. We hiked up above the A470 to a spot on Graig Cerrig Gleisiad looking back towards Brecon, Pen Y Fan and Corn Du. The plan was to move further along the trail but the view and conditions were just to good.
We set up camp right on the edge of the ridge in the above image. I have to admit, the previous week I got a little stuck on the Alpkit website and somehow managed to add far too many goodies to my basket. This was my first time using a tarp and bivvy bag, so I was like a kid with a new toy. Once I had finished faffing with my tarp and enjoying the comfort of my new sleeping mat (reviews will be on here soon) I set about making some food and sitting back to enjoy the finest views available on a Friday evening.
Soon after we hunkered down for the night, the mist rolled in and the sunset from the night before seemed a distant memory. It always amazes me how the hills can give you so much and then in an instant it can take it away. In the morning there was a small break in the morning mist, little did we know that would be it until late morning.
So after a revelation of wild camp cuisine for breakfast, which consisted of toasting pita bread on my stove and adding the staple mountain food, that is peanut butter, washed down with a good coffee, we carried on with the trip.
My plan for the Saturday was to hike over to Llyn Y Fan Fawr and spend the night there. This was roughly a 32km hike from where we were, using mainly the Beacons Way as our route. It wasn’t until we reached the Monks Trod around 11am that we finally came out of the low cloud that had prevented us from having any views all morning. Stopping at the Afon Llia that flows in the valley, we stocked up on water and carried on over Careg Lwyd and down towards Penwyllt.
It just so happens that our arrival at Craig Y Nos was around lunch time, so it only seemed fair that we should treat ourselves to a couple of beers and some food at the newly reopened Tafarn Y Garreg. Once we managed to drag ourselves away from the pub, we headed across the road and up the path that follows the base of Fan Hir.
This was part of the route I was looking forward to as I had not walked this path before. The weather couldn’t have been better and after a couple of beers we just seemed to drift up the valley.
Finally after 32km since breakfast and our previous nights wild camp, we caught a glimpse of tonights home for the evening.
Llyn Y Fan Fawr is an amazing sight, this majestic lake nestled high up in the hills makes me smile every time I reach its shores. Although I have lost count how many times I have visited this location, this was to be the first that I would have spent the night here.
The conditions were near perfect as we set up camp. With crystal clear views across to Fan Gihirych and the Central Beacons, I just knew this was going to be a special night. The skies looked as though they would stay clear and the chance of seeing the night sky without any light pollution was looking good.
After a peaceful nights sleep, I woke up to the most amazing sunrise I could have asked for. I climbed up above the lake to get a better vantage point. Once again the the air was clear and the views near perfect. I could see over to the Black Mountains and the ancient Llangorse lake glistening in the morning sun.
Could you possibly find a more amazing place to sit and have your breakfast?
Once we packed our gear away and made sure the was no sign of our nights camp, we set off around to Llyn Y Fan Fach and made our way home.
Although we were only out for two nights this micro adventure seemed like a mini expedition and all of this was in what I am lucky enough to call my back yard. For those that follow my photography and hobbies you will know how much I love where I live, hopefully this will inspire you to either realise what you have near you or to grab the maps and plan your own mini adventure.