Thursday, 29 June 2017

Brecon Beacons Wild Camp 13-14/6/17

I had been packed and ready for a jaunt for the past five weeks yet thunderstorms and generally awful weather had coincided with my days off. I'd also been keen to try a new tent that I'd had for a while (a Terra Nova Voyager 2.2).
Armed with a mixed bag forecast I arrived at Llyn y Fan Fach car park. It was overcast but fairly bright as I set off from the car.

The track towards the reservoir was at an almost perfect incline, one where a steady trudge equalled a good rate of ascent.
Small waterfalls cascaded noisily beside me and the occasional Foxglove added some vibrant colour into the equation.

As I reached the level of the reservoir a series of bright flashes caught my eye, baffled I carried on upwards. When I was able to look down I saw that a photoshoot was taking place beside the reservoir.
Cottongrass was plentiful as I left the track behind and continued up the hillside.

As I strolled along something lurched from the grass and took me by complete surprise, upon closer inspection it was a rather pale frog going about its business.

The route up took me alongside some strange wooden barriers. A couple taking a break further up asked me if I knew what the barriers were for, I said I didn't but I had a suspicion they were to control erosion, but if they were why had I not seen anything like it before?

Once up onto the edge the walking was effortless as I meandered my way around towards Picws Du.

Llyn y Fan Fach.

The path is quite close to the edge but it didn't feel exposed and there was plenty of room to give it a wide berth if need be.

Sheep were outnumbering people so far although I do hate it when they scarper towards a steep edge with their young.

The view back towards my start point.

As I left Picws Du I had a brief look around for camp spots but decided to continue on towards Fan Brycheiniog.

There were more barriers on the steep descent as I headed towards Fan Brycheiniog.

I veered off the main path as a fast flowing stream would be my last chance to collect flowing water before the summit. Sheep were grazing nearby so I continued up past them to avoid any unwanted contaminants.

Sawyer squeeze and Platypus reservoir filled.

Looking back to Picws Du I could see a large group of people on the top heading my way.
Once I had made sure they were keeping to the main path I sat down for some wraps (as per usual the bloody seal broke on the olives!).

The large group of people invaded the summit for lunch with the usual selfish ignorance. Once I had fired off an awkward point blank summit shot I sat some distance away debating a spot to camp.

Fan Brycheiniog summit.
After the "summit slugs" had disappeared I wandered back over for a couple of shots. Looking down at the lake I noticed a tent already pitched at its northern end.
My current location wasn't suitable for a camp so I made my way along the edge to Fan Foel.

Picws Du.
The views from the west side of Fan Foel were stunning but annoyingly I couldn't find any ground level or flat enough to make camp. A wander over to the east side revealed a large flat area with short grass which was ideal for pitching on.
I pitched the tent and got all my stuff organised for my stop.
A Bla Band boil in the bag meal was had for tea, though I didn't realise how big these pouches were till I struggled to fit it into my stove!

Thankfully the weather followed the forecast and the cloud slowly began to clear. I left the tent and went for a wander.

As the cloud gave way to blue sky and the sun dipped ever lower it brought out the rusty red colours of the surrounding rock.

It looked like I was going to be denied a nice sunset but as it finally dipped below a large cloud it cast a beautiful warm light on nearby peaks.

I cracked open the wine and sipped away with a smile on my face, I almost felt sorry for the person pitched beside the lake as they were missing the best part of the day.

The wind picked up during the night and the odd strong gust shook the tent and woke me up on a couple of occasions. I was knackered from the long day previous so I didn't bother with any night shots or sunrise.
My loose plan involved camping by the lake for the second night, but with a tent already pitched there (midweek too) it put me off.
I decided to descend and head around to the front of Picws Du, hopefully I'd find a place to camp in front of this awesome looking peak.

The sun was beating down and I soon sat down for a swig of water and a look at the map. A waterfall broke the silence some distance away and I planned to go and check it out later.

A brief walk around found a nice spot to camp with my own personal stream flowing a few metres away. Once camp was set up I put the wine in the stream to chill, grabbed my wash bag and went for a stroll. The waterfall was found and I cautiously stripped off and dived underneath the lovely cool water. It wasn't as cold as I expected but this was probably masked by the pain of walking on lots of rocks and pebbles.
Once refreshed and back at camp I rigged up a clothes line to dry my sodden gear and noticed a couple of people descending exactly where I showered no more than 10 minutes ago!


I decided on a Real Turmat meal for tea and boiled some water. When emptying the boiling water it deformed the packet slightly and a fair amount sloshed over my hand. The pain was gone in an instant so I made sure the meal was properly stirred, sealed and then set my stopwatch. While the meal was hydrating I dunked my hand in the freezing cold stream for a couple of minutes which did the trick, I couldn't see or feel any evidence of the burn.

The last of the previous nights wine was finished off as I sat on a rock and dipped my feet in the freezing cold stream.

A sense of scale pitched beside Picws Du.
Evening was starting to come in so I wandered from camp to take some photographs and was disappointed to find some cooking gear left to rust. What made it even more annoying was that I hadn't seen any other rubbish on my walk up here and while that's how it should be, in reality that rarely happens.

Leave no trace.

There was no sunset as such but the evening light was fantastic, giving the surrounding peaks a real richness and depth.

The wind gradually faded to nothing and a few midges came out to annoy me so I sought refuge in the tent.
A few posts on social media later and it was time for bed.

I popped out at 2am to take some sky shots but a combination of short summer darkness hours and bright Moon made photography almost impossible.

During the early hours the rain came as expected and I lazed in the tent till it had moved on.
I packed away mid morning and set off back towards the track.

Left no trace, just a patch of flattened grass.
It was turning into a nice day as I strolled back to the car, content with two great nights in a stunning location.

A flock of locals passed me on the final stretch back to the car and I felt grateful for some much needed outdoor time.
Hopefully the weather continues improving as it's been one of my poorest years for camping yet.

One final thing; if you take the time to enjoy our fantastic countryside then do the decent thing and take your litter with you. Leave no trace ;)