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Attempting to simulate our charity trek by hill bagging. Unfortunately with one injured team member we had to dog leg our main peak in order to get back to the car before last light. Safety first as always.
Hill mist all day long seemed to stay at 450m and when you met it, the temperature dropped considerably.
Hazards and warnings
Babies heads (squaddie terminology for the great big grass humps that hamper your progress). And also the many streams that are hidden by the babies heads.
I seriously wouldn't aim to repeat this route again. For the main part this route is extremely enjoyable with a great ascent onto Fan Nedd overlooking the steep drop into the valley at Yr Allt. I would however look to complete the route onto Fan Gyhirych and next time stick to the paths as much as possible. Some of this terrain was disgusting!
We started along the track from the main road and up along the path that we then came off in order to follow the tree line and hit our first peak Fan Bwlch Chwyth. The ground was a vision of what was to come with our first meeting with the infamous babies heads, although we didn't know it at the time, there was worse to come. Along the woodland the hike was made trickier by the boggy land caused by the cows. The trig point was hit after our compass bearing got us there (or thereabouts!). From there we aimed South to handrail the fence and wall that would guide us round to Yr Allt and aboe the vally onto the very enjoyable ascent onto Fan Nedd, before which you again have to deal with cow trodden terrain extremely boggy in sections and some fence climbs. Before you hit the peak, you are first met by one of most spectacular cairns I've seen amongst the Beacon hills. I'm sure the views are amazing here as well, although this time we couldn't see past our hands through the mist. As we dropped down towards the Roman Road and below the mist Fan Llia came into view, a cracking sight having walked along the plateau there two weeks previously.
We then followed Sarn Helen over the remains of the Roman Camp (some fly tiping as well - why?), through the woodland and out infront of the Ancient monument of Maen Madoc www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php
A decent path then drops towards the farm house and river, crossable by ford or with dry feet over the new bridge! Pefect chance here for a brew whilst sheltered from the wind. There's plenty of evidence of game shooting here, so don't be too worried if it sounds more like the Helman Province. The path continues until a derelict farm house along the Beacons way, where the path becomes a horse trail and jumps from decent well worn grass to boggy sections amongst the heather.
Map checks can be done against the stone walls although the path is east to stick to even in poor visibility, some of them are long enough to wonder who the hell built them and how long it took them! We diverted off the Beacons path in order to bag our main peak for the day, although with time pushing on and one of the team struggling we were beginning to think we'd have to mark another way back.
I wish we'd decided earlier though, after tredging across the worst babies heads yet and up onto the next path morale was low. We would easily have hit Fan Gyhirych in the light, but none of us fancied the descent in the dark. The decision was made to handrail the fence line down off the hillside towards the dismantled tramway. This minor path did not materalise through the biggest babies heads I've ever seen and hidden streams proving more than a hindrance and can be ankle breakers. Slightly further down the hill was the raod previously used for access to the quarry, this does require some care dropping down the wall and you may need to look for an easier drop down. It's then an easy walk along the road back to the car.
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