Pen Y FanLocation: Wales Brecon Beacons

Distance: 21km

Date: August 2015

Kit: Solo Tarp + Alpkit Hunka Bivvy + ALite Monarch Chair

Tenth Wild Camp

The mighty Brecon Beacons! Having spent some very painful hours in this area during my Army Selection over 12 years ago it was time to return for a more leisurely bimble over Peny Y Fan. Leaving the car in the nearby village of Llanfrynach Tim and I made our way down the road to pickup the footpath at (51°54’42.35″N,   3°20’47.27″W) to Bwlch y Ddwyallt which continued on to Fan Y Big. The path then drops down a few hundred metres before climbing back up to Cribyn. At this point we’d endured strong winds (30-40mph), driving rain and spent most of the time in cloud which hid the views of the valley. The path then climbs another few hundred metres to the summit of Pen Y Fan. Unfortualnly the views which I’m sure are amazing were hidden from view by the dense white cloud surrounding us. After taking a couple of selfies we dropped down off the north edge of Pen Y Fan and made our way into the valley down to the stream where we found a nice flat spot to camp for the night. The area which was very close to the stream had clearly been used before as we found litter and a discarded fire pit including metal mesh from a disposable BBQ! We picked up the litter and bagged it to take away, cleared the fire pit and distributed the stones surrounding it. I folded the mesh up and put it in my gash bag (folded down to the size of a pack of cards). Why people leave things in this state is completely beyond my comprehension. During the evening we were constantly attacked by midges due to being so close to the stream (need to get myself one of those silly head net things!). The evening was warm and dry and reasonably clear. After demolishing a couple of “Look What We Found” meals and a titanium mug..or two of red it was time for bed. I was testing my latest purchase, the Monarch Chair by ALite. It’s a brilliant bit on engineering and packs away small enough to slide into on of my side pockets on my rucksack. The weight and strength are very impressive weighing only 590grams and able to support 113kgs. It’s comfortable to sit on, provides back support and keeps you off the ground, a luxury most welcome after a long days hike. I’m so impressed with it I’d go as far to say it’s my best camping purchase made to date.  I probably got 3-4 hours of broken sleep as the midges kept eating me. The morning was perfect, a couple of cups of coffee and kit packed away we followed the footpath back to Llanfrynach. The drive back was clear and made it home for around midday.

Not many wild camps are as perfect as this, the only negative point was the low cloud that kept the view hidden from the tops.

Lessons learnt:

1. Midges are the worst, invest in a silly head net thing….

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