I felt like having a day on the hills after having a particularly busy and stressful week in work. I’d already been up to the bothy on Fan Brychieniog and Llyn y Fan Fawr the previous Thursday as the sunset looked promising but more to the point, I needed to get out.
Helen dropped me off at a point alongside the immature River Tawe on the “old Trecastle Road” at Grid Ref SN853217 sometime near 10.45am. Western Beacons (formerly Bridgend) Mountain Rescue Team were parked up and a Police helicopter was making low passes along the ridge of Fan Hir. “Mmm…..there may be a chance of some excitement” I thought. Not to be though, it turned out to be an exercise. Initially I had visions of taking part in some line searching again – just like the good old days. Ah well, at least nobody was injured.
So…after a quick chat with some of the team, I set off up towards Llyn y Fan Fawr. Many of you will know the area I’m talking about I’m sure; a few hundred yards up the river, you cross an improvised ford that has been created by walkers and farmers on their quads. From here most people follow a well trodden path across the boggy marsh before the hill steepens. I’ve at last found a drier route a hundred yards or so to the left, which follows up the right hand side of a deepish valley containing a small stream that flows into the Tawe below. Above, the path meets Nant y Llyn, which flows directly from Llyn y Fan Fawr so I follow this to the lake shore with dry boots. This route has the added attraction (for me) of being less popular with the increasing number of visitors to the lake and hills beyond.
Behind me you can see part of the Fan Brycheiniog bothy. Not a Bothy in the true sense of the word but a partial shelter that I have used for over 20 years to have a cuppa in when the weather is doing its best to blow me off the escarpment. I've tried to find out more about this particular construction but there seems to be very little written about it. I know that there are many similar shelters dotted around Mynydd Du, some of which were used as shelters by farmers and drovers. Others were recorded as being used as shooting hides in the 18th and 19th centuries. Also in view is the "Trig Point" and Twr y Fan Foel.
At this point you also get your first full view of the legendary Llyn y fan Fach, which is about 160m below and to the West. This is said to be the home of the “lady of the lake”. You can read a full recount of the legend in my subsequent blog
Llyn y Fan Fach is the more accessible and therefore more popular of the two lakes. At its dam, there is a true bothy available to be used by anyone as an overnight shelter/ refuge with nothing but a roof, fireplace and a bench for comfort. These bothys are becoming increasingly popular with mountain bikers as many are located on bridleways.
I have many more photographs of both lakes on my flickr page (link top right of this page).