Wilderness Wales


Day 3 - Carreg Cadno

Brecon Beacons

 Mynydd Du from Carreg Lwyd

Mynydd Du from Carreg Lwyd
Seven vertical 24mm shots stitched together, approx 200 degrees angle of view

I was feeling much better on the third day. The forecast said it was going to be mostly cloudy with some fog, so I'd planned to visit the waterfalls. However at sunrise there was hardly a cloud in the sky and it looked like it might be a good day for some mountain landscapes, so I changed my plans and decided to go hillwalking instead.

I didn't feel up to any hard walking yet though, so I chose Carreg Cadno as my destination - a rocky, craggy hill just south of Fan Gyhirych, easily accessible from Penwyllt. As I drove up the valley the cloud steadily increased, and just before I got there the sun disappeared and the Beacons were plunged into a dull grey murk, made worse by some fog in the air. At this point I wished I'd gone to the waterfalls as originally planned, but I had the wrong cameras with me so it was too late to change my plans. I decided to do the walk anyway.

Parking near the Caving Club buildings, I set off up the hill, with a temporary spell of sunshine to start me off. Soon though it was completely overcast, Fan Hir slowly disappeared in hill fog, and the visiblity decreased, making me wonder if the hill fog might reach me. At this point I expected a dreary day, as forecast, and assumed that I'd be taking very few photographs. But then I remembered my new infrared filter, so I thought I'd see how the dreary, misty Beacons looked through that. To my surprise they looked very good indeed, the white grass giving the impression of a snow covered landscape. It also cut through the haze in places showing distant hills which were virtually invisible to the naked eye.

As I passed the fenced off (for scientific purposes) limestone pavement area, a red kite soared slowly overhead. I made my way up to the first obvious crag, then looked around to try to identify the summit. There are so many crags around there that it's not at all obvious which is the highest, so in spite of previous visits I had to get out my map to estimate a grid ref which I put into my GPS to lead me to the correct one - my first October summit.

Carreg Cadno is a large craggy area of mostly millstone grit, carpeted with loose stones and heather. Like the nearby Carreg Goch, this area is reminiscent of the Rhinogs, but on a smaller scale. I took a number of long infrared exposures in the misty, murky light, and as I sat there in the chilly breeze, looking at the distant hill fog, alone in that desolate area free from people and insects, I felt happy and glad that summer had gone.

Strolling southwest, the sun once more began to put in an appearance. The fog gradually dispersed, the clouds became more interesting, and I started shooting normal colour photos once more. The endless crags and boulders gave endless photographic possibilites with scenic summits in the distance. By the time I reached Carreg Lwyd the sunny spells were becoming more frequent.

Carreg Lwyd is a superb photo viewpoint. It's a millstone grit "pavement" with a small cliff edge, and provides an excellent panoramic viewpoint for Mynydd Du, from Cribarth to Fan Hir. Unfortunately Penwyllt Quarry in the foreground spoils it a little. From there I made my way back down to my car. Just as I arrived a dozen walkers set off from the same car park in a large pack. Just as well I missed them. Definitely the best day so far.

Distance: 5.0km - Ascent: 210m - Effort Rating: 7.1 - Duration: 3 hours 46 minutes - Summits: 1