FKT: Rhys Powell - Carmarthenshire Fans (United Kingdom) - 2021-01-02

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1h 45m 32s
GPS track(s)

As is often the case in the Brecon Beacons, the forecast was trumped by the unpredictability of the weather in the hills.

I began at the information board in the Llyn y Fan Fach car park and ascended to Llyn y Fan Fach in clear conditions. However, as soon as I began my ascent of Picws Du, the weather turned sour. I faced complete whiteout as heavy snowfall mixed with dense fog, making navigation tricky in places. The ascent of Fan Brycheiniog, in particular, was tough; with all signs of the trail buried under heavy snow, I resorted to following a compass bearing to reach the Fan Foel cairn and then hugged the ridgeline to ensure I reached the trig point.

The descent to Llyn y Fan Fawr was equally slow-going. Picking my way down the icy steps, I ended up sliding down portions of the slope on my bum. One upside of the wintry conditions was that the bog surrounding Llyn y Fan Fawr had frozen over, allowing me to regain some time as I skirted the lake without the usual puddle-hopping.

Returning to Llyn y Fan Fach, the trail was easier to spot (thanks to the footprints of the intrepid hikers ahead of me) and I managed to regain some more time with only a few stumbles in the deeper snow drifts. A couple of falls resulted in some bruising, but nothing more serious.

The descent from Llyn y Fan Fach back to the car park was not nearly as fast as I'd hoped. I'd intended to claw back some precious seconds here, but while I was on the mountains the track had iced over. Some (unintentional) downhill skating got my back to the car park just outside of my 1 hour 45 min goal time.

All in all, not the smooth ride I had hoped for, but a valuable learning experience nonetheless. I'll return for another attempt in more favourable conditions!