Day 4: Llangynidr to Storey Arms
Finish point: Storey Arms (SN 982203)
Distance: 23.5km / 14.5 miles
Ascent: 1110m / 3640ft
Time: 7 hours
Facilities at startpoint: Cafe, Car Park, Toilets
Day four is the most strenuous day, but you will be rewarded by spectacular views. The climb from Blaen y glyn to Craig y Fan Ddu is steep and demanding, so breaks are inevitable but these allow you to take in the views.
Once at the summit you follow the edge of the escarpment to a waterfall that plunges over the edge. In winter the water freezes to form icicles. It is worth the short diversion to Fan y Big where you can stand on the ‘Diving Board’, a rock that juts out on which you can stand. After descending to the ‘Gap Road’ there is another stiff climb to Pen y Fan. At 886m it is the highest peak in southern Britain.
This is a stunning day over the most spectacular part of the Beacons. It’s a gem, but be prepared – it is long and you climb high! Leave Llangynidr along the canal to the west, cross the footbridge by the lock and head up-hill though woods and fields to a lane. Head left along this, then turn off right onto a track that leads steadily uphill through a farm to the top of the ridge with great view over Talybont reservoir.
Take the wide track to the left around the side of the hill and along the ridge before dropping down to the right into the forest and so joining the Taff Trail. As you head up to the road look out for the waterfalls on the other side of the valley.
At the car park follow the steep path up past more waterfalls, pausing frequently to admire the views, and along the steep edge of Craig y Fan Ddu. At the stream crossing, turn left on the less obvious path to the pile of stones, then across the hill and along the equally steep escarpment edge to Fan y Big with its iconic ‘Diving Board’ hanging above the valley, scene of many photos.
Heading left and steeply down to the ‘Gap Road’, you miss the climb to Cribyn by going round on its left but the spectacular climb up to Pen y Fan will test your legs. Follow the major path down from the summit but fork right for great views from Corn Du. From here, head south and steeply down to the National Trust’s surfaced path leading to Pont ar Daf Car Park on the A470. A footpath at the far end takes you to the roadside at Storey Arms (now an Education Centre) and the halfway point of the Beacons Way.
Although the Youth Hostel is close by, this can be full so you may need a bus or taxi to get to your accommodation.