This was the millionth time we tried for this! We've spent endless weekends caching in the Western Brecon Beacons, but we'd never made it to the cache until today. Our most serious attempt was three weeks ago. We arrived around 4pm, and E was dubious about remaining daylight; but S was confident, so we set out. Unhappily, as we reached the top, the weather turned absolutely foul with driving rain and lots of fog. As dusk was approaching anyway, we turned back.
Today we had a much better hike! It stayed dry, although the wind was something fierce. As we walked up the road to the reservoir, we stopped for a few minutes to watch the trout leaping up in their tanks. We had lunch in the rescue shelter, and we were grateful for it. As we set out up the path to the top of the ridge, we were greeted by an exuberantly happy, small dog on its way down, soon followed by its owners. As we continued up the path, the wind grew stronger and stronger, nearly blowing us over! E was glad the wind was unusually from the east, or she was sure she'd have been swept off the cliff and into the water. However, as we reached the top, the wind force dramatically dropped from a stiff gale to a mere strong breeze.
We passed the first cairn, continued around the path, and then beelined for the cache location. S found the cache quickly! Thanks to Zetetic for replacing the black bag -- we'd intended to bring one for the purpose but only remembered when we were halfway down the motorway -- and congratulations on his sixtieth cache! We took the "Addicted to Geocaching?" badge and left Captain Bernard TB, who likes rivers and lakes and should be quite happy here, admiring all the little streams feeding the lake.
As the weather was quite good, with strong sunshine bursting through the clouds, we continued on to the cairn on Picws Du, where we were amazed to suddenly hear the Mountain Rescue helicopter zooming into range. E found the cairn a comfy place to sit and watch as the craft, which looks awfully much like a giant yellow grasshopper, circled the cauldron of the llyn, while S preferred standing near the edge for a better view. The helicopter spiralled around, descending, until it finally hovered right above a lush patch of long grass far below. The grass stayed flattened long after we left.
The views from Picws Du were fantastic today. We could see all the way to Carreg Cennen, standing tall in the mid-distance! We then followed the path on to Fan Foel's unusual cairn structure, then beyond to another cairn, and finally to the trig point on Fan Brycheiniog. We soaked up the views from here, leaning into the wind to see Llyn y Fan Fawr below; looking across east to Pen y Fan and Corn Du; looking north to the Usk Reservoir and Y Pigwn; looking west to Carreg Cennen; and looking south to see the dim, hazy sparkle of the Bristol Channel. We ate the last of our sandwiches in the round, stone wind shelter before heading back.
We walked back across and down Fan Foel to the path at Bwlch Blaen-Twrch (E ogling the red and green rocks), and zig-zagged our descent. We viewed some unusual land formations at the bottom, and S practiced his navigation techniques, locating the spot height of 550 m. We returned to the reservoir along the unusual canal which feeds it, noting the interesting tunnel (which makes a very interesting noise!) through which the Afon Sychlwch is diverted.
We arrived at the car as dusk was falling. Perfect timing and a fantastic day out! Thanks.