An alternative Boxing Day

From the top of Garn Wen on Christmas Day I could see not only a cap of snow on the top of the Sugar Loaf Mountain near Abergavenny but also to the north west a snow covered ridge in the core of the Brecon Beacons.

That was my target for Boxing Day.  Recent rain and low temperatures may not have brought snow to 425-metre Garn Wen near the house but in the core of the Beacons, more than 300 metres higher, the additional 2oC drop in temperature would have meant that the precipitation fell as snow.

It had.  The sun was shining and not surprisingly the car parks in the col were full to overflowing.  As is usual at any time of year most people were heading up the main path to Corn Du and Pen y Fan though with snow right down to road level not a few, mainly young families, were staying on the slopes close to the car park with sledges.

Though my inclination is always to go up the highest peaks I decided against it because of the numbers trudging up the 2-metre wide path, because the two main peaks were in cloud, and because with the sun in the west the better photographs would be taken looking east towards them.

To the west of the road the 734 metre (2,408 ft) Fan Fawr (Pronounced ‘Van Vowr’ and meaning Big Peak) looked a good option.  Once past the tobogganists by the car park I saw only one person in the next 3 hours as I climbed to the top in snow varying between 6 inches and a foot.

Walking in snow is heavy going compared with walking the barren mountains in Greece but I loved it and it was an easy introduction to the skiing and trekking I plan to be doing in the Canadian Rockies in less than three weeks time.

Looking to the top of the the  Fan Fawr ridge from part way up

Looking to the top of the the Fan Fawr ridge from part way up

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Corn Du emerges from its cloud cover

The car park and Storey Arms outdoor activity centre with Corn Du above

The car park and Storey Arms outdoor activity centre with Corn Du above

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Looking South from Fan Fawr

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A small stream meanders across the summit plateau, eventually draining into the rivers of Waterfall Country below.

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On the summit plateau, the only person I saw in nearly 3 hours

Tall photographer on the summit, extra tall because only 5 days after the Winter Solstice

Tall photographer on the summit, extra tall because only 5 days after the Winter Solstice

A photo stop part way down the steep end of the ridge

A photo stop part way down the steep end of the ridge

Grass tussocks still stick out of the snow

Grass tussocks still stick out of the snow

Woodland edge felled for road improvements below Corn Du

Woodland edge felled for road improvements below Corn Du

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This entry was posted in Hiking, Landscape, Mountains, Wales, Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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