TrekFest Training Round 2 – Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

More ‘harsh terrain’ training in prep for June’s mammoth charity hike took place on Saturday and, this time, we decided to make things a little harder by deciding to take on the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge route and by adding on an additional 1.4miles. This pushed the day’s route to 10.4 miles. I believe the saying goes something like “Practice Hard, Play Easy”…that was the idea anyway. Thankfully, the weather decided to give s a helping hand and made things even tougher…

The terrain for the day was to be a mix of steep climbs, mountain paths, as well as a mix of scrub and boggy marshland. Add to that approximately 20ft of visibility throughout most of the day, gale force winds, -0°C temperatures, ice, snow (even our water bottles started freezing up)…well, you get the picture. It was harsh. Proper harsh.

That said, the winds did die down and the fog did dissipate, and we got to enjoy some amazing views! A tiring trek, but still no blisters…so it looks like we’re going to have to push harder again next week…

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Training Distance Covered To Date- 17.4miles

The route – Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge, plus some! 10.4 miles…
20130112_Training_Route

Heading off from the car at the Lower Neuadd, and conditions were as foggy as last week. Unable to see the ridge we were headed for, we hit the map for directions… — Lower Neuadd Reservoir, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

The fog cleared for a few seconds, and we could see the route we had taken was bang on target…but things were about to get steep! — Ascending Graig Fan Ddu, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Did I mention the first climb was steep? We practically reverted to using our hands to ascend…it was a tough slog. The gale force winds were so strong a waterfall was actually blow back UP the mountain! So tired on the climb, I didn’t both with a photo! — Gareth Rowlands ascending Graig Fan Ddu, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

On the summit of Graig Fan Ddu, and a 2 mile hike across Rhiw yr Ysgyfarnog and Craig Gwaun Taf before before hitting our target of Bwlch Duwynt. — Graig Fan Ddu, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Things started getting a little cold. Even our walking poles started icing up! — Craig Gwaun Taf, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

As I said, things started getting cold… — Craig Gwaun Taf, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Finally at Bwlch Duwynt, we stop for a break and realise both of our packs have iced up… — Bwlch Duwynt, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

If this was a movie, it’d probably be called “The Most Awesome Hiker Known to Man”. Before hitting Corn Du, we decide to add three miles to our 7.4 mile journey by heading down to the Storey Arms burger stand… — Descending Bwlch Duwynt, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Just below the Storey Arms Outdoor Centre, there’s a burger stand. Probably the best burger stand in the world! — Storey Arms Outdoor Education Centre.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

From the Storey Arms we head up Y Gyrn trail towards Corn Du. This trail wasn’t too bad, but the final 73 meters to the summit was HARD. With the ice and gale force winds really becoming a problem we practically reverted to ‘crawling’ tactics — Y Gyrn Trail, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

We didn’t take any photos on Corn Du due to the high winds. It was tough to even take a step forward at several occasions. Here Gareth Rowlands (also taking part in the 54miler) hits the summit of Pen y Fan. — Pen Y Fan summit
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Yours truly on the summit…
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Pen y Fan, 886m/2907ft. Second time in two weeks…
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

It got THAT cold, that our water bottles actually started icing up. Great. — Pen Y Fan.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Walking down from Pen y Fan along Craig Cwm Sere the fog FINALLY (FINALLY!!!!), for the first time in the day, clears! Woohoo!! Cribyn from Pen y Fan. — Craig Cwm Sere, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Looking down on Cribyn from Pen y Fan. If I look tired, it’s because I am tired…this is after 7 miles of gale force winds, ice and snow. Starting to get tired… — Craig Cwm Sere, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Descent from Pen y Fan done, we see Cribyn from Bwlch ar y Fan — Bwlch ar y Fan, Brecon Beacons…
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

…and looking back, we start to pull away from Pen y Fan. Only 3.5 miles back to the car — Bwlch ar y Fan, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

The home straight, three miles along the Tor Glas Trail — Tor Glas Trail, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Stopping to check progress a mile or so down the Tor Glas Trail,  and we see Cribyn (right), Pen y Fan (centre), and Corn Du (left) — at Tor Glas Trail, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

 Passing the Upper Neuadd Reservoir, a water I’ve fished a lot over the years. I’ve never seen it from this distance though. — at Tor Glas Trail, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge

Finally, and before we reach the car, the first summit destination which was blocked by fog earlier in the morning comes into sight. That was ONE HELL OF A STEEP CLIMB!!! NOT enjoyable, but a great accomplishment! — at Tor Glas Trail, Brecon Beacons.
TrekFest Traing Round 2 - Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge