One of my favourite mountains to climb and to photograph is Fan Brecheiniog. It’s not the highest nor the hardest mount to climb but for some reason, I enjoy getting there every time. It’s hidden away about 45 minutes from the nearest road and it nestles Llyn y Fan Fawr (the large lake of the mountain top) in its shadow.
My trusty companion, Rufus the cocker spaniel, loves this walk as it means he gets to play in the water of the River Tawe as it rises just below the lake. It tumbles down the hill in a series of low but lovely waterfalls and every now and again there is a pool deep enough that Rufus can have a swim. Then we get to the lake itself. It’s not deep, so he can’t swim. But he loves to dredge the lake bed for stones and deposit them on the banks. Every now and then I’ll throw a stone for him to get so he doesn’t empty the lake completely.
Then it’s a short but steep climb from the lake to the mountain ridge and the trig point at 2,620ft. The views from here down to the lake and across to the Brecon Beacons is spectacular. It’s usually cold at the top as there is almost always a south westerly wind blowing, which chills the extremities.
This morning was no exception. Rufus and I left the car at about 8.45 heading towards the mist capped mountain. In the past, I’ve got lost in the mist here but today it was only lightly dusting the top of Fan Brecheiniog We reached the lake by 9.30.There was a strong wind blowing and making the water choppy, like a miniature sea. After a brief rest in the shelter of a small hillock, we headed up the slope and past curious sheep grazing at impossible angles on the side of the mountain to the top.
From the mountain ridge it was just possible to see the lake through the low cloud. The wind was blowing filaments of cloud past me like wisps of smoke. It was cold too – not what I would expect for a July day – but I was glad because it meant that Rufus wasn’t getting too hot. We didn’t stay long and quickly descended to the lake again. Rufus took advantage of his four paw drive to get down to the water quicker than me and then he stood watching me, willing me to get to the shore so I could throw stones for him.
The last half hour or so was spent trying unsuccessfully to avoid mud, bog and hidden streams. Rufus bounced in and out of the waterfalls before we finally got back to the car. Within five minutes of us setting off, he was asleep on the back seat. I could have joined him!