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Brecon Beacons Horseshoe: Hiking Pen y Fan

A Landscape Photograph Showing The Craig Gwaun Taf Escarpment With Hikers Making Their Way Along On The Way To Corn Du In The Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales.

For the holiday weekend I joined the crowds on the classic Brecon Beacons Horseshoe ridge walk. It takes you up Corn Du, Cribyn and Pen y Fan (the highest point south of Snowdonia) in the Brecon Beacons National Park in southern Wales.

Despite its popularity, it’s one of my favourite walks as it’s easily reached yet can feel truly wild. The sweeping landscapes and escarpments make for dramatic photographs. And even the crowds can be an interesting feature – I was amused to find hikers spontaneously forming an orderly queue at the summit of Pen y Fan for a chance to take summit selfies on the cairn. How very British!

For me, it was also a chance to test out my shiny new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera with some real landscape shots. Having just switched from a DSLR the weight and size saving makes all the difference I was hoping it would – and the image quality seems up to scratch so far.

There are a few photos above that I took along the way. Let me know what you think.

The route

The route I walked (shown below) is 14km in total, with 656m of ascent. It took me around 3 hours 45 minutes, with plenty of stops for photographs and food breaks. It’s a moderate walk overall, but with a couple of very steep sections.

There’s a free National Trust car park just south of the Neuadd Reservoir where the trail starts (location: SO 03687 17030; 51.8436, -3.3997). The route below shows the walk beginning and ending at that car park.

Want to walk this route? Download the GPX file here! (But read this warning first.)

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