Back in October I decided I would join my husband and volunteer as a walk leader for the Crickhowell Walking Festival. In 2017 an article in The Telegraph asked ‘Is this Britain’s Greatest Walking Festival?’ with a resounding yes as the answer, and I would have to agree…
The festival was established in 2007 and has fast become one of the countries favourite and most well known walking festivals, and rightly so. The location is stunning; based in the town of Crickhowell nestled under the Black Mountain range and looking out towards the Brecon Beacons it also has the beautiful River Usk meandering past. An idyllic location for a Walking Festival.
When I rocked up at CrIC to meet with David, the man who set up the Festival 11 years ago I was a little nervous, but very excited. I was hoping that there maybe something little I could help with and perhaps even be an assistant leader on one of the smaller walks. I wasn’t quite expecting to be asked to lead walks and assist on one of the most popular walks of the week led my veteran walk leader Andy Johns.
I went away from the meeting buzzing and thrilled to be part of this amazing team of people who volunteer their time to inspire and lead people around arguably one of the most beautiful parts of Wales.
Sadly my walk was cancelled due to the Beast From the East and the many feet of snow on the hills, but I was lucky enough to get one walk in, the one I was most looking forward to with Andy Johns and here it is…
Distance: 12 miles
Taking the paths less trodden this walk is the Three Pens with a difference. After a gentle starts along the River Usk the walk ascends into Cwm Mawr. You cannot help but stop and stare in wonder here at the stunning round in which you are situated, an almost perfect crescent of green faces you where behind you have the stunning view across towards Llangatock.
Following the Beacons Way you then go off path and take a direct route up the Bryniog ridge which climbs in a series of sculpted steps left over from the Ice Age to reach Pen-Gloch-y-Pibwr. This can be challenging in the summer with the bracken so if it is high I would recommend coming up on to Cwm Mawr and following the at the curlews going uphill on sheep tracks to follow the paths around the crescent at a higher level where you can then summit on to Pen-Gloch-y-pibwr.
The walk is sometimes on paths, sometimes not, but nothing too extreme as long as you take it easy! A great place to stop for lunch is at the Pen-Gloch-y-pibwr. You are afforded the most beautiful views and some lovely dips in to which you can tuck in if the wind is up. From here the walk then takes the main trails to Pen-Allt-mawr and Pen-Carrig-calch. Most of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons are formed from Old Red Sandstone, however Pen- Carrig-calch means limestone platform in Welsh and you can see a distinct change underfoot. It can be slippy too so watch out!
From here you then descend down sheep tracks to the small, but perfectly formed Table Mountain. From here you then take the paths down the beautiful Cwm Cumbeth where you walk through sumptuous woodland hugging the water as you go. If you are really lucky, like we are when you reach Crickhowell you will be greeted by the most wonderful, friendly Aberdeen Angus cows and two donkeys who really love Haribo!
Click on the Ordnance Survey Map below to view the walk. Or follow this link HERE
For more information on the Crickhowell Walking Festival and there Mini Festival this Autumn go to www.crickhowellwalkingfestival.com