• Sarah

Pen y Fan - Brecon Beacons

Updated: Apr 4

Pen y Fan Mountain

A Devon pasty vs Cornish pasty, do you know the difference? Did you even know there was a difference? Cornish are (mostly) D shaped, and Devon are (mostly) top crimped. Relevance to this post? Almost none. Well, there is some relevance promise. Stay with us.

I was in a discussion with a fellow student at Swansea university about wild camping, and on the pasty being ideal camping food. As an ex-Devonian, I was challenged to eat a Devon pasty up a mountain at dawn. Well, how do you respond to that? Challenge accepted of course!


Let’s start with the most important bit. Safety. And I don’t just mean whether the pasty is too hot or not. I mean hiking and route planning.

  • Route plan left at home with the family.

  • Google location shared.

  • Whistle packed.

  • Warm clothing included as staying warm if injured is challenging with the wind chill up on Pen y Fan.


Starting at 400m from Pont ar Daf car park, the walk took the well-maintained path known as the ‘motorway’. The National Trust has an outstanding description (including map) of this route here. Though I came back down the same path rather than the circular route.


As it was only a short day walk:

On the march!

This was the first time I have climbed Pen y Fan without the peak being in the cloud, which meant that I was really looking forward to the views and the pasty. The peak is not visible from the car park at the start, and it was also a little colder in the shadow at the car park. I could see the sun moving its way down the hillside behind me as dawn broke. Promising to be beautiful up at the top. Crossing the stream using the walk bridge was the set-off point up to the first climb.

This path then meanders most of the route up onto Bwlch Duwynt (Windy Pass). There is a small cairn up here, and the down jacket went on here because the wind chill as you climb is noticeable, even in the sun on a nominally warm day. The path then skirts Corn Du (the first peak) and then gets wider up onto Pen y Fan itself (886m). I saw a few other walkers despite it being 07:00. Despite the hour though it was worth the early start. The views are spectacular. If you can get up there on a clear day the reward is awesome.

So out came the pasty and breakfast was served! I then wandered about the summit feasting on pasty and feasting on the views. On the way back down it was useful I’d brought the first aid kit. A gentleman was walking up with a batch of camera equipment, he’d tripped and injured his hand. This was quickly cleaned, disinfected and we patched him up. I hope he took some good photos. It was a lot warmer in the valley once I walked back down now that it was all in the sun. I finished with a cup of tea at the car before the drive home using the same JetBoil kit I mentioned in our kayaking blog post.

Over to You...

Overall it was a very worthwhile trip. Pasty up a mountain at dawn, challenge completed!

We would like to start a pasty challenge here at Adventure Accessories. Please send us your pictures of pasties up a mountain to sarah.adventureaccessories@gmail.com and we will create a feature post and gallery board. You can also connect on social media @AdventureAcces with the hashtag #AdventureWild.

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© 2021 by Sarah Skilton, AdventureAccessories.co.uk