There aren’t many places in the UK where you can walk clearly behind a waterfall, stand in the middle to feel the energy of the water, taste the spray and then carry onto the other side, it’s all very Last of the Mohicans.
Sgwd yr Eira in the heart of the Brecon Beacons is one such place, and one of Wales’ best kept secrets. There are a series of waterfalls in this region, each spectacular in their own way, and can be completed in one walk (start point: near Ystradfelte).
However, for the purpose of this adventure, Fran and I started in the village of Penderyn (home of the famous Welsh Whisky) and completed a 10km circular walk. Easy to navigate and hardly a soul around…
The walk started in the middle of the village following the lane past the gorgeously atmospheric Red Lion pub, then onto a bridleway over open land for several kilometres until you get to the main waterfall path. There is an option to walk towards Pontneddfechan to walk along the west side of the river, however we chose to walk on the east side. Muddy underfoot but views are gorgeous as you are fairly high up.
It was then a quick detour down to the waterfall for an invigorating spray shower and photo opportunity, before heading back to Penderyn.
Waterfalls are of course at their best after rain or very cold weather. So, the advantage of being the wettest December on record, was that the waterfall would be in its full splendor – and fair play, it was. The weather was a bit of everything; sleet, sun and showers that presented a wonderful variance of colours of the landscape and allowed me to test out my brand new Rab jacket.
A lovely mini-adventure that blew the cobwebs away. There is also a shorter variant that is suitable for young children (direct from Penderyn) with just a short steep section down to the waterfall.
- Cost:- cheap (just fuel and snacks – although in hindsight I would have done it in reverse and gone for lunch in the Red Lion…next time)
- Logistical ease:- Easy – just basic map reading skills needed. We followed walk E3 from this book – Brecon Beacons: A walkers’ Interpretation Guide
- Adventure rating:- **