Mountain rank by height: 20 out of 188
Height: 2,907ft | 886m
Region: Brecon Beacons
Grid ref: SO012215

The highest peak in the Brecon Beacons and 1 of the classic Welsh 3 peaks (along with Snowden and Cadair Idris) this is an extremely popular summit. Easy access by road and lots of parking – although not enough past a certain point of the day on most weekends, especially when snow is around – mean that the highest peak is one of the most accessible to the average person. You will see almost everyone in Wales – and many beyond – have a selfie in front of the trig point.

You will rarely be alone on Pen y Fan, and more often than not it is an ant trail of people summiting and descending. It is a fairly straightforward up and down route, but can be very windy, especially as you approach the ridgeway that you crossover. I walked it one evening after work and you could barely walk against the wind on the way up, but once over the ridgeway it was completely still, and on the summit.

The views are well worth it, irrespective of crowds, but go early or late to get better photos.

Walking Pen Y Fan [Explored]
Walking Pen y Fan | Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 35mm f3.5 @ f8.
The Ridge from Pen Y Fan
Ridgeway view from Pen y Fan | Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 35mm f3.5 @ f8.
The View from Pen Y Fan Looking West
Looking West | Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 35mm f3.5 @ f8.
Pen Y Fan
The route from the carpark up | Sigma 14mm f3.5 @ f8
Winter Walking | Sigma 14mm f3.5 @ f8
Ultra Wide
No matter the conditions, many people are walking it | Sigma 14mm f3.5 @ f8
Pen Y Fan Skyline
Pen Y Fan’s distinctive profile is visible from many ridgelines and hills around South Wales. This image was taken above Abercarn. | Tamron Adaptall 2 SP 80-200mm f2.8 LD @ 200mm, f8.

I didn’t quite understand the unique appeal of Pen y Fan until I did the horseshoe walk anti-clockwise, where Pen y Fan and Corn Du are the final summits and you walk towards them throughout the walk, seeing the summits from, I think, the best angle.

Pen y Fan
Pen y Fan. | Minolta MD 35-70 @ 35mm, f11.
Pen Y Fan
Pen y Fan and Corn Du. | Minolta MD 35-70 @ 50mm, f11.