Standing at 2,359 feet (719 m), the summit of Fan Y Big provides unparalleled views of neighbouring Cribyn and Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales. Part of a horseshoe-shaped ridge, you can hike to Fan Y Big and choose to add in one, two or even three extra peaks.
Exposed and at the northern boundary of the Brecon Beacons range, the views get better and better the higher you climb. The valleys sweeping down from the peak are like giant ice cream scoops and certainly get the camera shutter clicking. Summiting Fan Y Big provides 360 degree views over valleys, farmland and the Brecon Beacons National Park; the perfect spot for a sandwich and a Welsh cake.
Iconic views over South Wales
Jutting out of the north west side of the summit, you’ll find Fan Y Big’s exhilarating diving board. This iconic slab of rock offers a spectacular photo opportunity with the breathtaking backdrop of South Wales’ most dramatic peaks.
While adding the summits of Cribyn, Pen Y Fan and Corn Du into your hike makes for a fantastic day out, it’s perhaps not until you get to Fan Y Big and look across to the others that you truly feel their awesome presence.
There are car parks at several spots surrounding this cluster of peaks and Fan Y Big is easily accessible from multiple directions including the town of Brecon, immediately north.
Much quieter than Pen Y Fan, even in peak summer season, hiking to Fan Y Big can be enjoyed all year round, weather permitting. Winter can bring snow while dangerous conditions can spark up throughout the year. Spring and summer bring plenty of sunshine, though it’s best to be prepared for changeable conditions.
Fan y Big might have had its mountain status revoked in 2018 - but don't let that put you off. This is a superb peak that forms part of a classic route through the Brecon Beacons; known as the 'horse shoe' or the 'four peaks'. With stunning panoramas on a clear day and the notorious 'diving board' jutting out for those that dare, this peak forms an essential part of any visit to the Brecon Beacons.
According to mountain classification criteria, to be regarded as a mountain a peak must be at least 2,000 feet (609.6 meters) tall and have a minimum drop between the summit and the lowest point of the mountain ridge of 98.4 feet (30 meters). While Fan y Big retains its 2,351 feet (716.6 meters) height, the drop has been measured at 93.4 feet (28.5 meters), making it five feet (1.5 meters) under what is required to retain its mountain status.
October 30, 2018
At 716.7 m (2,351 ft), Fan y Bîg lies at the western tip of the Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion plateau. Its name translates as 'point of the peak' - perhaps in allusion to its striking pointed shape, as seen from some directions. The circumflex accent ('tô bach' in Welsh) over the 'i' lengthens the sound so that it is pronounced 'van-euh-beeg' rather than 'van-euh-big'. The summit is smooth and grassy, but marked by a cairn, which stands on the edge of its precipitous western face. The view of this face from Cribyn is regarded as very striking. Fan y Bîg has since lost its status as a Hewitt.
July 26, 2020
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