Brecon Beacons Fan Dance Challenge Holiday
Challenge yourself to complete the 'Fan Dance'
Code: BRCHAPrint page
Choosing the level of your walks
Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Our Beacons Challenge, most famously known as 'The Fan Dance' has been part of the SAS and SBS selection process for over sixty years and is the world’s oldest known special forces test. We’ve created a version of this classic challenge that is similar to the original Woodhouse route. Have you got the mettle and stamina to complete three completely different loops down, up and around the formidable summit of Pen y Fan? You must be an experienced hillwalker with a head for heights, and able to manage a full day out which will likely start early and finish late. The other day of this break will get you in the mood for the challenge ahead, or provide a gentle pace for warming down after this epic adventure. We may swap the days around at short notice to take advantage of a favourable weather forecast.
Nythfa House is a charming Country House, located on the edge of the market town of Brecon. Spacious public rooms, attractive gardens and indoor swimming pool make it a popular and relaxing place to stay.
Nythfa House has 28 bedrooms. Most are located in the main house, with others in garden annexes.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued on request. An under-pillow vibrating pad is available on request
- A fridge is available in the first floor lounge for storing medication
- Good signage for fire escape routes
- One bedroom key issued per room (second key available on request)
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff has had disability awareness training
Friday: Arrival day
Meet your leader and get ready for the challenge ahead
Saturday: Warm Up Walk
Our warm up walk gives our legs a good stretch, taking us into wild countryside in the western half of the national park. Our route takes us on a discovery of the Wellington aircraft wreck, and Sinc Geidd where the river can be seen disappearing underground, before we head down to end our walk at the Tafarn y Garreg Inn.
12 miles (19.5 km) with 720 feet (2,400m) of ascent
Sunday: The Fan Dance Challenge
After a full and hearty breakfast, we will make an early transfer to the iconic ‘red phone box’ to start our first ascent of Pen y Fan. From here we maintain the direction of the modern route down Jacob’s Ladder and to the roman road to Torpantau. We then about turn and head for the Graig Fan Ddu ridge and back up to the summit. The next loop is north bound, descending the Cefn Cwm Llwch ridge to the site of the old army camp at Cwm Gwdi before returning to the summit via Cwm Llwch and the obelisk. Our final descent with heavy legs is down the tourist path to the A470 and our awaiting transfer back to the house.
20½ miles (33km) with 5,750 feet (1,750m) of ascent
Discover the Brecon Beacons
During your stay at Nythfa House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Brecon:
Brecon is a quaint market town at the foot of the Brecon Beacons; an area of sweeping high moorland, and beautiful green valleys. The town has a good range of facilities including shops, supermarkets, post office, chemists, banks, pubs and cafés. During your stay you may enjoy visiting Brecon Cathedral or take a scenic cruise from Brecon along the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal. www.breconcathedral.org.uk or www.dragonfly-cruises.co.uk
Big Pit Mining Museum
Travel underground at the excellent Big Pit museum in Blaenavon and discover the life of a South Wales coal miner. Blaenavon is around 45 minutes' drive from Brecon. www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/bigpit
The quaint small town of Hay-on-Wye is about 30 minutes' drive from Brecon, and can also be reached by bus every 2 hours. The town is now famed for its annual literary festival, and extensive selection of second-hand book shops.
Hereford is an attractive city, around an hour's drive from Brecon, whose cathedral houses the famous Mappa Mundi, a 12th century map of the world. www.herefordcathedral.org
Dan yr Orgof Caves
An impressive show-cave, one of the largest in Europe, with fine stalactites and stalagmites. The caves are around 30 minutes' drive from Brecon. www.showcaves.co.uk
Located near the village of Crickhowell, about 20 minutes' drive from Brecon, Tretower Court is a fine Medieval fortified manor house. www.cadw.wales.gov.uk
The vibrant Welsh capital of Cardiff is also around 40 miles or 1 hour’s drive from Brecon. A visit could include the St Fagan’s National History Museum, Castell Coch, or the National Museum. www.visitcardiff.com
Tretower Court image © Crown copyright (2016) Welsh Government, Big Pit image ©Big Pit National Coal Museum
Travel to Brecon
Our address is: Nythfa House, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7NN
The most convenient railway station is at Abergavenny. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 20 mile journey from Abergavenny railway station takes approximately 45 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £36 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Nythfa House Manager.
The X43 bus operates from Abergavenny station to Brecon. Alight at the bus interchange in Brecon. Facing the road, head left along Heol Gouesnou to the traffic lights. Turn right heading uphill along Cerrigcochion Road for around 70 yards, and then turn left into Belle Vue Gardens. Head along the road and turn right at the T-junction (still Belle Vue Gardens). Head up the road to another T-junction and turn left into Cerrigcochion Lane. Walk for about 15 yards and you will see the Nythfa House sign on your right. For bus times see www.traveline.info
Most guests approach Brecon via the A40 from Abergavenny or the A470 from the northwest. These two roads converge at a roundabout on the Brecon bypass. At the roundabout follow the B4601 into Brecon. Pass the army barracks on your right, then turn right at the mini-roundabout (B4601). Continue ahead at the second mini-roundabout. Turn right at the traffic lights (B4602), then take the first left into Bell View Gardens. Take the next road on the right, then at the next T junction turn left. The drive to Nythfa House is ahead on the right.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are trains to Abergavenny (1 change at Newport) - allow 3 to 3½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Abergavenny you can travel on to Brecon by bus or taxi (see above).