i caught the train down to Farnborough and arrived at 17h15.It was not long before Darren and Duncan arrived and after brief hello’s we were off,well nearly we had to pick up a map for Darren from a friend of his.So now were off leaving at about 18h00.the journey down was quick and painless with lots of chat.
We arrived in the Breacon’s at about 21h30 and were off and walking by 22h00.Iam going to miss out all names of places as 1 they are all in welsh and its a bugger to spell and 2 i wish to keep the place we camped and walk as free of people as much as possible.
So we were off and it was dark but a stunning night with clear skies and a breeze blowing to keep all flying beasties at bay.It was not long before our navigation skills were called into play as i took us across a stream and into a gorse patch.Damn wheres the trail gone it must be some where around here!!! it took a few minutes but we were soon clinbing out of the valley and into the hills.
Now ill let you all into a little secret ive not walked in the dark since i was a sea scout and it was hard work walking with a head torch and trying to look at the map,everytime you look downa at the map you get whiteout with your vision.anyways by 23h30 we reached the first of our possible camp spots and decide to stop due to tiredness and not wanting to stumble in on other bloggers in the middle of the night[though by the sounds of it they had polished off a bottle of laproaig and i don’t believe they would have heard a stampede of elephants through their camp!]
The three of us started making camp,i threw up the tarp,Duncan had the Akto up and Darren well he just dropped his bivi bag down and climbed in.I was starving so got the stove going and knocked up a chilli and rice followed by a hot chocolate whilst watching the night sky and catching the beginning of the meteor shower.Counted about 15 before going to bed.Total distance walked – a massive 5.1 km
awoke to a beautiful morning with the sun breaking through the low cloud.It turned out that we had found a fanstatic spot to set up camp right next to a stream with plenty of cover provided by the hills around us.The coffee was on and it was looking like it was goin gto be a beautiful day.Whilst eating breakfast a family of ducks appeared out of nowhere,cute.Next the local farmer turned up rounding up his sheep,but he was missing one so he popped down to see us and ask if we had had lamb for dinner last night.I would be a great chef if i could cook a whole lamb over a camping stove!!
We broke camp and were on the trail by 10h00.there were a few people out on the hills but we had the trail we were following to ourselves.It was not long before we came appon the sheepfold where the others had overnighted andi dropped down to investigate.A great place for a camp and is logged into the memory for future.We headed up the stream to take us onto the ridge with wild ponies and sheep for company and a solitary red kite soaring over as it patrolled the hillside for prey.Before long we made the ridge to find Alan and Geoff stridding along,hello’s were said and we continued on.
Now ive always loooked at a map of Britian and overlooked the Brecon Beacons god knows why but i have so it was a nice surprise to find it so stunning.
We continued along the ridge with Darren deciding to drop down to a lower trail which he had not walked before and i think he knew that there was a short sharp climb coming up.The rest of us stopped for lunch close to the top looking down on our proposed camp spot for the night.After a brief luch we pushed on to our camp spot.We followed the ridge along past a great little shelter, which had enough space in it to pop up a tarp,the final descent to the lake was down a rough eroded pretty steep trail which brought us out at a lovely little spot next to the lake and with a beach.We had a look round and before long the majority had decided on a small hillock slightly removed from the path and with good views but the wind was picking up and i like a bit of shelter so i went for a wander.i did not find a better spot but i did find a tired and lonely blogger called Dawn who was waiting for us and by all accounts had had a good old walk over the previous couple of days.We headed back to the throng and i decided to pitch slightly away from the rest of the guys and gain some shelter from a small bank.
Before long Bob and Rose turned up and then Lay and Ali who had been on a 25km route to gain fitness for their up and coming attempt at Mt Blanc.Soon everybody was chatting and inspecting kit.Bob had bought his bushbuddy ultra along,a wood burning stove and gave us a demonstration on how to use it.What a great bit of kit i want one.
Dinners where prepared and everybody settled down for the evening with our whiskey,sake,wine etc and a good old chin wag followed.The weather though was not listening and soon it started to spit with rain and before long it was raining for real,so we all dived for cover and that was it for the night.
Total distance walked 7.5 km
i awoke to the dull patter of rain on the tarp and looked out and could only just see the others as the cloud level was down all around us.The coffee went on and before long i could see a few of the others starting to rise.porridge was next and then it was time to get packed up and head off.Goodbyes w ere said and i headed off along by the lake.I had decided to head towards Usk reservoir as there its surronded by forest and if the wind and rain did not stop i would have some protection from the elements.Also there were a couple of stone circles marked on the map which i hoped to find.Before long i realized that the first of the circles was not going to be found due to the low visibility.so i pushd on.By 11ish the sun had decided to pop out so i took a quick stop by a stream and filled up on some water and had a snack,but the rain returned so i pushed on to the next circles which i found but unfortunately not much remains of them.By now i was nearing the usk valley so i carried in over grassy tussocks and boggy bits to hit the road and drop into the forest.I stopped for lunch on the banks of the river Usk and watched trout lazily going about catching flies.The rest of the day was following dirt track roads and trying to find two standing stones buried in the depth of the forest which meant i had to follow tracks which did not exist anymore and were now calf high spongy bogs or over grown with barbed wire like brambles.I made camp on the highest spot in the forest in amongst pines and got a brew on which went down a treat.Before long i was snuggled down under the tarp listening to Bobs TGO podcast as another brief rain shower came in.I had my dinner of lamb and chickpea stew with rice and lay watching the night descend whilst drinking hot chocolate and a fine cragganmore special reserve malt.
Total distance walked – 15km
Awoke to a bright morning and got the coffee on before emerging from the tarp.Had a leisurely pack before heading off through the forest to pick up the track again.
Now i must stray here as i did not mention that the powers that be are putting ina massive pipe line to link the new gas storage depot that is being or has been built on the gower peninsula i think.Now this pipe line is a ugly scar across the moors and forest and even farm land of wales and in some cases footpaths have vanished.I know that we have to keep up with our energy needs but at what price!Anyway this pipe line was to dog me for the rest of the day.
I dropped out of the forest and started to make my way through rolling welsh farmland toward s Trescastle and the Pub there.The weather was fine but the wind was chilly and the clouds were building up.Most of the walk was along lovely ancient tree lined trackways which must of been there for century’s,over head Red Kites were crying and all was right with the world until that damn pipeline popped up and i was to take to the road.I entered Trescastle to find the pub shut,Damn and blast.i HAD BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO A PINT.I had decided to head to Sennybridge and catch a bus into breacon where i was going to rest up in b+b for the night then head over Pen- Y – fan to Merthyr Tydfil.soi set off in search of the footpath outof the village and gues what ,yep you got it it was closed because of the pipelin eand the only route to Sennybridge was along small country lanes.so off i trot.
The walk its self was rather pleasant as there was no traffic and the hedgerows are just starting to produce there bounty,so i snacked on blackberries and the last of the raseberries.But my feet started to ache towards the end and by the time i hit the village i was ready for a good rest and a bit of pampering.Asking in the Post office about he bus to Breacon i wa told that they were not sure as the timetable had just been changed but they thought that it was in about another 1.5 hours time.Bugger that i thought so out came the thumb and i hitched. I was picked up by the local pub manager who warned me that gales and torrential rain were forecast for the evening and following day.Before long i was in the infomation centre of Brecon and getting the same news on the weather.Now i was tired and weary and so i decied that with the weather looking so bad for the next few days i was going to head back to london and repack and head down to the south coast where due to the hills being smaller bad weather is easier to deal with.
So in under 5 hours i was back in london.
Total distance walked – 15 km