After a few hectic weekends and weeks at work for Debbie and I we took a unanimous decision to have a weekend away so I booked the Friday off work and the plan to head to Wales was sorted. Off to Brecon Beacons, a place near to where Debbies grandparents were from, but the plan was just to do some walking in the hills and relax.
Driving down on Friday in the rain didn't bode well, and the car definitely had more wet weather clothing in it than sun cream. As part of growing up it now seems impossible to go away for a weekend without all manner of preparation, walking boots and clothes, waterproofs, smart clothes to go out for dinner in the evening and spares for everything. We seem to take more for a weekend away than we do for a full holiday now.
Out for dinner on Friday followed up by an amazing cooked breakfast on Saturday morning and the sun was shining, so we asked in the B&B for some ideas on walks - not wanting just a walk down the canal, but also not anything life threatening. The plan came as a walk up and around Pen y Fan which is the highest peak in the region, with a 7 mile circular route from the car-park. It looked fairly simple as we set out, and the gradual ascent up the first peak wasn't too bad, although the people running up were clearly just showing off.
The weather was fantastic, and the views are as good as you can get, but as we started up Pen y Fan the thighs really started to detail exactly why athletes train for events, all about a gradual build up.... This walk was listed in one of the books as moderate, had we checked the other two we may have thought twice at the start, but when you are half way round at at the top of a hill, the only option is to go all round the rest of the walk.
We started from where the second bit of water you can see in the pic is, and walked anti-clockwise up the peak to the left, then along the ridge to the trees on the right, for a clamber down a dried up stream bed and then back to the car.
Stopping on the way back to the B&B for a coffee and unfeasibly large piece of chocolate cake and my legs were telling me that it would be a while before I would forget the walk - and they were right, even the stairs at home were painful when we got back on Sunday.
Being Wales, it pissed down with rain on the Sunday, so we went down a coal mine at The Big Pit in Blaenavon, which was fascinating. Canaries and horses still used underground until the mine closed, women and children only until 1842. The history of the industry and how the mine owners used to exploit the workers until Nationalisation, and then the modern history of mining well worth a few hours of your time if you are ever there. And all free as well, including about an hour underground in the actual mines.
A welcome and relaxing break from work and also just the noise of modern life, even the pain in the legs was worth it to be outside for the day on Saturday.
We stayed here in Brecon - totally recommended if you are heading that way.