With my move to Dartmoor happening in a few weeks time, it seemed sensible to take advantage of temporarily living in Bristol to pop into Wales for a hike. On Saturday, Sarah (@PascallSarah) and I left a foggy Bristol (the view was non existent from the old Severn bridge) heading towards the surprising near Brecon Beacons to walk one of my favourite walks in ‘waterfall country’.
I love waterfalls. There is something so soothing and peaceful about the constant motion of water partnered with the natural splendour of water surging downwards. I also love forests. My ‘happy place’ would almost certainly be a waterfall in a forest (although I am yet to find a real world location that suits), so I was very excited when, back in May, I came across this waterfall walk on Surfnslide featuring several spectacular waterfalls. I added it to my ever-growing collection of routes in Evernote*, so I had it handy when I was planning this Brecon Beacons trip.
Thanks largely to one too many of the aptly named ‘Hikers Ruin’ I had consumed the night before and the fantastic breakfast my hosts had produced, day 2 was quite a late start! I wanted to head out onto the part of the Brecon Beacons just west of A470 but the lingering headache was making it hard to concentrate on the map, so in the end I download a free route on ViewRanger published by Trail Magazine.
Whenever I am heading towards Wales there is always a point in the journey when everything seems better – after days on end of sitting in front of my computer working, my shoulders loosen, my mind clears and my mood lightens. It is the point in the journey when, after cresting yet another nondescript English hill, you suddenly see the hills and mountains of Wales laid out before you.
In this case I was driving down the A438 heading towards Brecon, on the edge of Brecon Beacons. It was the weekend of the annual Brecon Jazz festival which, in my younger days, I used to attend fairly regularly. This year I was combining spending some quality time with some old friends (and drinking the best homebrew brewed by my friend’s dad), with some much need quality time on the hills.
It is not often that things live up to their marketing spiel, but actually the Priory Mill Farm campsite comes pretty damn close.
Situated just outside the town of Brecon, Powys, just North of the Brecon Beacons, Priory Mill Farm is on the banks of the river Honddu. We stayed mid-week in March 2010 (we were unsurprisingly the only ones there!) for two nights at a cost of £7 per person per night plus £1 per night for the dog.
The one thing that has been lacking in my training regime (well it isn’t really a regime, more a panicked collection of walks) is big hills. I love walking across the rolling farmland of Northamptonshire, but it is a far cry from the ups and downs of Offa’s Dyke.
So for the final training trip before our challenge begins, I am off on a camping and hiking trip to the Brecon Beacons. Unfortunately my fellow Offa’s Dyke team member Alex (@WinkySmileyFace on Twitter) is unable to join me due to work commitments, but instead I will be joined by Justin (@JustinFleming on Twitter).