Here’s an excellent guest blog by Trevelyan May who regularly visits the Brecon Beacons for walking breaks.
“The Brecon Beacons are beautiful. Increasingly, I have discovered the wonder of this area and enjoyed its secrets. I first came to this area in teaching capacity, leading Year 6 children from Southampton annually on a field trip. Based at the Argoed Llywd centre near Brecon, we enjoyed caving at Porth yr Ogof, a waterfall walk including venturing behind the Sgwd yr Eira falls, a fantastic trip to the fascinating Big Pit Museum in Blaenavon and, of course, a mountain walk up Pen y Fan. The children absolutely loved it and many returned with their families at a later date. Each year we refined the experience, for example, tackling Pen y Fan from the north via Llyn Cwm Llwch and Tommy Jones Obelisk rather than the less exciting trudge up from the Storey Arms.
Since this time, I have visited the area frequently, most recently with my father in law Dave. We came as we enjoy walking together and have found peace in mountain environments. A little over four years ago, I lost my wife, Helen, to cancer at the age of 37. Dave, her father, and I, have both found the comfort and inspiration we felt from Helen when she was alive in the mountains. So, excited about the day ahead we set out from the Neuadd Reservoir with the horseshoe walk of Duwynt, Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn our aim. It was already snowing slightly as we drove to the start point, up and over from the Talybont Reservoir.
There was low cloud as we climbed onto the Graig Fan Ddu ridge. Thigh deep show at times was entertaining and there were tantalising views through the clouds as the sun did its best to burn through. Eventually we reached Duwynt and the clouds cleared to reveal a wonderful scene. As we crossed the summits of Corn Du, Pen Y Fan and Cribyn, the views were breath-taking. Wind chill was a factor and lunch was enjoyed with gloved hands on the summit of Pen Y Fan. We were treated to a rainbow and the views extended north east to the Black Mountain. On the descent of Cribyn, Dave and I fell several times. On one occasion I turned to see Dave sprawling on the floor which was hilarious. We definitely had the best of the weather however as we walked briskly back towards the car, the weather changed. The snow was the size of fried eggs; absolutely huge flakes falling and coating us.
The evening was spent in Brecon where we witnessed the complete collapse of the England rugby team at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff. The locals were rampant and singing broke out in the town. We nursed our injured spirits at a local curry house! The following day we enjoyed another walk. The snow had settled overnight and we decided on a shorter walk to the shapely summit of Sugar Loaf which stands prominently over Abergavenny. Many others had the same idea as the sun made for a pleasant morning. We ascent is gentle with a steep final pull up and onto the summit ridge which boasts excellent views. The last time I was up there, less than a year ago, it was sunny with no snow so there was a real difference in both the views and the atmosphere. Lovely walk and neither of us fell over! Then, with heavy hearts, we drove back to Southampton after a thoroughly rewarding weekend.”