The Black Mountains & Brecon Beacons
A long awaited trip planned by my good friend Ian and myself. We had booked the time to do this trip about two months previously. It crept up on us quicker then expected and we planned the final details quite late which always makes for an interesting experience. With the hotel finalised a few days before (no camping on this outing), we headed over to Wales in the early morning on the Saturday. Once we arrived we quickly dumped our kit in the hotel and then made a rough plan of where to head to over coffee - this was quite a steady trip with no early mornings and just a good excuse to get out on the hills.
We decided on the Black Mountains just north of Abergavenny and we drove up to Capel-y-ffin and set off from there. We headed west out of the valley towards the Grywne Fawr Reservoir. Of course as soon as we decided to set off the rain came in along with some strong wind. Not a problem though with half decent kit and just makes you feel even more that you're in the great outdoors! We spent the next couple of hours heading up to the top and wandering along the ridge. We contemplated heading to the reservoir but decided to get some shots across the hills on this occasion but will surely be back to explore around the reservoir in more detail at some point. After getting a few shots and meeting some horses we worked our way back down. The weather was constantly changing due to the high wind and mottled light was often breaking it's way through which provided a few good photo opportunities but would literally vanish as quickly as it appeared.
We started off by parking at the car park / roadside verge by the outdoors centre at the base of Pen-y-fan in the Brecon Beacons, just a bit further west of our location on the previous day. We bumped into some volunteers led by Kieron who were walking the peak for ARNI: Action for Rehabilitation after Neurological Injury.
We kitted up and began our trek up in some beautiful sunshine and blue skies. There were some great views from just a short way up through the valleys towards the Beacons Reservoir and the Cantref Reservoir just beyond it. The sunlight was shining through and highlighting them in the distance so I took the opportunity to get a couple of shots.
As we ascended the weather soon came in again bringing the cloud and obscuring the top from view. It made for some great shots and is always a bit eerie heading up to a summit that is out of sight. We took in the last of the views below the cloud before heading up into the unknown. We reached the first summit of Corn Du and stopped for a few pictures. We also met Kieron and the guys again so got some shots for them.
The summit of Pen y Fan itself is a bit further on about 500 metres or so down another small stretch then back up slightly. First things first though, we had to brew up a cuppa! After the warming tea, which is highly recommended after being beaten up with wind and sideways rain, we made it to the summit where we actually had to queue for a minute or so to grab a picture. Ian almost lost his hat which is hilarious looking back, not so much for him at the time.
We started the walk back down to the car which was fairly easy going and we just took our time and enjoyed the scenery. I was fairly happy to reach the car in the end as my legs were a bit soaked through - definitely waterproof trousers are the next investment!