Earlier this week I travelled to the Brecon Beacons with my brother and a friend for a couple of days of gentle hiking. We were each carrying upward of 15kg packs so although I wasn’t doing any running it was a good bit of prep for carrying weight over rough terrain.
The first day we got a train into Merthyr Tydfil and walked about seven miles north/north-west, with no particular plan except finding a decent woodblock to set up camp in. The intention was really to go further west but conditions were becoming pretty unpleasant, with driving rain and high winds, so in the end we cut a little short and went North to a good bit of wood where the canopy provided a little cover from rain, and where the trees were spaced far enough apart that we could pitch tents. Pitching tents, cooking and getting to bed in driving rain when you are already soaking wet isn’t particularly fun or easy but we got it done and had a reasonably comfortable night.
Fortunately the second day was considerably drier and in fact we were well positioned to walk across the national park, over Pen Y Fan via the Storey Arms, and into Brecon the other side, before getting a bus back to Cardiff and returning to London. The walk over Pen Y Fan is relatively tough, especially if you have heavy packs, with some fairly steep bits of path early on and again towards the summit. It’s not beyond any relatively fit walker, though, and is generally well-marked and pretty safe. Down the other side it slopes gently towards Brecon, ending in a few miles of walking down country roads.
All in all, a great first experience of Brecon, a first bit of wild camping, and generally a successful trial of various new bits of kit which I will review separately. I didn’t feel massively lacking in anything, but nor did I do what I have done in the past and take so much unnecessary kit that my bag was unmanageably heavy.