Monday, 27 June 2011

Brecon Beacons

We left Pembrokeshire and headed for the Brecon Beacons where we stocked up on provisions, bought a mountain bike guide and an OS map and headed up to the Cwmgwdli parking area, 3 miles outside Brecon, where we could pick up the path to Pen y Fan for a walk/run. It was a lovely little spot where we ended up staying for 3 nights, the longest we have wild-camped in any one spot!
That's Sadie, the white spot in the bottom left of the picture below
On Saturday, the weather was wild, with strong gusting winds and low cloud.
But we knew that the path/track up to Pen y Fan was direct and well-beaten, so we donned our running gear and headed up the hill, passing several school/college groups who clearly had the same target as us. They were, however, moving  rather slower than us and looking decidedly miserable in the claggy conditions. The run back down was much more fun that the trek up, it has to be said - the 7km/500m+ outing took us just 1h13m. Time for a shower and a pint of tea followed by beer!

Sunday was a complete contrast - hot and sunny! We were planning on doing what looked like an ace mountain bike circuit but thanks to a combination of problems with Andy's brakes and route finding issues, we baled and headed into Brecon where Andy got his brake pads replaced - thanks very much to Keith at Bikes and Hikes! Still, we covered 23km/400m+ on the bikes which was better than nowt! We returned to the van where we had serious issues with cleggs (horseflies) and midges - most unpleasant, but it is that time of year, so it shouldn't have been a great surprise.

Today, we did the mountain bike circuit that we had planned on doing yesterday - the Red Brecon circuit entitled 'The Gap'. Conditions were cooler as high level cloud moved in and we had a cracking ride on a mixture of singletrack road, rocky tracks, forest tracks and a disused railway line. That notch in the hillside up ahead is 'The Gap'
 Looking back down from the Gap....
Rain was threatening by the time we had made the fast descent so we legged it back to the van - 36kms/680m+ in 2h16m

....great fun, particularly as the old legs were playing ball today and not being a pain! More please!

Tonight, we are spoiling ourselves by staying on a small, quiet farm camping area a few miles outside of Brecon where we can enjoy a long, hot shower (showers in Sadie are never long as we have to be so careful with water!), where we can do some washing, fill up the water tanks and empty the toilet cassette. Luxury! Tomorrow, we are heading further south to the Quantocks which is yet another area that we have never been to. Then on Thursday, back down to mum's in Dorset for the weekend and finally back to France next week. So much to do and so little time!

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