Crazy in love…. with the nature?
Come along Romantic souls and be mesmerise with it’s magnificent beauty.
Let me capture the awesomeness of these natural sights!
Tag along with me for the perfect winter wonderland hike
and let’s explore Brecon Beacon…
The Brecon Beacons is a lovely mountain range in South Wales. I used to live in Swansea Wales, I have drove passed the area numerous times. The landscape is so fascinating, but never had a chance to go hiking in Brecon. Finding out that www.themountaincoach.com was organising a Weekend Winter Hike in Brecon Beacon. I didn’t have to think twice! I signed up and joined the hike.
Early Saturday morning about 10 am when I set off for Brecon. It was not busy in M50 so reaching Brecon Beacon National Park plenty of time. Driving passed a road track nestled amidst the lush green forest and surrounded by the mighty Brecon Mountain. A feeling of sudden surge of peaceful tranquillity such a rare moments to cherish, I even stopped to breathe some fresh air.
Then snow flakes started to fall so I quickly jumped-in the car to continue to the meeting place. To my surprise the road ahead was covered with snow. I noticed some cars parked by the roadside, at this point I was praying that I won’t skid on the icy road. I carefully drove and I’m glad I got to the carpark safe!
The group was already at the assembly point and having the briefing. I quickly put on my hiking boots and run to catch up with the group. We followed the four falls trails passing through the woodlands, with the dirty tracks and muds along the way. The sounds of the stream on the background flowing forcefully, connecting to the River Mellte rushing below. You easily get acquainted with widely diverse landscapes, the serenity by the woodlands, listen to the sounds of the waterfalls and streams.
The trail is about 5.5 miles leads to Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd-yr-Eira on the River Mellte in the heart of Waterfall Country.
Before reaching the first waterfalls, we were welcome with the thundering roaring sounds of the forcefall flowing water of Sgwd Clun-Gwyn. Also known as the “Fall of the White Meadow” about 40ft high over two ledges.
After our group photo and selfies, we continued our walk heading towards the Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn a series of beautifully cascading through the narrow gorge that flows to the main waterfall.
Sgwd y Pannwr also called the “fall of the wollen washer“. There’s something surreal magical feeling about the torrent of water plunging off a cliff and into a crystal clear pool.
Sgwd-yr-Eira or the “falls of snow”. Reaching this waterfalls is a bit tough with all the steps, but it’s worth every step. A very unique waterfalls thats plunges over a sandstone that falls forcefully, people can even walk under the falls. If you don’t mind getting soak or better yet wear a waterproof jacket.
Finally after our three hour hike, chasing and passing through the stunning waterfalls. The group headed towards Ebbw Vale, were we stayed for the night. We had a group meal booked at the restaurant for 7 pm, just next to our hotel, and just after the meal. I have call it a night, I needed an early night sleep for tomorrows hiking adventure.
The alarm woke me up at 6:30 am, had a quick shower to freshen up. I had porridge for breakfast with blueberry toppings, just what I needed to get ready for the all day hike. Quickly packed my day bag with snacks and water, about 8 am together with the group we set off toward Merthyr Tydfil. The shower forecast and snow on the highlands sounds a murky start, but that didn’t stop our eagerness to hike around Brecon Beacon.
As we approached the parking area, the thin snow flakes was falling settling to the icy grounds. Finding car space is a bit more tricky than usual, and parking the car without skidding needs lots of concentration. Slowly reversed to the space, thinking that it will be easier to set of later. We had a quick briefing and with my gloves, waterproof jacket and hat, I was eager for my first ever winter hike!
The patches of snow along the footpath and as we walk further the snow continues to fall. The wintery feel of the icy cold air caressing my cheek, sending a chill to my spine. The feeling as if we were trekking the Alps. As we continue our ascend the rocky footpath is covered with ice, so we stopped to put our crampons. Walking with crampons on icy and snowy patched footpath is a lot easier to walk and more sturdy.
The wintery backdrop of the glittering layer of ice that dusts amongst the leaves, twigs, and grass after a freeze. With the struggle to hike or even to walk every inch of a step, while listening to the echoing whisper of the strong wind. Reaching the Pen Y Big summit was a relief, after fighting the strong wind carrying damp snow and some gush of sleet. Pen Y Big is 719 metres high, it has a flat rock and also known as the “Diving Board”. Braving the strong wind for a photo opportunity at the flat rock, a great smile painted my face relishing the moment of glory but inside me I’m petrified!
We trek down not following the footpath but instead having fun walking down the grass area covered with fresh snow. The crunchy feel as you walk down was a sheer amusement. At times even with the walking pole, keeping myself steady isn’t enough, as the strong wind tries to blew me away. My clumsiness landed me on my bum a couple of times, but the joy and laughter shared with the other hikers was fun!
The weather was getting worst but the group continued heading off towards the second summit the Cribyn with elevetion 795 meters, that connects to the peak of Pen Y Fan on the west ridge line. Captivated by the echoing and howling winds and the effects of altitude, feels like a soundtracks in a horror movies. The weather was not good to carry on trekking towards Pen Y Fan.
So instead we headed towards the “Talybont Reservoir”, for more scenic route and winter photography opportunities. Talybont Reservoir is the largest still water reservoir found in central Brecon Beacon. Walking at the lowlands with the view of those imposing mountain high, rugged cliffs and ridges in a foggy background was fascinating. Enjoy greatly in the thrill of a hike in every footstep forward, passing the fine woodlands along side the reservoir. We quickly had our snack break before headed towards the carpark.
Striving for the summit even in a bad weather condition, if the odds are in your favour, reaching it is an immensely rewarding challenge.
If you are a newbie in winter hike, I highly suggest join an organised winter hike group. The organiser will decide route depending on the weather conditions, and will make sure the safety of every hiker.
Keeping warm is the main key. Wear proper hiking boots, globes, hats don’t forget to bring crampons and hiking poles.
Great attitude and determination will highly contribute to the outcome of your summit attempt even the middle of snow storm.