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Beauty and the Beacons

Home to Pen-y-Fan, Southern Britain’s tallest peak, The Brecon Beacons National Park stands in the beating heart of Wales and provides the thrills you would expect to encounter when it comes to embarking on a daring hike or two. With my thirst for adventure on an all-time high, I decide to put on my thrill-seeking cap and take a weekend trip to a place I would call my home for the weekend, the Brecon Beacons. The thought of this not just being a walk in the park takes over my mind completely.


I tell myself however to keep going forth to discover all that I could in the Brecon Beacons. And I did so; not with caution, but with gusto. I immediately became swallowed up by the immense beauty of its towering mountains, both up close and in the distance. It comes to pass that my adventure here has begun. Falling for the Four Falls and Ambling in the Upper Tarrell Valley

There are two hiking routes in the Brecon Beacons I would highly recommend to you and they are the Upper Tarrell Valley route and the Four Falls trail. Both provide gorgeous beauty consisting of wondrous walkways to certain points of interest (especially the Four Falls Trail) and fantastic photo opportunities of views overlooking the valley where I am hiking.


On the Upper Tarrell Valley route, I amble along the pathway, where fields of sheep on both sides were staring in awe at me, as though I am a cowboy who is immediately outlawed as I first set foot onto their turf. The key is to not let the sheep intimidate you and continue with your hike, which is what I take into account. I take pleasure in admiring the beauty and the peace of my surroundings.


The Four Falls Trail provides an educational hike, with signposts pointing me in the right direction as to where to walk next to complete the route successfully. The waterfalls I venture towards are Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, and Sgwd yr Eira. Understandably, anyone can take hours to attempt to pre-annunciate the names of these waterfalls, but then it would mean missing out on admiring the beautiful sound of the water falling.


It is also possible to walk under the last waterfall (Sgwd yr Eira), as I discover for myself. The opportunity for me to do so does not present itself, however, seeing as so many adventuring hikers were queuing up to stroll under this spectacular spectacle. Soon after, as I amble up a short steep climb, I am greeted by an impressive view of the landscape. Panoramic shots on a phone are possible to be taken at this point, to bring out the photography aspects inside you.


Absolutely Abergavenny

The town of Abergavenny, which lies right next to the southeast border of the Beacons, is a town kind enough to welcome me to stay there for as long as they would like. I have a room booked for three nights at the four-star hotel ‘The King’s Head Hotel', which offers me a wide range of interesting tourist attractions, such as the ruins of its castle and a market bursting with stalls that bring the market to life every day.


There is even a stall full of the freshest baked bread and pastries Abergavenny can provide, where I sample a delicious bread pudding to keep me going on my afternoon hike.


A ‘Pen-y-fan’ for your thoughts

This is no question the hot ticket for anyone willing to embark on a quest to climb up Southern Britain’s highest mountain. Any professional hiker will know that hiking never gets better than that. As I venture up the steep slope that tried to push me back, I continuously gaze up and down the slope, while considering the good progress I am making up the Pen-y-fan. After an hour of an adventurous challenge, I make it to the corridor which lies between the mountains of Pen-y-fan and Corn-Du.


The route map that accompanied me on my journey started from there to bear left to walk down towards the final hurdle of climbing Pen-y-fan. When I reach the top, I embrace just how amazing the views are. The wind that was soaring through the air was no match for the progress that I am making up the slope. Admittedly the occasional thick cloud floats past, attempting to attract more attention, but at least an army of them is not arranging a formation to ruin the view.


The Cruise for the Views at Black Mountain Pass (with literal twists)

Regular viewers of the hit BBC2 motoring show ‘Top Gear’ will remember Jeremy Clarkson driving an original car or two along Black Mountain Pass. I certainly do. The eagerness to adventure through this pass was soaring inside of me. “If Jeremy Clarkson can do it, why can’t I?” I consider to myself. After driving through the Black Mountain Pass, with a brief stop to admire the view and take a few panoramic shots, I eventually agree with Jeremy about how beautiful it is to cruise along the road through the Pass.


Even though I drove round what seemed to be a countless number of bends, I forgive the fact that it gives the driver many twists and turns to challenge themselves at nailing. As I take these on myself, I wind my window down to breathe in a lungful of the Welsh country air. Something that I know I will miss as I depart the Beacons the next day.


A Bountiful Stroll Through Brecon

The base capital of the Beacons, it is a town where its history is truly educational. I visit the extravagant Brecon Cathedral to connect with the silence that floated all around me. I even sit myself down to think over my time in the Brecon Beacons and how it has influenced me to continue to follow my hiking hobby.


I also discover that the town also boasts its traditional shops, in which tourists such as myself can buy a souvenir for their loved ones or their family. I stroll past the shops and take a peep through the shop window, considering in delight what it is that my family back home will be wanting of me.


Staying There · A single room at the King’s Head Hotel costs £69 per night, which includes free wi-fi and breakfast. Visit the website at www.kingsheadhotelabergavenny.co.uk for more details.



Hiking There · The Four Falls Trail Car Park, also known as Gwaun Hepste car park, has a parking charge of £4 for a whole day’s parking. You can read more about this route at www.theoutdoorguide.co.uk. · The two main car parks next to the Pen-y-fan and Upper Tarrell Valley trails are the Storey Arms Education Centre and Pont-ar-daf car parks. Both offer free parking, but can be very busy at peak times, so be aware. · Go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk to read more about the hiking routes on offer in the Brecon Beacons.

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