In June 2019 myself and Anastasia decided we needed a big holiday and that big holiday was decided to be Walt Disney World, Florida. We booked it for March 2020, however the day before we were due to fly we received the news that Disney was closing due to the Coronavirus outbreak. So we did what anyone would do, and instead booked a week in Wales! Specifically the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Saturday was spent exploring Bristol - many people had told me it was lovely and that we'd really like it. I'll be honest, I didn't particularly like it. Maybe we just didn't go to the right places but I felt it somewhat lacked soul. We therefore headed straight to the AirBnB we'd booked in Sennybridge within the Brecon Beacons National Park. I wouldn't usually post this link but the accommodation we stayed in was lovely and the hosts were awesome, so if you're ever looking for somewhere to stay in the area I'd highly recommend checking Glynderi Cottage out. In the afternoon we headed into Brecon, which despite being fairly small is a lovely town with possibly the most well stocked bookshop I've ever seen in my life! Sadly it didn't occur to me to take any pictures, but definitely worth a visit if you're around.
A trip to Wales wouldn't be complete without a visit to a railway right? So we decided to tick this off quite early and visit the Brecon Mountain Railway. This was followed, in the afternoon, by a visit to the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre from which we embarked on a short, but very boggy walk.
Monday was spent ticking off the one thing you have to do when visiting the Brecon Beacons National Park - Climbing it's highest peak Pen-Y-Fan. Being a fan of taking the path less trodden rather than taking the route from the Pen Y Fan car park, we set out from a car park North of the peak called Cwn Gwdi. Walking from here meant we took a route encompassing the three beacons peaks of Corn Du, Pen Y Fan and Cribyn (in that order). The initial part of the route climbs towards the summit of Pen Y Fan, but we then took a fork off of the path to contour round the summit and head for Corn Du. I use the term path lightly here, it was really no more than a very narrow ledge with a steep drop - not something to be attempted in bad weather! Once we'd climbed Corn Du, we walked across the col to Pen Y Fan taking in the highest point in South Wales. From here another col takes you across to Cribyn where we stopped for lunch. The walk down from this summit was really nice, probably my favourite part of the whole route. Although there was one part where the footpath had fully become a river bed! So some dynamic reassessment was required.
Tuesday was a more relaxed day in which we headed into Brecon and took a circular walk from the town centre heading north to follow the valley of the river Honddu, crossing over after a few kilometers and heading back.
As we had originally only booked a few nights, Wednesday turned out to be moving day - we headed to the south of the park, known as Waterfall Country. Everyone we spoke to had said you can't go to waterfall country without walking the Four Waterfalls Trail, so we made that the first thing on our list. Once again, being a fan of taking the less popular paths and of self-navigating rather than following a designated route, we took a slightly different journey than the standard. This meant we came across a few signs along the lines of “CAUTION - Please use alternate path”, being fairly experienced walkers we proceeded past these with appropriate caution, and I'm very glad we did. The terrain we encountered was awesome as shown in the photos below. There were also a few occasions, however, when the path got the better of us and we decided it was safer to turn back.
The final waterfall of the four, called Sgwd Yr Eira, is by far the most impressive. Not least because the path naturally flows behind it, meaning you can (whilst getting very very wet) stand behind a waterfall. Now who wouldn't find that cool?!
Thursday was spent visiting another waterfall, Henrhyd Falls, which with a 90 foot drop makes it the tallest in South Wales. It was also, according to Wikipedia, used as the location of the Batcave in The Dark Knight Rises. This is another waterfall that has a path which allows you to walk behind it.
The plan for Friday was that some friends would come up to Wales, join us in our Cornavirus escape and do some more walking however, by Thursday evening it was clear that the advise was to only travel if essential so we we decided it wouldn't be wise. We therefore headed home and had a pretty big shock when we stopped off to pick up some food from Sainsbury's!