Twas Saturday 29th January and the 4 week alcohol-free detox was coming to an end. What else better than to arrange a leisurely walk around some mountains on a bitterly cold day with temperatures hovering around minus 4oC!
Click here to view the route in Google Maps
Armed with umpteen laters of clothing, 3 layers of socks and enough food and drink to keep us all going for a week we started our trek from Blaen Y Glyn car park – west of Abercynafon, and began our circuit of the gorged out valley.
We were promised some stunning views and they didnt disappoint! The sun kept popping it’s head out to make us at least feel a bit warmer than we actually were and so making our way up the first mountain was pleasurable and did infact raise our body temperatures quite a bit.
After this initial climb the whole route was almost all on the flat for the rest of the day. The biggest battle was the bitterly cold Northerly wind that was attacking us and numbing random body parts. Luckily this didnt last too long and the rolling clouds all disappeared to reveal a lush blue sky and glorious sunshine. (OK im over-painting the picture but in comparison to how cold certain bits were – when the sun did come out it was almost tropical!)
Along the way we encountered numerous waterfalls and partially frozen waterfalls. Areas of just frozen things on the ground – maybe it was just frozen grass – they must’ve been frozen for quite a long time to look like this! (How many times can I get frozen in the same sentence?) Also the strong sunshine aided in a great light for most of the shots and a pitiful attempt at the YMCA – it looks more like The Beatles vs The Monkees vs Little Britain!!
Onwards and upwards and along the way there were some really interesting formations caused by the ice and Mother Nature. Some of them looked quite surreal and almost alien-like! (its like my funghi growth all over again!)
About half way through the trek we came to the Wellington Memorial location where a small stone memorial was created paying respects to the people that died in 1942 when a Canadian Wellington bomber crashed into the hillside killing all it’s crew.
The wreckage is still strewn across the landscape for everyone to see. Poppies adorned the wreckage and the memorial with personal messages being left by some people.
After a well deserved lunch and a quick cup of tea (boiled on location in a couple of minutes!) we made our way back around the other side of the valley and headed down quite a steep part and followed one of the rivers to ground level. Im glad we done the route this way around as it was extremely steep resulting in me falling down it a few times (it would’ve been a killer to go up this way due to the frost and moisture!)
Heading down this valley and taking in many more waterfalls and some glorious displays of ice we came to the biggest and best waterfall right at the very bottom. The sun was just catching the light on a wall full of icicles – which was truly magical and mystical (I dont think the photo shows how amazing this little oasis really was!)
A short ten minute walk back up a steep forrested route, dodging the fallen trees and we were back at the car park and ready for the car journey home!
Just as we were leaving we caught a glimpse of the Brecon Steam Train making it’s way back up the valley before we all managed a well deserved drink in The Red Cow public house by Pontsticill.
The four week alcohol-free detox is now officially over after a totally inspiring day! Never let the weather conditions put you off a walk like this as the diverse weather can really change the whole landscape of the area and present to you something different everytime!
Roll on the next one! And the next pint….