Thursday, 23 August 2007

Brecon Beacons weekend

Just back today from the second Bloggers' weekend away, this time in the Brecon Beacons. Good to meet up with some familiar faces and some new ones. The weather started off good and then deteriorated overnight on Saturday and was wet into this morning.

I had a pig of a drive to the tiny village of Glyntawe where we were to leave cars. Traffic was bad and somehow, at one point, I took a wrong turn and found myself on the way to Cardiff down the A449. Still, my detour back to the A40 took me through Usk which I hadn't visited for years. I eventually arrived at Glyntawe, found a layby to leave the car, hoping it would still have wheels on two days later (it did).

The directions we'd been given were good although, close to the beginning, finding the way across a rocky stream was a bit tricky as it wasn't clear where to go on the other side but the way emerged the closer I got. Then it was just following a generally distinct path, using the compass at times. On arriving at what I thought was the sheepfold I found nothing but a stream in a dip. However, on exploring around a bit I saw a sign of life up a side "valley" which turned out to be Mick. I negotiated a second rocky stream with slippery footholds and had to divest myself of my map carrier and backpack to cross without getting wet. Mick and Gayle were at the sheepfold and Alan Sloman turned up some ten minutes later. Very enjoyable getting to know some more like-minded folk for the first time.

Ali and Lay arrived a couple of hours later in the dark. We kept ourselves amused before they arrived drinking single malt and watching meteors. No-one else came although we saw some lights. Duncan, Darren and Mike met up with us the following morning along the route.
Mick and Gayle left after breakfast to generally head home and Alan and I set off for the next night's halt. I was keen to find out as much as I could from him about his LEJOG completed a few weeks ago as I am beginning to make plans to do it myself at some time.

The weather was good and we made it early to our camp for the night. Dawn arrived, having been lurking in the Beacons for the past couple of days. I thought my tarp was quite minimalist until I saw some others! Mike's Siltarp was not much more than a figleaf, Darren had to retreat into the corner of his when the weather roughened up in the night and Bob and Rose had to turn theirs around when the wind and rain changed direction in the early hours. I had a small amount of rain come in at one end of mine which could have been avoided if I'd pitched one end a bit lower. Tents are just too heavy to carry.

Next morning, Sunday, it was still raining and everyone headed for home, with the exception of Mike the Chef who intended to make a week of it (he didn't). Alan and I were the last to leave and we sloshed across the moor to a tarmaced road and on down to Glyntawe.
Altogether a successful trip, despite the weather.

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