The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Brecon Beacons (Part 2)

The cold feet that had sent me scurrying off to my sleeping bag then woke me up every two hours during the night, until finally at 5.30am I awoke to find them warm.

Two hours later I awoke again to find myself absolutely roasting. The sun had come up and even at the early hour of day it was turning the inside of the tent into a sauna.

I was soon up putting the kettle on and it wasn’t long before everyone else was milling around.

Not being in any great rush to get moving (rather hoping that some of the others would catch up with us so that I could say hello before we had to leg it back to the car) we spent a leisurely couple of hours drinking tea, packing away and marvelling at how different the weather was from the day before.

By 9.30 we had said our goodbyes and had donned our packs, when two people were spotted heading down the path in the general direction of our camping spot. We sat back down for a while to see if anyone was going to join us, but finally (after wandering down stream to see where they’d gone) I decided that they were complete strangers. So, once again we donned our packs and headed off uphill to the north, whilst Alan and Geoff headed off to the west.

Once we got up onto the ridge (is ridge the right word when it’s a gentle slope on one side but drops away the other?) more than a few ‘wows’ and ‘ooohs’ were uttered, not just at the views but also at the impressive terrain immediately around us. The camera was put into good use.

Once we got into a position that we could see the whole of the walk ahead of us, I did start to get a bit concerned that we didn’t have time to do the walk we had intended. However, there was no obvious shortcut to be taken so we carried on regardless (and of course, got back to the car in plenty of time to get us back to the Midlands in time).

We had the first part of the ridge to ourselves (apart from the sheep, some of which were standing on ridiculously steep ground just below us; surely some of them must lose concentration and fall off?). In fact, it wasn’t until the second llyn came into view that we started encountering people.

By the time we were half way along the llyn, it was quite obvious that we were in the vicinity of a car park by the dozens of people that were suddenly around us.

We had intended to drop down off the ridge at the end of the llyn to take the lower level path back to the car, but once we got there the decision was made that as the views were so extensive from up high and the breeze so nice and refreshing, we would continue on the high route.

Although the path was less well defined along this section, it still seemed to be reasonably busy on this fine day, until as we started dropping back down towards the car we must have reached the time of day when people had stopped setting out for their walks and suddenly we were back by ourselves.

At the bottom of the hill, we soon found the public right of way that we had intended to be on – only to then find within a hundred yards or so of our destination that the footpath was closed due to an unsafe bridge. I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention, but the diversion route looked to be about a mile around (and involved backtracking – so why wasn’t there a notice where the diversion started?). Given that a) I wasn’t about to backtrack unnecessarily and b) on closer inspection the closure notice was dated last November and had a duration of 6 months, we decided to give the bridge a closer inspection.

It held our weights admirably, so within minutes we were breathing a sigh of relief to find that the car was still where we left it and still in one piece.

And then we were off, haring towards the Midlands and the promise of an evening full of food and wine.

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