Hiking in the Brecon Beacons

The cold wind hit my cheeks making them rosy red. We could see across the Brecon Beacons; green hills rolled in front of us, while small settlements dotted the horizon with white and grey specks. In the far distance a lake could just about be made out. Its dull blue blended in with the sky. We were extremely lucky because the sun was out. After walking only 10 minutes our bodies warmed up, despite the low temperatures.

A family in front were walking their friendly dog. We sparked up a conversation with them, chatting about the local area. They kindly gave us some great recommendations about what to do. The first being to tackle the peak to our right. We took on board what they said and clambered up the mountain. We were soon greeted with more wonderful views. Panting at the top it was time to sit down and tuck into our peanut butter and banana sandwich. The crunchy nutty filling gave us the energy we needed to continue our walk.

The landscape was coated in a carpet of Bracknell. The brown vegetation is cut and used by farmers for animal bedding. It had spread like wild flies. Rectangular plantations of evergreen trees had been plonked on the adjacent mountains. These were clearly not wild species but were placed there by the forestry commission to grow timber. I closed my eyes and imagined how the landscape may have looked before farming had transformed the area. Native trees would have populated the valleys and wolf would have roamed.

Nonetheless, it felt revitalising to breath in the fresh air and invigorating hiking up Sugar Loaf Mountain.

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Returning to the car we drove down the road to a nearby vineyard growing a variety of grapes. They happened to have a delightful cafe where we enjoyed a warm well-deserved hot chocolate and tucked into a Welsh cheese board. All the cheeses had been made locally. My favourite was an onion mature cheddar.

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Feeling very satisfied we drove for 10 or so minutes into the quaint market town –Abergavenny. Mountain Warehouse were having a huge sale. We found some bargains before heading back to our hotel. Before dinner we wanted to work up an appetite and so went for a quick stroll along the bridge and the river next to Chamberlain Inn. Although there was a sign saying ‘private’ and instructions stating the way was not a footpath, we tried our luck pretending to be oblivious. Despite the sign there was a well trodden path along the river.

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The sky transitioned from blue to orange and then navy.

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It was time to head back for our Sunday roast dinner. Costing just £9.95 each we enjoyed the full works. Beef, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, new potatoes, cauliflower cheese, vegetables, horseradish sauce and lots of gravy. To top it off a chocolate orange cake and snickers brownie for dessert all included in the cost.

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It is safe to say we slept like babies, refreshed from all the walking and full of food.

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