A Welsh Weekend

Christmas is fast approaching and it’s the time of year where everyone starts to get busier. Work, shopping, family visits – it all happens in December. This weekend is my last one off rota until Christmas Eve, so I headed down to South Wales to visit some family and do a spot of walking.

The weather forecast for the weekend wasn’t great so on Friday night we decided that we would play it by ear. I had a couple of routes in mind but knew they wouldn’t be sensible in bad weather. What we woke up to on Saturday instead was beautifully clear blue skies and no wind (but still bitterly cold!) We headed to the Brecon Beacons for a walk around Blaen y Glyn waterfalls.

Arriving at midday, there was the possibility of lengthening the walk and heading up high for a circular ridge walk. I’d found the route on OS maps and it looked spectacular, and from the car park I could see the ridges. However, with only a few hours of light left, we decided we would stick to the waterfall route and get up high another day.

The walk starts at lower Blaen y Glyn car park and follows the river up. It’s been extremely rainy this week in Wales and so it wasn’t the easiest route underfoot – very slippery in some areas! But beautiful views right from the start.

There was snow on the higher peaks which we could see as we gained height. After seeing photos from the Lake District this weekend I had been very jealous of the snow there, so I was happy to get a glimpse of some.

The walk takes in 5 waterfalls, all spectacular. I love the noise and force that comes from a waterfall – they’re so powerful and I find it breathtaking how something so calm can become so wild.

About halfway up there’s a bridge in front of the highest fall which will allow you to cross over and finish the walk on the other side of the river. We wanted to walk a bit further up towards the start of the ridge walk and I wanted to get some photos from higher up, so we carried on.

After walking past the top waterfall it was a bit of a scramble to get up onto the start of the peak, with mounds of long grass between various little streams. The route follows a gully as opposed to a proper path. While we were up on this bit, it began snowing and I couldn’t have been any happier. Christmas is my favourite time of year. We hardly ever get snow in my area, especially before the New Year, so this felt pretty special. It didn’t settle but I still saw it!

Surrounding us were the peaks and straight ahead was Craig y Fan Ddu – it looked amazing and I was itching to climb it, but knew it would soon be getting dark. One for another day!

A walk couldn’t possibly happen without a couple of selfies too…

The way back always seems to be quicker, wherever you’re travelling! We crossed onto the other side just for a little variation to the route and walked the last part through the forest. It had really started to get cold by this point and looking back you could see the bad weather coming in quickly. Back at the car we decided to go for a drive around the area before we headed home.

The Talybont reservoir looked pretty impressive from the road, so I had to pull over and grab a photo.

The route home also took us much higher than we originally were, so there was still some snow that hadn’t been touched by the sun. I got out for some more photos, despite not being able to feel my fingers anymore…

After this area, we were back on the main roads home with the mountains becoming smaller and smaller. Whenever I travel to the mountains I hate leaving, and so it’s become a bit of a tradition that I keep looking back until I can’t see them anymore. Might be torturing myself a little? I just always like that last little glimpse.

Sunday involved another nice little walk along the Welsh coast, but I’ll save that adventure for another day. Right now, it’s the drive back to Essex for a week of night shifts, followed by Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. My favourite Christmas tradition ❄ There are lots of ways to get out and explore this winter, and I think the cold and snow just helps make it all that bit more magical. Stay warm, all. Until next time.

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