Everything was planned for a great sixteen-miles in these brilliant mountains. My bag was packed. Lunch prepared. As I bent down to put my shoes on and, before I could even tie my laces, something ‘went’ in my lower back.
I like to think that a great proportion of the British public are already aware that the infamous toll charges for crossing the River Severn in to Wales have now been scrapped. Where a car would’ve recently had to pay £5.60 for the privilege of a day’s walk in the Brecon Beacons, we can all now make that journey without that added expense.
On the day before this significant event, I drove up to South Gloucestershire for a familiar walk along the Severn Way and above the active toll booths for one final time.
One of my final walks of 2018 concerned an overdue return to the Black Mountains of South Wales. With the tolls for both of the Severn Bridge crossings having been scrapped earlier in December, there was less of an excuse not to travel towards the Brecon Beacons.
I drove to Bristol and met up with my friend Dave, who I’m be car-sharing and walking with.
Pen Y Fan, as you may well know, is the highest mountain in the southern half of the UK. It resides within the central Brecon Beacons of South Wales and is a popular place for all sorts of people, with a car park situated around 400m beneath the summit in terms of elevation.
I don’t often venture here, for the likely possibility that it is going to be bust. Perhaps not ‘Snowdon busy’ but, still. In fact, I’d not been to this particular mountain top for almost two whole years.
This was a ‘Joint Walk’ led by Brunel Walking Group, where both age groups were welcome to attend.
I’d been to the Brecon Beacons a few times and had always covered the same range of heights (Corn Du, Pen Y Fan, Cribyn…). But this walk promised to offer something slightly different and less frequented by the flip-flop wearing Storey Arms tourists.