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Wild Camping in the Brecon Beacons - Under a cold clear sky 2011/01/24

Introduction

My train collided with a herd of cows which forced me to catch the later bus to Crickhowel too. I set foot at the beginning of my route at a far later time than I had anticipated. My wild camping in the Brecon Beacons would have to wait, at least until I got up onto the hills! The transition from woodland to upland is always dramatic and this trip was no exception. The views continued up to Table Mountain then onwards to the rest of the ridge way heading towards Pen Allt-Maw. The setting sun was perfect but marked the approaching difficulty of my now inevitable night walking phase. I had planned to make my campsite (a further 15km away) by sunset; this was of course completely out of the question; however I carried on, another 7km into the night.


The hills were eerily lit by the moon and my head torch, a light mist surrounded the highest peaks. Everything around me on the hills was a shade of grey and black. The wind picked up and died down almost in constant measure. I looked at my map, it was a very long way to go and in front of me was only more exposure. With only a bivi bag I felt I should find lower ground so I decided to turn back. Wild camping in the Brecon Beacons is always fun and sometimes a bit challenging.

Bivi on a Mountain

With all that behind me I unpacked my gear in a lovely out-of-the-way spot by a quiet bubbling stream with trees on one side and a bank of thick grass on the other offering protection. I cooked up some dinner with half of me in my sleeping bag trying to warm it up. I remembered for a long time this night wild camping in the Brecon Beacons.

The night itself was a very cold one with the moon staring at me for most of it. Seeing water crystallise on your bivi bag is never a pleasant sight. It was a restless sleep and I lost sensation in my feet for most of it. The morning sun which would send those warm rays to melt the ice, I felt could not come soon enough. Once it was up I placed everything facing the warmth and quick enough everything was dry once again. My two days off seemed to go past so quickly and the night was spent shivering and numb but I felt blue about heading back to the city.

I packed up my gear and headed back down towards the start of the tarmac.
This would have to be a mere taste of this route, I will return soon to complete it. Something that I really cannot wait to do as wild camping in the Brecon Beacons is always easy to reach.
Next trip, Exmoor in two days time...

-Sunny

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