I woke with a renewed sense of purpose today, I had been woken in the night to the low flying search and rescue helicopter, it buzzed over my tent a number of times no more than a few hundred feet, its features and markings clearly visible to me, I wondered if I was about to have a knock on my tent from mountain rescue or indeed rescue some beleaguered and lost walker. For around 2 hrs it buzzed the hills near me untill all was quiet and of I drifted to sleep.
Morning came and earlier than usual 4:30am, needing to be off the hill before the walkers began arriving, 20 mins and I was packed away, a thin blanket of frost covered my tent and ground freezing my hands before a brew warmed them again.
I trekked the short distance to the main car park of Pont ar Daf, I’ll be honest, I had not relished the thought of trekking up Pen Y Fan having seen how busy the place can get over holiday weekends, there was lots of activity below, charity stands set up awaiting another fund-raiser, people coming down from the hill capturing the sunrise. It was a slightly odd place, with the many cars, toilets and burger vans awaiting its visitors.
I started my assent and stopped often, it was a steep old hill and deserved the off stop to see the view from behind, I find it amazing looking back and being able to see where I have come from, tracing an invisible path down from the hill.
I passed a few people going up and a few passed me, I was soon at the top and took in the view and was even able to get a shot at the trig which in recent weeks has seen ques of people awaiting a chance to capture a shot.
Down I went heading towards Fan Y Big, my intended route was up and over but I opted to take the lower route cutting alongside Tor Glas and the Upper Neuadd Reservoir, it made a nice change to be heading downhill after the last 2 days of almost constant ups, I passed a few more walkers and a man seemingly possessed running at full pelt past me towards Pen Y Fan, carrying only a jacket. A few more runners passed before I passed into the Taf Fechan forest, the trails now flattening out into forestry tracks, beseeched either sie by tall pines closely clumped together forming a dense interior.
The path cut through the forest and passed Torpantau station, once the highest station in the Brecons, I was hoping for some kind of cafe but when I neared there was nothing there but a few benches, a small A road and then onto the Taff trail again, it ran its course along a rather wonderful valley leading into the Tallybont reservoir and offered amazing views along the way.
A short climb lead me upto Tor y Foel, a quick drink and snack break and off i set on a trot and headed downhill again, there was a short stretch of lovely rolling farmlands and I was happy to see lovely lambs running around enjoying their world. I ran along the fields passing pygmy goats and tiny ponies before dropping into the town of Llangynidr where I jumped into the first pub I came across, as I walked in I lay on the bar and the lady at he bar stated i looked like I needed a drink. A coke, sandwich and crisps were eaten with joy as I watched the world go by more scout and D of E kids setting off on their adventures.
A 13 mile stretch of the Monmouth and Brecon canal awaited, a flat and winding route busy with the adventures of people out for the bank holiday weekend, it was nice to see it so well used with walkers, cyclist, canoes and boaters. People were a mix of pleasant and just rude, some were happy to say hello and some just plainly ignored me. A few cyclist nearly hit me as I was unable to hear him coming and he didn’t bother to let me known he was there.
A couple were kind enough to stand and chat with me and even give me some money into the coffers, I offered a card to some and most declined to take one, im not sure people are unwilling to take them perhaps ill offer some sweets with the next ones.
CrickHowell and Llangattock passed quickly with Gilwern coming into view quickly, I was delighted to have found a sign declaring Walls ice-cream and gave an audible shout much to the amusement of a cyclist outside, I was also able to get a refill of my water bottle here, despite running alongside water, I was reluctant to try the filters ability to make this murky brown liquid safe. 2 ice creams were consumed and off I went, the weather was much warmer off the tops and I was now getting sunburnt as I went, the whole way now had a more industrial and populated feel with concrete replacing natural woodlands and meadows.
Just outside of Abergavenny I reached the border a short celebration and call home to confirm I was now done before the often hardest part of trying to navigate my way through the towns and its many streets. I reached a nice biker cafe and as I had time to spare whilst waiting for a train, I took the opportunity to have a brew and pasty.
A chap chatted with me a little and something he said stuck with me,
‘if you enjoy doing it, do it, don’t waste time wishing to do it’
Park number 6 was now finished, on totting the stats up it seems the total elevation of over 3000 meters, take into account that Snowdon is only 1000 and i have basically been up and down this 3 times, a total 60 miles were run over the 2 days.
After a day I was rested at home, copious amounts of food were eaten and I am pretty much ready to go again. This was challenging, navigation was difficult at times with the elevation taking its toll, im not even sure if this is the fastest crossing of its kind from west to easy so if anyone knows then please message me.