In summer 2006, I spent my holiday in the south of Wales, in Brecon Beacons National Park. Here are some of the pictures I took.

If you are interested, you can see many of the spots I visited on Google Earth: Wales 2006. If you do not want to install it, try Google Maps.

Day one

A dull journey. I arrived at Trefecca farm around four o'clock. The owners had gone into town, so I had to wait a little while. I was welcomed by the landlady, Helen. I liked the double bed. It gives you a lot of room to lie around if you are the only one in it. Helen offered English breakfasts, but I prefered some slices of bread with her homemade jams.

Day two

I drove across the valley to come to the road from Hay-on-Wye to Abergavenny. Just north of where I came out on the road, a footpath leads to the Tack Wood geocache. I found it without problems.

After that I drove south to Gospel Pass, where I started toward another geocache: Lord Hereford's Knob. After an hour's walk, I think I was very close, but in the end I did not find it. I had a beautiful view, though.

My last stop was Llanthony Priory. I visited the priory three years ago, but then had no time for a walk. This time I walked up to Offa's Dike Path. After following that for a while, I tried to find a way down. I lost track and had to cut across a field of ferns and climb over a fence, but I arrived back at the car and the pub in time for dinner.


Day three

South Wales' industrial heritage are its coalmines and ironworks. Pwl Mawr, the Big Pit, has been converted into a museum. Visitors are taken underground in a cage lift and get a tour of the mines. Back on the surface, several exhibits show the life of a miner. Our guide had worked in the mine when it was still operational and had some good stories.

Due to possible flammable gases, no electronics were allowed down in the mine. Besides, it was too dark for clear pictures.

Back in the car, I broke a tooth.


Day four

After a visit to the dentist, I wanted to climb the Corn-Du and Pen-y-Fan. At the parking area it started raining. I waited a while, but it kept going. I decided to go up anyway. It was clouded and at the summit vision reached only about 10 m. So, no pictures. On the ridge the wind was blowing something awful.

At the suggestion of Helen, I had dinner at the Black Cock Inn, Llanfihangel Talyllyn. Great food for a decent price.

Day five

I drove from Sennybridge south to Ystradfellte (even Helen did not know how to pronounce that). This valley is where the hard rock of the Black Mountains meet the soft limestone of the Fforest Fawr. The river dissolves the limestone more quickly, carving out some spectacular waterfalls.

From the upper parking (Gwaun Hepste) leaves the Four Fall Trail. The first waterfall is the furthest from the car park: Sgwd yr Eira, the Fall of Snow. It has hollowed out the rock underneath its upper bed, so you can, carefully, walk behind the water.

When I left the car, it was raining a bit, but the weather soon cleared.


Day six

I had a rest day. Since I had finished the last book I brought, I visited Hay-on-Wye, the book town. I found some nice secondhand books. I finally found a store that had new books, but they did not have what I wanted.

The weather was nice, so afterwards I found a nice picnic spot in a forest nearby where I spent the afternoon reading and trying to lure the birds even closer.


Day seven

From a parking above the Talybont Reservoir, I walked to the Canadian memorial. In World War II, a Canadian bomber hit the rock wall in the mist. Some of the wreckage still remain. Near the memorial is a geocache.

I took a path that led in the right direction, but it vanished in the fields. A family that took the same path shortly behind me and I decided not to walk back around, but to cross the field. They turned out to be Dutch as well.


Day eight

I bought a small book with circular walks in the Brecon Beacons. I decided to try one of them: number 7, Pen y Fan and Corn Du from Cwm Llwch. It was a long 4 hour walk with some steep climbing. It had been clear and sunny, but as I reached the summit of Corn Du, a cloud overtook me. As on day four, I could not take pictures. When I came down from Pen y Fan, the cloud lifted and the walk down was as pleasant as it could be.


Day nine

I did two more walks from the book I bought. First I climbed Sugar Loaf Mountain near Abergavenny. The circular walk sent me roundabout to the side of the mountain, where I climbed up and aproached the summit along the ridge. Returning to the car was more straightforward.

The second walk started on a lay-by along the A40 near Bwlch, where the road to Trefecca splits of. From there I walked through the woods up to the ridge of Allt yr Esgair. From there I had an escellent view along the Usk river valley, but also on the other side towards Llangorse lake.

In the rock wall below the ridge, I found another geocache. It was easy to find, because a previous cacher dropped a pencil sharpener in the grass.


Day ten

I went a little further than the rest. Carreg Cennen Castle is perched on a cliff at the western edge of the National Park. I also did a circular walk that started, and ended, at the castle and showed it from different angles. In its time, the castle was nearly unconquerable: a steep hill on one side, a 100 meter drop on the other.

On my walk, I met a man who camped in the wild nearby. We walked together for a while. It took him over 15 minutes to figure out I was a foreigner. When he asked me where I lived, he expected an English town.


Day eleven

Another dull journey, except for the annoyance of the new, ‘improved’ anti-terrorism measures.

They confiscated my emergency whistle: “Whistles are not allowed on the airplane.” In the plane, the stewardesses explain that each seat has a life vest, and each life vest has a light and a whistle to draw attention from rescuers. A hundred whistles where everyone can easily get at them.