Fuelled with a good breakfast, I’m parked up and ready to climb Pen y Fan and Corn Du, the two highest peaks in the Brecon Beacons, Wales.
The weather is about 19 degrees celsius and it’s lightly raining. I watch trekkers who have gone before me returning full of good spirits to the car park and I look forward to the walk.
I choose the toughest route, the one that is used by the military for army and special forces training. The path is steep and, because it’s raining, muddy. It doesn’t take long before the slopes start to leave me feeling breathless, but the spectacular views of the Brecons are worth every moment.
Weather conditions began to worsen. A cloud has descended over the hill and I am surrounded by a sea of white. Inside the cloud, it’s wild. Wind, rain and poor visibility. For the last metres to the top, the path gives way to rocky boulders that have to be scrambled over before I can reach the top.
At the top are several groups of people who have climbed Pen y Fan from different sides of the hill. There is a palpable buzz in the air as people smile and crack jokes with fellow trekkers. Some other travellers approach me and we chat and offer to take photographs of one another. It feels wonderful to be at the top and the wind was no match for our good spirits.
A short ten minutes later I’ve walked along the ridge and am standing at the top of Corn Du, again surrounded by smiling, drenched travellers.
We laugh at our bedraggled appearances, take photographs and I have the second wind I need to start the journey back down the hill.
I walk carefully at first down the steep, wet stones. As I get lower, the rain begins to ease and the sun breaks through. Round a corner, a lake appears - the perfect place to refuel and take in the beautiful, Welsh landscape. On this side of the hill, sheep roam free and grazed peacefully around us.
Three hours and I’m back at the car park. I hardly notice that I’m soaking wet. I’m chuffed to pieces to have completed the challenge and grateful to have spent the day in one of Britain's most beautiful and famous national parks.
1. Wear the right gear. Nothing beats having the right shoes for an outdoor walk. Make sure they’re comfy, have good grip and will keep your feet dry.
2. Keep fuelled. A good breakfast filled with protein will give you the headstart you need for your day. Nuts and dried fruit make good, healthy snacks to take on your way when your energy levels need a boost.
3. Stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water. You don’t want to develop headaches or start to feel unwell due to dehydration.
4. Go with a buddy. Not only is it safer to have someone with you in case of an accident, but you’re there to encourage and pick each other up if things get tough.
5. Bring your sense of humour. The most important thing is to have some fun. Smile a lot and laugh more. That’s the secret to a really enjoyable day!
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August 23, 2021