Presents unwrapped, enough food eaten to keep me going until March and far too many hours of television watched. Yes Christmas is over for another year and I hope it’s been a good one for you all and that Santa was as generous as he was for me (I must have been a good boy after all). Unfortunately the festivities have coincided with me being laid up for the best part of a week with what I can only assume was some new super strain of bubonic plague. Due to my ridiculous work ethic I didn’t have to take a sick day but the resultant extra strain on body and mind meant that today is pretty much the first time that I’ve felt anywhere near like being back to my best (somewhere I can hear the worlds smallest violin being played). That’s not to say that we haven’t attempted a couple of outings though with a walk from Port Eynon on Christmas Eve delivering five Mediterranean Gulls and two Chiffchaffs whilst yesterdays jaunt up into the hills above Afon Argoed put us at eye level with a passing Goshawk. Definitely a case of quality over quantity then.
Of course all that is very well and good but what I really had planned for this break were several days walking amidst the snow capped peaks of the Brecon Beacons. Initially it looked like conditions weren’t going to play ball but temperatures have plummeted over the last couple of nights and with it the white fluffy stuff has finally arrived. If I’m honest I would have liked a little more but our walk up Pen y Fan today was absolutely sublime with clear skies and just enough snow to keep the photographer within me satisfied.
As usual I took my own route up to Corn Du which was once again entirely deserted. Compare that to the hoards traipsing up both main paths and it’s a wonder that so few others ever feel the need to break out and experience the solitude that’s only a stones throw away. Sure beats being harried along by people walking practically on your ankles and the ever present calling for some dog or other to return. I may be turning into a grumpy old man after all.
Up on the peaks temperatures were absolutely freezing and despite a warming sun it didn’t take very long at all for fingers to become painfully cold. Fortunately we had enough warm weather gear for conditions far worse which meant that there was plenty of time to enjoy our fantastic surroundings. The landscape in this part of the world really is spectacular and I can’t wait for the longer days again which will allow me to tackle the classic Pen y Fan horseshoe once more.
In the end it was a wrench to take our leave but after a late start the sun was already heading down and I didn’t fancy being out there after dark. A lack of ice or snow on the lower reaches meant that we were back at the car in no time and I’m pleased to report that my previous ills seem to have finally been banished. Good thing too as the run into New Year is looking anything but quiet.