It’s late Friday afternoon, head is still a bit fuzzy from Thursday’s “I’ll go out for one” drinks, and you are dreading that last minute email from your boss asking for an update on that thing you said you would get done by Tuesday. This week, this time is going by extra slowly as you know that once your are out of the office you are getting out of the office to the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
So realistically speaking, the best way to get out to Brecon Beacons is going to be by car (3 hours 45 minutes.) On Google maps I saw that you can get public transport but it was absolutely dreadful and made it prohibitive for a weekend getaway. My friends and I all left our offices around 6:00 PM and converged on Kings Cross St. Pancras to pick up our car. Seeing our whole crew was international (German, French, Greek, American) this was our first mistake. The traffic getting out of London at Friday rush hour was absolutely soul crushing. If I were to do the whole thing again, I would look into renting a car from Heathrow or something just to get outside central London. Other than the initial traffic, everything was smooth sailing. It was getting late and we were getting hungry so we ended up diverting a little bit to grab some dinner in Bristol.
We got to our hostel late at night so we didn’t have a chance to appreciate how beautiful it was. We stayed at the YHA Brecon Beacons Hostel. They had multiple types of rooms available ranging from bunks to bigger private rooms. They also have these wild small personal huts which some people in our group ended up taking (definitely splurge if you are looking for a nicer get away.) They had communal breakfast and dinners you could pay for if you wanted (our group did not take this.) Parking is definitely a premium here though so leave the SUV at home.
DAY OF THE HIKE
Our group was planning on a long 15+ mile hike so we had an early wake up call. After setting alarms for 530 in the morning, we all awoke bleary eyed, got dressed, packed our day packs:
- Hiking Boots (absolutely necessary if going off main paths)
- Waterproof Pants and Top
- Packed Lunch and Nutritional Bars
- Base, Mid, Top layers, Gloves (I did this last week of October)
- 2 Liters of Water
- Hip flask of cheeky whiskey
- Map (particularly if you are going off main trails)
- Nikon D810 with 35mm, 12-24mm, 70-200mm lenses.
We then made some instant coffee in the hostel communal kitchen and met up with the rest of the group to head out for our day.
This dark-sky reserve is home to the moody Black Mountains and magical Coed-y-Rhaeadr (Wood of the Water), where cascades include Sgwd-yr-Eira (the Snow Waterfall) on the River Hepste, with a path leading right behind the curtain of water.
The trek was everything that we hoped for. We got extremely lucky with the weather and only had small amounts of snow. I could go on and describe it more but figure it is better to just show you so that you can see for your self.
POST HIKE AND RETURN TO LONDON
After we finished our hike we all took some naps and awoke to get some cabs (ask at the front desk for the numbers) to go eat some delicious Indian food at The Ghurka Corner (the vindaloo is spicy!) We woke up on Sunday and got some coffee at a great cafe called Coffee #1 Brecon. We all piled back into our cars and made our way back to London, but needed to make a pit stop at an absolutely wonderful pub The Pheasant Inn (Hungerford) where we could eat and drink all of our calories back on.
When my alarms went off Monday morning and I needed to head back to the office, I was a bit sore and disappointed to not be back in the Brecon Beacons. This is the point though. Unfortunately you can’t do this every day; however, nothing stops you from getting out of the office and into the outdoors each weekend.