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20th January - Beacons Way - The Final Cut
Day 11 of our 100 mile walk across the Brecon Beacons national park following The Beacons Way. The delightful route starts at the Holy Mountain, Skirrid Fawr, outside Abergavenny, and snakes its way across the park to reach, appropriately, the small village of Bethlehem in the Towy valley.
Today was our final day and as we'd used bikes to get back to the car, we'd divided the walk into eleven rather than the usual eight days. Our day began high on the slopes of the Black Mountain, dropped gradually to the stunning cliff-top perch of Carreg Cennen castle before descending gradually to Dyffryn Tywi ~ the Towy valley via the largest hill fort in Wales - Y Gaer Fawr. On reaching Bethlehem it was on the bikes for the thousand foot climb back up to the car and a race against the setting sun. And it was the day that Donald Trump became president!
7th January - Cader Idris - mountain leader preparation
In our final day of preparation for Beth's ML course, we tackled Cader Idris one of the giants of southern Snowdonia. Cader is always worth a climb and this was Rob's 38th ascent of his favourite mountain! He loved it so much, he once proposed marriage to Sarah on it, many years ago!!
Today we took the Minffordd route up to the beautiful glacial cirque of Cwm Cau ~ the closed valley. After a brief break bemoaning the lack of winter conditions we climbed Mynydd Pencoed and then on aroudn and up to reach Penygadair, the mountain's summit for lunch. Having climbed out of valley fog, we were well and truly back in the hill fog before we reached the 2,927' top, so no views today bar the tantalising glimpse down towards the surrouding valleys. For a change we went east to Mynydd Moel and then continued to the final summit, Gau Graig, before descending steeply down to the main road and a quick march in failing light back to the valley and Minffordd.
4th January - Beacons Way Day 10 - The Black Mountain (west)
Nearing our final destination we walked from Llanddeusant over the western hills of the Black Mountain ~ Mynydd Ddu. The weather was windy and cold, the cloud down and flu struck two of us, so little to report. Except to commend this quiet and remote part of the Brecon Beacons National Park as well worth exploring. Limestone country is always worth exploring, if only for working out what's going on beneath our feet!
27th December - 7th January Mountain Leader Certificate preliminary training
Beth has signed on for the MLC at Plas y Brenin in north Wales so she and Rob had seven days of training and experience above 2,000' in the Welsh mountains. They worked on navigational and leadership techniques while battling the lack of light and cold weather associated with winter mountaineering.