25th March - the last gasp of winter in the Brecon Beacons
Belen & Daniel, on their third walk with Rob, saw the heavy fall of snow mid week and the fantastic forecast for the weekend and headed out to the Brecon Beacons National park for a weekend of winter walking. Unfortunately, the strong sun melted most of the snow but it was still a great day to climb the three highest of the Beacons by the less walked northern ridges. We used the Cefn Cwm Llwch ridge to ascend Pen y Fan where the happy crowds were joined. Having wandered across to Corn Du and taken in the stunning views we left all behind as we traversed the steep northern face of Cribyn before climbing the ladder of Bryn Teg, truly a "stairway to heaven", to the narrow summit of Cribyn. We returned in the footsteps of the legions as the old "Roman Road" returned us to the bucolic stillness of the fields nestling beneath the Beacons.
26th - 31st March National Cycle Route 4 completed!
Rob and Sarah left Wales this week in order to complete their journey From Fishguard, Pembrokeshire to Greenwich in London. Starting the final push at Newport, they travelled along the Severn levels to Chepstow to complete the Celtic Trail. Next came the old Severn Bridge and a cycle into Bristol.
The following day, the Bristol & Bath Railway Path and the towpath of the Kennet & Avon Canal brought them to the beautiful city of Bath and then up into Wiltshire, culminating in the impressive Cain Hill lock flight outside Devizes. Hartley's Farm, near Pewsey, gave a great night's B&B.
Tuesday saw a journey down the Kennet valley. The pumping station at Crofton, which maintains water levels on the canal, made for an interesting stop. Hungerford and Newbury were passed as they reached Reading for the night.
After a rest day, Rob & Sarah headed further east via the expansive Windsor Great Park and Richmond Park to follow the Thames as far as Richmond on Thames. Despite being in one of the most densely populated places in the UK, the clever cycle route 4, managed to avoid most of the traffic!
Finally a comfortable few hours took them through Fulham, Chelsea and Westminster to reach the tourist hotspot of the London Eye. Keeping to the south bank, the final miles continued down stream to terminate at Greenwich - the Cutty Sark and the Royal Naval College. Having crossed the country, it was difficult to stop but the call of Wales brought us back!
7th March - Brecon Beacons Tourism Ambassador Day 2 - Your Heart in the Park
As part of our training to be welcoming ambassadors to the national park, we focussed on people's love of the park. We heard from a geologist - Alan Bowring of the Brecon Beacons Geopark, an archaeologist - Alice Thorne of the park and an ornothologist - Steve Smith of Whinchat Walks. The dozen budding ambassadors then told their own story of where and why their "heart is in the park". Here is mine:
Aged 12 and living in Bristol I had never seen mountains other than on holiday on Arran. March 1975 saw a large group from my church, Totterdown Methodist in Bristol set out from Crickhowell to walk the Allt Mawr ridge. There was deep snow on that day and I was so impressed that I vowed there and then that I wanted to live in the Black Mountains. In 1992, I made good that promise by moving here. So my heart is in the park - on the western ridge of the Black Mountains!