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Brecon Beacons, 29 November-1 December 2013

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Author: Phil Withnall

This weekend was spent in glorious, un-Welsh weather at the Cwmfforest bunkhouse in the eastern Brecon Beacons. After a slow start due to the MPV and one car leaving Churchill late, everyone got to the bunkhouse without much trouble and proceeded to lay into the biscuits.

On Saturday, all of the groups took to the ridges around Waun Fach, with most routes incorporating a visit to Lord Hereford’s Knob. Some groups even stopped for a rest and to eat on the Knob. The weather remained clear, crisp and sunny all day, giving great views of south Wales. All the groups returned in good time except the Australian contingent, who were bumped into by the safety officer on his way out to phone them, a good hour after dark. They’d had a great (but slow) walk.

Saturday night was a feast. Instead of the normal collection of cooking groups, one big group cooked Christmas dinner for everyone. Predictably, it was ready 1.5 hours late, but was worth waiting for. Roast chicken and pigs in blankets (or stuffed peppers for the vegetarians), plus roast potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, leeks, two different types of stuffing, mash, and Brussels sprouts (and I’ve probably forgotten things). Mulled wine on the side, then liquidy trifle and cake to finish. There were many complaints of being too full afterwards, and a lot of dozing was done. A little less singing was done than normal.

Surprisingly, the Brussels sprouts were the first thing to be finished. This is further proof that hill walkers are abnormal.

On Sunday, people rolled out of bed quite late. Most groups were gone by 09:30 though, leaving only the second fell running group of the weekend behind to go on their crazy way. Most of the walks on Sunday focused on a nearby ruined castle (‘Castell Dinas’) and a series of waterfalls to the north, at the Cwm Pwll-y-wrach nature reserve. The pub group were disappointed to find out that the pub was closed, but couldn’t complain because they’d had fun eating a picnic and taking millions of photos all morning.

Clearing up the bunkhouse took less time than normal, and everyone was back in Cambridge by 21:00 after an uneventful trip back.

Trip Participants

Chris A, Tom A, Paul C, Helen F, Tom O, Matt H, Stefano R, Phil W, Victoire T de M, Madeline K, Chris B, Constanze H, Matthew C, Antonia C, Laurent M, Georgie S, Steven W, Anne N, Alex K, Paul F, Rhianna K, Adrien Van den B, Nael el B, Jonathan H, John O, Daniel F and Valerie A.

Photos