After a lovely weekend in Wales last year (read about it here), we decided to make a return visit this year with the aim of climbing to the top of Pen Y Fan – the highest mountain in Southern Britain (rather than the second highest mountain – Corn Du – which we may have accidentally climbed last year!!)
We spent the whole week leading up to our trip checking the weather forecast. Unfortunately, Saturday was looking like a complete wash out. Heavy rain, winds and flooding were expected so we decided to take a detour to Cardiff rather than heading straight to Brecon.
TJ is currently showing a real interest in Space and science at the moment so we decided to visit Techniquest in Cardiff Bay. It was fairly reasonable to get in and was full of lots of interactive, hands-on exhibits. TJ absolutely loved it and really enjoyed learning about the gas planets in the Planetarium.
After a spot of lunch and a detour to Barry Island (of Gavin and Stacey fame) and a jackpot win on the 2p machines, we headed up to our hotel in Merthyr Tydfil just in time to watch England beat Wales in the 6 Nations match!!
Luckily, the weather on Sunday was looking much better so we gathered our walking boots, hats, gloves and scarves and headed to the National Trust car park (Pont at Daf) less than 20 minutes away from Merthyr. As we arrived, it started to snow fairly heavily. TJ was beyond excited and we couldn’t wait to get walking.
The weather was crazy for the ascent – one minute bright sunshine and blue skies, the next a snow storm. It was quite an experience!
It took us around 2 hours to get to the summit and we were really proud of TJ. Thanks to a stash of brioche, chocolate and water he managed it with minimal moaning (!).
The views from the top were simply stunning – the photos don’t really do it justice. We found out that the temperature was -14 degrees thanks to the wind chill. Thankfully, we were well wrapped up and didn’t actually feel too cold.
After taking the obligatory selfie with the Pen Y Fan sign, we started our descent.
You realise just how steep the climb is when you start walking down as, at times, your legs almost start running automatically! It took about an hour and a half to get down and the cup of tea from the food van at the bottom was like a little piece of heaven! For some bizarre reason, TJ wanted an ice cream (as well as a hot chocolate) so we sat for a while waiting for the feeling to come back in our feet before starting our journey back to Dorset.
We had a fantastic weekend away and can’t wait to head back to Wales – perhaps in the summer.