Beacons D of E practice with BXM Expeditions and St.John’s School

Walking with; Team 8



Optimized-IMG_6744Full album on Facebook

The Brecon Beacons has always been special to me as my Gran has lived in the area for 30 odd years and I have very many happy memories of childhood visits to Crickhowell and the surrounding area. Whilst it lacks the height and mountain feel of Snowdonia in the North of the country it is a serious landscape prone to extremes of weather and used by the SAS for their training. So, it is certainly an area that could provide a very real challenge for a group of students practicing for their Summer time Silver expedition, especially with the early Easter meaning that the practice was earlier than it often is.
After a preparatory and route planning day using the excellent facilities at Newcourt Farm, we were up under blue skies cooking porridge and keen to get under way. The girls had chosen a route that took us along the valley before climbing onto the tops and then dropping back down to our second campsite at Trans-Wales stables. It proved to be a wild one, the early legs saw navigation skills being practiced and much discussion of how efficiently packing had been done! After the odd false turn we ended up on the tiny narrow road crossing the tops where we saw a herd of Welsh Mountain Ponies and soaring Buzzards and Red Kites. Luckily we had dropped low by the time the storm hit, but hit it did and it was pretty brutal with strong wind driving sleet into our faces and lowering morale. A brew in the barn on arrival and an early, if damp night, ended the day.
Day 2 was a bright start and a steep climb up the slopes of Pen Trumau after which the girls were left to their own devices, they’d obviously learned from the previous day and made their way to the final campsite which sat in beautiful sunshine in the valley between the Table Mountain and the Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance. It was a perfect, sunny evening with a cold, clear night and some magnificent views of the night stars. Day 3 saw the team skirting the Sugar Loaf and eventually making their way back to Crickhowell via the beauty of Llangenny Bridge in warm sunshine.
D of E is always fun work, it challenges the young people, pushes their boundaries and takes them to interesting places that they might not normally visit. It’s good to watch them grow in confidence and skill and also to see a bunch of teenagers without their mobile phones for 72 hours