Brecon Beacons Gold Qualifying Venture

Congratulations must go to Shaun, Raf, Chris and Jess for their sterling efforts in the Brecon Beacons, completing their DofE Gold Qualifying Expedition. So after 78km, 3217m of ascent and 4 days of walking a happy, tired and very damp group emerged from the Brecon Beacons. This is their story.

On Sat, 7 July the group of participants and Applied Expeditions staff travelled down to a campsite between Brecon and Sennybridge. The rest of Sat and Sun was taken up with final checks on the route, kit and campsites. Particular reference was paid to the waterproofing of kit as the weather forecast was rain for most of the four expedition days. The group also managed a little shopping both at the supermarket and the obligatory visit to the outdoor shop.

Monday morning the cloud was down over the top of the hills however it had risen just above the start point on Mynydd Llangynidr so a photo of the group was taken. The group also had a chat with the Assessor before departing onto the moor in the cloud. Fortunately the cloud lifted and the group were able to see where they were going. The route took them past the Chartist Cave and then over the hill to take in the views above Talybont Reservoir. That evening was spent in one of the best campsites in the area, however I really think the group enjoyed camping at Pencelli Castle campsite.

Tuesday morning and the weather had deteriorated to low cloud, rain and some wind on the exposed ridge. This was to be the most strenuous day climbing the long spur to the top of Fan-y-Big. The group then continued along the rest of the ridge, summiting Pen-y-Fan, before descending to Storey Arms via the Obelisk, a memorial to the 5 year old Tommy Jones whose body was found at this spot. A short jaunt down the roman road soon brought the group to the campsite at Blaen Glyn Farm, a far cry from the standards of the previous night. The group’s morale was low and their feet were sore however they were now halfway.

Wednesday morning the weather had improved a little but there was still the matter of climbing up to the top of Craig Cerrig. After this fairly stiff climb the rest of the day was long but not too much more climbing to be done. The weather stayed bright for the morning even with some patches of blue sky and some great visibility, however a cheeky rain squall quickly reminded the group how the weather can dramatically change in the mountains. The group stayed overnight at Dan-y-Orgof campsite and relished the hot showers after another damp afternoon.

Thursday was an early start at first light trying to get their route and 8 hours of planned activity finished as early in the day as possible. Another gargantuan effort as they crossed the Black Mountain  from east to west. Some good navigation is required on this mountain as the tracks are faint, the bogs are extensive and some trail breaking is required. The group finally arrived at the finish point tired, damp but elated knowing what they had accomplished during the past 4 days.

Now it’s time for the group to reflect on their achievements, what they have learnt about themselves and their team during this tough process. I am very much looking forward to their presentation ….

If you fancy doing your expedition in the Brecon Beacons, please Contact Us and we can we can arrange it for you.

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