Hiking and camping at Pen y Fan, Wales

Brecon Beacons National Park, southern Wales. Journey from London: 4-hour drive

Fancy a last minute camping trip but don’t know where to go? Gather your gear on Friday night, pack and leave on Saturday morning!

During the summer of 2017, Matt, Lexi and I headed to the Brecon Beacons. We left on a Saturday morning so that we could be there around lunchtime.  Having prepared poorly the day before, we had to make a pit-stop at a camping/outdoors store on the way to buy a stove and some camping food. We arrived in Wales at about 1pm and stopped at a lovely local Welsh pub for lunch, the Red Cow Inn in Pontsticill, before starting our hike from Neuadd Car Park.

Pen y Fan at point 5 on this map.

We set off from the car park at about 2.30pm and walked on the route above anti-clock wise. We took our time as we were not in a rush. Take a peak at the snaps below.



Peaks: Corn Du on the left; Pen y Fan on the right

We arrived at Pen y Fan at about 5pm after lots of ups and downs with our heavy rucksacks, and from that point onwards we kept on walking, looking for a good, suitable spot to camp. At about 7pm we settled down, put our tent up, made dinner and watched the sunset before going to bed.


Camping hack: buy camping food… and bring these little bottles of wine!
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Watching the sunset before bedtime

One of the things I love doing while camping is watching the stars, and little had I known that the day I chose to camp out in the Welsh hills was also the day of the Perseid Meteor Shower. I woke up at 2.30am that night, feeling sleepy and cosy, I struggled to get out of my sleeping bag. I got up eventually, after battling in my own mind about whether I should get up or not. I opened the tent, looked at the sky and my jaws dropped – I did not hesitate for a second – I put my shoes on and got out of the tent.

The sky was absolutely stunning, I had not seen the sky like that in a long time. I could see the Milky Way with my naked eye just above our tent, right in the centre of the sky. Many big, bright shooting stars falling from the sky – I was hypnotised. I stayed out there in the cold for hours (I usually strongly dislike the cold, but it didn’t seem to bother me that night).

I had to blend two of the same photos to get this image. I played with different ISOs and different exposure times so that I could get the land and also most of the stars.
I am very pleased with this image, this is just one shot aimed at the very centre of the sky – where the Milky Way was. All I did in this image was put a bit of contrast and bring out the colours of the Milky Way.
Almost time for the sunrise

After about an hour, I started to wake up from my hypnosis. I could not feel my hands and toes and I took that as a sign I should go back to the tent. It took me some time to fall back asleep, but it was all worth it, it was a night well spent!

We woke up early on Sunday, at about 7am, had breakfast (porridge pots from Tesco! Just add boiling water) and started getting our things ready before we headed back to the car.



By 9am we were back in the car park, ready to drive back to London. We got back reasonably early, around 12.45pm, and had lunch in our favourite pub in Hammersmith where they serve Thai food – The Old City Arms.

I hope you liked reading about my mini adventure, and who knows maybe you will feel inspired to do something different with your weekend? As you can see, you can fit a lot in just under 48 hours.


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