In search of an eclipse..



We decided last night that we were going to get up before the sun rose and head for the hills in search of a gorgeous spot to have breakfast and watch the solar eclipse.

So we threw some quilts into the car along with a bowl to fill with water to watch the reflecting sun, some card to make our pin hole viewers, breakfast bowls & headed out under a blanket of mist with hope that it would clear in tow.

It was misty all the way there and little did we know that we’d climb out of the mist and be greeted by a beautiful blue sky.

Here’s how our morning looked..

I’m not great with a camera so the fully beauty wasn’t captured but the carpet of mist that sat below us sat underneath the eclipsed sun stunningly. 

Our breakfast table sat alongside Tor Y Foel mountain in the Brecon Beacons with Talybont reservoir hiding in the valley beneath the mist.

As the sun rose from behind the mountain behind us it slowly kissed the misty valley..



The mist was stunning..



We had company..





with the sun fully up we set up for breakfast and filled out bowl of water ready for the eclipse..



We tried making our own eclipse with playfough on cocktail sticks..

I tried to get some photos but they didn’t do any justice..

We were only there for just over an hour but before we left the mist had cleared.

when we returned home we made our own eclipse 🙂 



CRAIG-Y-FAN DDU RIDGE WALK

IMG_4926.JPGThere’s nothing more beautiful than a clear, crisp, and fresh winters day walk.
We parked in the Upper Blaen Y Glyn carpark (which in itself is an ideal location for waterfall hunting and picnicking) and headed up the steep path next to the cattle grid that lies to your right as heading out of the carpark.
We climbed the path heading for the visible Craig Y Fan Ddu towering above us. Our intention was to climb up onto the ridge and follow the route around to the right along Graig Fan Las until we reached the crash site of the Wellington Bomber that lays on Waun Rwdd….it was our plan to lay our memorial poppy here which we had been unable to lay a few weeks prior after deciding not to climb due to weather warnings.

As it was we got to the top of the first ridge accompanied by a beautiful blue sky to discover that the adjoining ridges were hugged with whiteout cloud, we took the choice to walk to the edge of the cloud before turning around and heading back the way we had come with clear visibility, it is best to avoid walking into thick white cloud as it often requires a heightened orienteering stance, can be considerably colder and has very low visibility. As much as we were prepared we wanted a blue skied walk….This meant that we did not reach the Wellington site but we found an equally beautifully placed memorial on our route and laid our Poppy.

As we headed back down the sun began to descend and everything was cast into a stunning orange glow as the day slipped away.
Our walk approx 3 hours.

Here’s our walk…

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IMG_4919.JPGwith our Poppy laid we walked to the edge of the cloud..

IMG_4938.JPGand then we headed back down..after we’d took time to admire the view and have a donut 🙂

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Directions..Upper Blaen-y-Glyn Car Park is in Blaen-Y-Glyn which is part of Talybont, BRECON Beacons, Mid Wales.
Once in Talybont-on-Usk follow signs for Talybont reservoir, passing through the village of Aber, continuing until Forestry Commission signs are seen. Follow the road over a small bridge and up a steep hill, crossing cattle grids on the way. The car park is located on the right at the top of the hill.
Talybont-on-Usk is the nearest town or village.
OS Grid Reference: SO 056176
Here’s a map of our route

OPENING THE FIRST ADVENT WINDOW

IMG_4787.JPGThe kids can’t wait to open their advent calendars, hung on the wall and idolised over for a week before advent and counting down the days til the first window can be torn at….
We decided that we wanted to make the first day of advent a little special and to give the kids a little bit of thinking time to help them gain a little appreciation of the things we have.
So we head out to find a beautiful spot to watch the day begin as we open our first window…..come rain, shine, frost or snow, our tradition is to start our advent being thankful for all that surrounds us.

Last year was a cold, frosty but beautiful morning as we pulled ourselves out of bed, filled a flask and headed for the hills under predawn moonlight..

This certainly beat sitting on the sofa and tearing at 1st window of December…

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IMG_4765.JPGWe drank hot chocolate as the day began and ate our chocolate in the company of a beautiful morning 🙂

SWIMMING UNDER WATERFALLS.

We decided we wanted to go on an adventure to a waterfall, so we headed to the Pontneddfechan in Glyn-Neath, South Wales. We parked at the waterfall centre and headed onto the waterfall trail to Sgwd Gwladus fall.
It takes around 20 minutes to walk to the fall along the river on a well marked route but we had fun along the river stopping to explore and walk over fallen logs, our adventure lasted about 3 hours with a lengthly stop to swim at the fall.

Here’s how we got on..

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It was a lovely walk with lots more to be seen. Paths can be very muddy and slippery during and after rainfall so care should be taken.

ONE BOY & HIS DOG…..SCOOBY DOOBIE DOOOOO

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Today we walked with only one child in tow, the 4 others were in school so it was just a toddler and us….
Noah was accompanied by his new friend. Scooby Do. Noah sat in a back carrier on Dads back and Scooby Do sat in a back carrier on mine. We walked up Corn Ddu in the Brecon Beacons.

Here’s how we got on….just for fun.

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CRAIG CERRIG GLEISIAD A FAN FRYNYCH WALK

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We decided to embark on a Sunday afternoon adventure to a beautiful place nestled within the heart of the Brecon Beacons. Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad y Fan Frynych sits in a National NatureReserve & is a great example of how the ice age formed the bowls within the mountains, rich in wildlife the cliffs act as a vertical woodland with trees and shrubs all around that include hawthorn, rowan to name a few and mountain ash, heather and bilberry grow on the slopes and moorlands above, it’s a prime location to spot Welsh poppies and during our visit we found lots of Bluebells. The views were breathtaking and don’t forget to stop and turn around to look behind at the stunning scenes across to Pen Y Fan.

Our walk followed the path beside the stream into Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad’s bowl climbing up to the right of the mountain and returning down on a well marked circular loop.
Some of the paths are steep and although a fence runs along the ridge you will still pass close to the cliff edges so caution must be maintained. The weather can change rapidly. Walkers should wear appropriate footwear, be prepared for sudden weather changes, adhere to ample common sense and take care. Between May and October the reserve is grazed by cattle and sheep so dogs need to be kept under control.
Our walk took just under 4 hours with plenty of stops and starts whilst the kids explored various bits and pieces and rested to take in the view, we stopped towards the end to make a Maypole with ribbons. The descent was very steep in places but still manageable for the children whom found it great fun to often sit on their bums to slide down grassy lumps & bumps.

We parked in a large lay-by approx two miles north of the Storey Arms on the A470.
OS grid reference
SN956227

Here’s how our walk went…
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Our walk started off through woodland along a small river/stream laden with lush grass..

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Which led us through to the bottom of a great mountainous bowl…20140505-234428.jpg
We followed the path up to the right through a gate, here we picked up a leaflet with suggested routes and information. We opted to walk up to the right if the bowl following the marked path and looping back down to the left.

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As we headed up we made sure we stopped to look back…

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We found lots of bugs..

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We followed the path up onto the top…

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We sat and reflected.

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We followed the fence line along the top of the mountain cliffs..

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We found some great boggy lake on the uplands, perfect for skimming stones..

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We found a large burrowed hole!

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And Mila decided she wanted to live there 🙂
We found so e great weathered fence posts.

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And we followed the fence line back down admiring the view all along.

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20140505-235943.jpgWe spotted a raincloud moving in.

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We loved the walls and looking at the view over them.

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We stopped near the bottom and made our own Maypole with ribbons…

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20140506-000611.jpgwe stopped one last time to take in the views before heading back through the wood to the car.

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It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon walk.

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SUNDAY MORNING SUNRISE ON TOR Y FOEL

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Making the effort to venture out to watch the sunrise can be beautifully rewarding, our favourite place to watch the sunrise is from Tor Y Foel mountain in the Brecon Beacons National park, it lied adjacent and overlooking Talybont reservoir. The parking spot is high enough to be able to take in 360 panoramic views with very minimum effort, with a little effort thrown in & a 15 walk you will be treated to a sumptuous outlook over Brecon & Abergavenny….
Here’s some of the beautiful sunrises we’ve captured…

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Marked in the photo below on a map taken from google images, the address if this spot is…
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SEARCHING FOR FROST FAIRIES..

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Todays walk was just that, just a walk with no real plan, just going with the wind 🙂
But we did have one mission in mind and that was to try to find evidence of frost fairies & ice queens. We set out early morning as the sun rose & passed lots of frost whilst in the car but when we arrived at our destination there was none, so we improvised & made it up as we went along…we headed for Talybont in the Brecon Beacons….. It was a good day & made lovely by the company of big little miss FD (16). We had a few disputes with a 16 year old versus a 9 year old in the back of the car but in fairness I expected worse. It was a lovely day in late November.

We did find evidence of frost fairies on our adventure much to the enchantment of the 2,5 & 8 year olds 😉
Here’s how our adventure went…

We stopped at the bottom of Tor y Foel, Talybont and found ice in a mucky puddle. It was our first sign that we may be fruitful in finding evidence of frost fairies.

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We then drove onto Talybont waterfalls walk…hopefully to find some fairy evidence…

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It was beautiful.

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Then we found lots evidence of a fairy enviroment.

We found funghi…promising for our hunt.

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We found signs of squirrel eaten lunch.. or breakfast

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We walked across logs.

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We watched water falling, and kept our eye out for water fairies…

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We were careful but looked from every angle.

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We were in the forest valley in the mountains, we walked up in the shadow of the mountain behind us but could see the sun glowing on top of the one in front us, it certainly looked like the autumn fairies had been busy at work..

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We found real fairy seats…. Ice queen thrones maybe?

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Noah was the fairy king!

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The biggest girl led the littlest girl past the biggest beautiful tree ever.

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finally!! We found the smallest glint of evidence… some fairy dust. (Which I had sprinkled discreetly..shhh!)

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Then we found what we thought was a fairy house.

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And then just as we were getting towards the end of our walk we found a mushroom covered in what we could only describe as frost fairy fairy dust, it was icy blue.

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We even found a plant that looked like it was a hairy fairy beard plant…. Very rare. Very very rare.

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Our frost fairy search was very fruitful! We found lots of evidence of fairies and had a great time exploring Talybont lower Blean waterfalls…. We stopped off on the way home to watch a beautiful sun set over Pen y Fan and planned our next adventure….

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CORN DDU WALK

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We headed out for a Sunday afternoon walk, we checked the forecast and set out to climb to the top of Corn Ddu which sits in good company with the peak of Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons national park, Mid Wales.
We started our walk from the car park approx 1/4 mile further up the road on the A470, South bound from The Storey Arms.
We followed the well trodden path from the car park, over the bridged river & up towards Pen Y Fan/Corn Ddu.
Our walk lasted about 4 hours at most with a gentle stroll and lots of stops on the route to explore.

Here’s how we got on…

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It really was a beautiful walk with stunning views and we were treated to the company of a gorgeous blue sky…

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HILLSIDE ARTISTS (Fan Fawr Mountain, Brecon Beacons)

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Some people opt to paint the town red, we painted the hills green & became mobile artists masterpiece painters…. we found a beautiful spot & created our canvases’ of the world the way we see it…

We stopped for breakfast at the foot of Fan Fawr opposite the Storey Arms on the A470. Parking was free. We headed up onto the hill over the stile in the car park and followed the path on a horseshoe route bearing left as we climbed higher. It was a real treat and easily managed by the kids aged 15, 9, 7, & 4… We also had a baby in a back carrier. We wore walking boots, warm clothes and took a bottle of water & snacks. The route was very simple and the views were stunning, it was a beautiful example of some of The National Trust’s off the beaten track options.
We also took with us some simple canvases, paintbrushes, a paint pad and jar of water, we stopped halfway down and painted our view…

Here’s how we got on…

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Once parked we headed up the mountain stopping to look back to admire the views across to Pen y Fan/Corn Ddu.

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We could see our destination, Fan Fawr in front if us with a dusting if snow, we were accompanied by a beautiful blue sky…

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We walked along small streams laden with little waterfalls on the way up giving us opportunity to explore..

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And the views became more stunning…

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We even stopped to build a snowman.

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Nearing the top..

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The only footprints were ours..

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We could see where the horseshoe bore to the left and the path that we would follow back down..

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We spent some time on the top before heading back down..

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It was beautiful…

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We stopped half way down to paint our pictures of the views..

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It was a great day to become outdoor artists…

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