4.5.09 Brecon Beacons NP to Abergevenny in NP

Brecon Travel Blog

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4.5.09 Brecon Beacons NP to Abergevenny in NP


This morning John and Joan kindly stopped by to say goodbye and offer their place as a stopover on our way south through England after Scotland.  Wasn’t that so nice?  They seem like such interesting, fun people.  They bought a 17th century house about 40 years ago and worked on it themselves for many years to reserect it to it’s former glory.  In fact, they went to estate and antique sales to find 17th century furniture for it so that when you walk in, you’re taken back in time to another period.  Sounds awesome.


We also said goodbye to David and Nicole, who run the beautiful farm, both such nice people too.  David joked that he was checking to see if we’d stashed any lambs in the campervan.  The kids were rooting for staying there a third night and it was so beautiful along the Usk River that I was more than tempted.  But explorers we are and off we went.


We went only a few miles to a small road off the Brecon’s roundabout, to a terrific hike up the hillside.  The road was only one lane and we fortunately only met one car on the way up, three on the way down.  When you meet, if there isn’t enough room to squeeze by, protocol is that the person closest to the last widened road area backs up into the space or just beside it.  People drive VERY quickly around here, as they did in Ireland, so it is really a surprise to come upon other cars.  You’d think with the trees right up to the road and the twisty roads that slow speed would be cautious, but I’m in the minority on that opinion.


Anyway, we made it and there were a few others up there as we walked up the grass path through meadows dotted with sheep to a panoramic view.  We could see John and Joan’s camper and where we had parked.  It was gorgeous up there on the top of the world. A beautiful day and nice, brisk temperature- this is experiencing Wales!


We stopped at the snack trailer at one of the pullouts.  There are vendors in pull-trailers that are apparently licensed for some stops that have their food services indicated on the road signs.  We’d stopped our first day there and then again today to try some scones and sausage buns and enjoyed talking to the lady who runs the catering service.  While there three motorcycles blasted by at about 100 mph, maybe faster.  She said it was common and that they buzzed by all day. 


Police, seem to me, to be almost nonexistent.  I saw one small police car today.  The woman with the food trailer said that she takes the trailer home every night so that it doesn’t get broken into or burned out.  Doesn’t that seem strange for such small towns and delightful farming villages?


We sadly see much litter, as we did in Ireland, which seems such a shame for the beautiful countries.  Yet trash cans (or rubbish bins) are not prolific and I suspect that might help the situation.  I heard one local woman complaining about the litter at the top of our walk and although we’d already picked up four pieces of litter to tote back down to our campervan trash, she left it there and walked on.  So, I don’t know who is helping the situation if neither locals nor the municipality take responsibility for the situation.  What is your action with litter?  Do you pick it up when you see it, even if it is not yours?  And if not you, then who will?  Being better prepared with gloves or a bag when we go out walking might help.  I’ll likely pay better attention to when we get home- litter seems like the responsibility of locals.


We drove the long way around to Bloenov, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  There was an “old, weak bridge” and we couldn’t determine how much Sugar weighs and it was a pretty drive. 


Our luck was not good for the Bloenov site.  We did find parking, did finally find the main town Visitor’s Center (there are about 6 sites within this township type of UNESCO site), and we did get information about the tour into the Coal Mining shaft called the “Big Pit.”  But the tours were cancelled due to an electrical problem and although we were the only people in the huge “bus” lot, we were fussed at to move to the car lot because they were going to lock the bus lot in about an hour.  I didn’t get mad at him, but did use the opportunity to pump him for information, so it was at least worthwhile for us. We ended up leaving sadly because the tour had earned the 2005 best museum in Great Britain award.  The kids did learn some about the Industrial Age, coal mining, child labor, and the many dangers of working in a mine.  Jazy thought the whole thing was depressing.


We’d asked at the first Bloenov Visitor’s Center about camping and although they gave us a campground book on it and although we’d passed one previously in Abergavaney, the book indicated no GPS or street address info and we couldn’t find any of them.  Finally a kind gas station owner reviewed our listing from the National Park listing (Day 1) and wrote out directions for it. 


Within 10 minutes we were at this caravan lot with electric.  Jazy and I hunted out the farmhouse across the street where a sign had said to register and we finally found the proper door.  Mr. Jones (another one!)  took our 12L after I’d looked skeptical as he was adding for 2 kids and he kindly kept the rate level.  We enjoyed chatting with him a bit, then made dinner, walked into the small town where the gas station was closed, but the one restaurant was open, and that was the day.


Some days can seem a bit frustrating- limited information, difficult finding things, unexpected closings, difficult mountain roads, etc.  But then we have to look at the bright spots in the day- the nice people we met along the way, the lovely weather, nice hike up the mountain in the clean air, a good dinner.  I even got to use a hairdryer tonight!  Life really is good!













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