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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Brecon Revisited (16-20 July) [Fifth Update 25/06/20]

Covid-19 Pandemic: 

Fifth Update 25/06/20
Now, would you believe it, it looks (fingers still crossed) as if this might really be happening. Following the Welsh Government's latest review, you will have read in the media that the next review due on 6 July will lead to the lifting of (most or all?) travel restrictions (incl. for non-Welsh incomers) and another review on 9 July (with effect on 13 July) to the re-opening of more hill areas and the opening of many tourist accomodation venues (but not hostels, bunkhouses etc).

See these links to texts on the BMC website for more details: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/welsh-restrictions-lifted-whats-different-for-the-outdoors; https://www.thebmc.co.uk/what-do-the-4-july-lockdown-changes-mean-for-climbers-and-hill-walkers.
The most interesting part of the text though is the link at the end of the first text to a map showing all the areas of the Beacons NP that are already open (at the moment just for the local population). These are basically The Black Mountain and The Black Mountains, but not the Central Beacons. So, even if none of the Central Beacons will get opened in July (which I doubt, they'll probably keep the Storey Arms car parks closed to keep the masses off Pen y Fan though), there are enough fully written up walks that can be done from Brecon for this to go ahead. Assuming accomodation is open and bookable and buses are running. More to follow after 6 July.

Fourth Update 21/04/20
Revised dates now set: 16-20 July.


Third Update 20/04/20
As the UK lockdown has now been extended until 7 May at least, this trip has now been postponed from its original dates 07-11 May into July, starting on a yet to be defined Thursday. This assumes of course, that by then we’ll be let out of our cages and into the wild countryside again by our Supreme Leaders…
 

As the Welsh Government has ordered all accommodation providers to stay shut until further notice, you should have no problem in cancelling or amending any existing bookings. Great Western Railway meanwhile have enabled cost-free changes or even cancellations of existing bookings, incl. for Advance Tickets booked before 23 March. For details see here: https://www.gwr.com/safety
 
Second Update 06/04/20
Due to Wales' devolved power to manage its own countryside access, the lockdown has unfolded a little more severely there than in England and Scotland. As of March 26, large parts of Snowdonia, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the Brecon Beacons NP are closed to the public, including to locals. These closures will be reviewed every 21 days, with the first review due on April 15. [For full details of closed areas and paths (basically anything overly popular plus all high-lying Access Land, incl. most mountain tops), read here: https://www.breconbeacons.org/coronavirus-covid-19 ]
.

As a consequence, it is likely that this long weekend trip will be moved down the line soon after 15 April by some weeks or even a few months, with the intention of rolling over existing train and accommodation bookings. Accommodation providers should be amenable to amend bookings for no charge, certainly if they are then still under order by the Welsh Government to stay shut. Great Western Railway meanwhile have enabled cost-free changes or even cancellations of existing bookings, incl. Advance Tickets booked before 23 March. For details see here: https://www.gwr.com/safety 

Update 20/03/20
Whether the trip goes ahead will depend on government advice about the coronavirus situation nearer the time. Adequate notice will be given if the trip has to be cancelled or can be moved to another date, if the advice and the development of the pandemic allow it.
If you have booked accomodation and don't have the option to cancel for free, moving the reservation to another time might still be an option.
If you have booked Advance train tickets: Great Western Railway have today relaxed their rules and are now saying "You can also amend Advance tickets to an alternative future date without having to pay an admin fee".  

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Up to 4 days of walking in the westerly and central parts of the Brecon Beacons, while avoiding travel on the Bank Holiday and the weekend:

07/05 Thursday -- Arrival
08/05 Friday (Bank Holiday) to 10/05 Sunday – 3 out of these 4: SWC 278 Brecon Beacons Horseshoe (or possibly SWC 285 Fan Dance) from Storey Arms Bus Stop, SWC 279 The Black Mountain, SWC 307 Fforest Fawr Traverse and SWC 308 Bwlch Circular, each with a second option of a less tough walk: SWC 85 Pen y Fan and Corn Du, SWC 86 The Black Mountain (Short) and SWC 280 Henrhyd Waterfall (Bluebells galore). Exact sequence of walks dependent on bus schedules.
11/05 Monday -- SWC 306 Brecon Circular (from 5 to 22 km) and Departure

Public transport-based travel options are as follows:
·        Paddington – Abergavenny plus Bus Line 43/X43 from the bottom of Station Road,
·        Paddington – Merthyr Tydfil or Cardiff plus Bus Line T4,
·        Paddington – Neath (or Swansea) and Bus Line T6 from Neath Bus Station [5 mins away]. 

[Advance train tickets can already be booked on the GWR website!
For Abergavenny book trains to/from Newport (Wales), the connecting train is run by a different company and can be booked on the day.]

7 comments:

Sandy said...

Many thanks for posting this Thomas - I will be there; staying at the Old Castle Farm guest house, on the same street as the Beacons guesthouse but a bit further out of town.

Gabriella Palmano said...

I have just been obliged to cancel my trip to Vietnam (sob) so I may come on this after all..
Hence I’m just checking - is it all still going ahead and if so, who is going and where will everyone be staying ? I imagine Brecon or are there other towns / villages too ? Does one need to be on a particular bus route ? ( Would be coming by train .)
I’ve never been on a SWC holiday before so would be grateful for any feedback.
Thanks !

Thomas G said...

What's Vietnam compared to the Beacons, anyway?
People have booked (incl. me) and we're sturdy folk, so unless HM Government forces the country into complete lockdown, there will be people on those walks.
Brecon is the place to stay, and it's big enough to have a good variety of options to stay in, from b&b's over guest houses to hotels and inns. Only the youth hostel is quite a bit outside Brecon (on a bus line but not necessarily convenient for all walks), but we even had people stay there and go on the group walks on past trips.
The ways to get to Brecon are described in the post. Just make sure that your train out from Paddington connects well to a bus to Brecon (with a cushion in case the train runs late).

d2g said...

Hi all,

I hope you are keeping safe. I guess that it is difficult to answer but what are the prospects of this trip becoming a reality? I am thinking of coming along as I had enough of walking around the park for months.

Thanks a lot in advance.
Daniel.

Thomas G said...

Hi, Daniel.
At the moment the chances are not very high, as the last thing I heard the Welsh First Minister say was that he'd not expect the Welsh Tourism Industry to be open to any normal level for quite some time yet. But the next review by the Welsh Government is due in a few days time and we might be a little wiser after that...

Thomas G said...

Update: I've seen no fundamental announcements after the 18 June Welsh Government review other than that in the next one on 6 July they'll decide which travel restrictions and area closures will be lifted and then will review the tourism regulations on 9 July, with any changes likely to take place on 13 July [And indeed: some accomodation providers in Brecon are taking bookings again, 13 July onwards.] We might still get to go walking in the Beacons on the dates planned...

Thomas G said...

Post updated just now. Now looks more likely to go ahead than not.