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January 20, 2017
On A High In 2017

Happy belated New Year to everyone!

Well, 2017 has certainly started a bit differently and mostly involved climbing things! From the spire of St Mary’s church in Tetbury to Pen Y Fan (866) in Wales last week, it seems elevation is the order of the year!

Many thanks to the people of St Mary’s church in Tetbury for allowing me to clamber up the spire one frosty sunrise recently for a fantastic view of the Gloucestershire countryside. Lots of sunrays, frost and mistiness, lovely!

As mentioned above, I decided to visit the Brecon Beacons last week and climb up Pen Y Fan for sunrise. Many thanks Tom for offering to drive (my car is a rollerskate on ice in snowy weather!) and joining me for the day.

An early morning start (5 am) meant we got to target area for a climbing start at 7 am heading for the first peak of the day at Corn Du. It was certainly a cold and windy start! (-14C and 40-50mph gusts). After a slow and steady climb we got to the summit of Corn Du just after sunrise and were treated to a fantastic view of the Upper Neuadd Reservoir and surrounding area as well as the peaks of Cribyn and Pen Y Fan. Here I stopped to take some photos for as long as I could manage before realising the feeling in my fingers was going! Gloves on!

After a brief respite and intake of sustenance (Red Bull and a Ginsters, diet of kings!!! Lol…) we pushed on the last 200 metres to the summit of Pen Y Fan, meeting some good natured and at times highly amusing locals en route.

After another stop on the top and surrounding area for 30 mins to take images the weather really started getting wild. Gusts of over 70 mph and what felt like even colder temperatures meant it was probably a very good time to start descending. The wind across Corn Du ridge was incredible and I can honestly say it’s the worst conditions I’ve ever been up a mountain, really quite scary. At times we had to sit down as you simply couldn’t stand up and we were concerned about getting blown off the mountain. It really gave me a massive insight and appreciation of what climbers who take on Everest and the like put themselves through. Much respect.

The descent went smoothly and at the bottom I was feeling a bit peckish so decided to tuck into a Lion Bar i’d secreted in the middle of my pack. I took a big chomp only to find it shatter in my mouth like glass! Frozen solid! Wow! 😀

On the way back we popped into the Brecon Tap in Brecon afterwards for a fine tasting pie and an ale, thanks guys.

I think Tom is now on a mission to drag me up the top 50 places in the UK, so it could be an interesting year 🙂

A wild and crazy day, but well worth it for the views, amazing! All the best photos from Tetbury St Mary’s and Pen Y Fan can be found in the portfolio. Enjoy!

P.S To the numpties we saw climbing up on our way down, going up a mountain in tracksuit bottoms and a pair of converse trainers really isn’t very clever…seriously… Take proper gear!

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