Girls Explore!

At the end of 2016, I promised myself that the upcoming new year would be one filled with more adventures – making the most of my weekends to explore, challenge myself and learn new things, so that the year doesn’t just pass me by in a blur of going to work, doing housework and sticking to the normal routine!

My first taste of adventure for 2017 came during the last weekend in January. I signed up for a hiking weekend in the Brecon Beacons with Girls Explore – an amazing group set up by my friend Hannah. You can learn more about them here, but it is basically a community for like minded women to meet and share their enthusiasm for the outdoors and adventures!

I was a little apprehensive before the weekend; worried I’d be too cold, that it would be too far, or I’d be too shy to get to know any of the other girls, but as soon as I arrived on Friday I was almost overwhelmed by how welcoming and genuinely lovely the group of girls were!  I arrived quite late, but everyone was still up chatting over glasses of wine and cup cakes, and it was great to break the ice before our adventure the following day.

We were staying at Coed Owen Bunkhouse; owned by the Rees family, it is a truly charming and cosy place to stay – perfect if you’re with a big group. The bunkhouse was a great, comfy place for us all to (eventually) head to bed and get some rest before our hike!

On Saturday morning, the clouds lay tantalisingly low so we couldn’t quite appreciate the stunning views of the Welsh countryside but, undeterred, we were all up and ready to go at 9am. The plan – to walk from the bunkhouse, up Pen Y Fan and back to our accommodation. Alex led the way; compass and map in hand and we all set off!

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It wasn’t long into our walk before the clouds began to lift and we could start to see the beauty of our surroundings for the weekend. The walk was a varied route; with some uphill climbs, some bogs to negotiate, lots of snow, tricky streams, and charming forests. One of the things I enjoyed the most about the walk was how well everyone got on, and how approachable all of the girls were. I met some wonderful people who were all so interesting! Everyone was also extremely supportive of each other – lending a helpful hand over streams and bogs when required!

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As I keep saying, the views were truly impressive; especially from the top of Pen Y Fan. All credit for these beautiful photos go to Hannah and everyone else who has contributed to the gallery on the facebook page – they are a lot better than what I captured on my phone!

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That evening, we had an amazing meal at The Station Hotel in Merthyr Tydfil. Our hosts were so accommodating and served up incredible food that was just what we all needed after our day!

Overall, we did 32,000 steps, walked about 12 miles, and all left with more stories to tell and more friends that when we had arrived. I can’t recommend a trip with Girls Explore enough – I for one am already excited about the next adventure!

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Thank you Hannah for an amazing weekend and the opportunity to challenge myself and meet new people!

Love,

LB

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