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Walking 100 miles and sleeping under the stars
hiking the Beacons Way
This week, I'm going to be hiking the Beacons Way: a 100-mile trail starting in the East (Abergavenny) and weaving westwards to Llangadog. It will take about 7 days and includes 6,500 metres of gain.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve stayed in all corners of the Brecons—drawn to the wilderness and beauty that’s just across the bridge from Bristol. I first saw mention of the Beacons Way whilst staying in Rhosamman, south of the Black Mountain. My Airbnb hosts gave me a leaflet and the seed was planted.
Seeking adventure in a fading summer, I looked up the route again more recently. It seemed clear that many hikers camp out along the way, which hadn’t occurred to me as an option until then. I had plenty of hiking gear but little lightweight camping gear. Either way, I instantly knew I wanted to do it. It felt like a worthwhile investment as once you’re kitted up, you’re free to disappear off into forests and up mountains, knowing you have everything you need for a week out under the stars.
All that rucking will be very handy for hauling a tent, sleeping bag, clothes and food for 7 days. I wanted to stay as light as possible, so I’m only taking a 45-litre pack. I’ve gotten very good at packing.
One other draw for wild camping the Beacons Way is its recognition as a Dark Sky reserve, and so home to some of the best stargazing in the world due to very low levels of light pollution. In 2012, it was only the fifth place in the world to be awarded the designation. Today, there are still only 21 Dark Sky reserves worldwide.
Being granted clear skies mid-September is a different kettle of fish, but one can dream. I’m sure I’ll be back again.
I’m relishing a break from screens and routines; excited for the physical challenge and deeper immersion in the Brecons. If you’re interested in following along, you can track me on Strava where I’ll be uploading each day as I go, coverage dependent.