The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
What a fabulous New Year trip! Not only the novelty of being in Wales when it wasn’t actually raining, but the bonus of a spectacular hoar frost pretty much every day we were there.
Day 1 saw the ascent of Fan Brycheiniog on possibly the coldest day of the holiday, if only for the biting wind. The climb was largely in low cloud with rather limited views, which had the effect of making walking along the precipitous cliff edge of the ridge spookily exciting. As is traditional, we waited until we got to the wind-blown summit to have our sandwiches - luckily there was a small stone shelter to save our extremities from frost-bite. For once there was advantage in being one of the slower party as, shortly after lunch, the sky cleared to reveal huge, dazzling white views. We even got the chance for a quick warm up in the pub on the way home.
Day 2 was the elastic walk to Henrhyd falls – elastic as with every estimate of distance, the walk got longer and longer… It was another chilly day and the highlight was the frozen icicles and grassicles surrounding the waterfall.
Day 3 saw low fog around Brecon, but those walking further west got above the cloud for more spectacular views.
Day 4 was perhaps the best day of all. It was New Years Eve and we were keen to make the best of it and the two main groups headed east towards Brecon, one to do the Brecon horseshoe, my group to climb Fan Frynych. To be honest, the start didn’t look that promising with dense, freezing fog. This did however give us the most spectacular hoar frost of all, thick on every leaf and every branch: a real winter wonderland. We persevered with the walk and were rewarded when half way up the hill we emerged from the cloud to perfect sunshine and blue skies. With the clouds thick in the valleys below us it was like walking on top of the world. We were even treated to a very faint brocken spectre on the way back down.
New Years Eve dinner was provided by Nick & Lorna, with enough Bolognese and trifle to feed a small army. Thus weighed down it was hardly surprising that several of the group needed a good lie down before partying the night away (or perhaps at our age we lack the necessary stamina??). Still, a party was had and with a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne we saw in 2009.
Thank you Graham for a fabulous evening wine and champagne tasting – just in time for our Christmas selections. It was a great idea to try the same type of wine in different price ranges to get an idea of what you get for a little extra.
Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside
A chilly but bright day saw us enjoying the fresh air blown in along the Essex coast. Although a bit icy en route, we had the chance to warm up crammed into a very small club room at the Chequers in Goldhanger. After a relaxing drink, the route back had to be completed speedily in a race against the setting sun. As a result we were rewarded with a glorious sun set reflecting off the shore.
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