This year, I was fortunate not to be working over the August bank holiday weekend which gave me an opportunity to spend some time with the family and reflect on the past year. I had kept this quiet for some time and the smile on my daughter’s face when I announced that we were off to South Wales to play on the beach was truly awesome! We packed the car on Friday morning and with a slight detour to see my folks in Blackwood we were soon in Barry to be greeted with glorious sunshine. The first and second days passed in much the same way with lots of tea drinking (at least on my part), relaxing on the beach, splashing around in the sea and of course building sandcastles.
On Sunday, we decided that a trip to the Brecon Beacons to attempt the fine peaks of Corn Du and Pen Y Fan would be a good introduction to mountain walking for my daughter. We started the walk from the lower Storey Arms car park on the A470 in brilliant sunshine but as we approached the summits we had to contend with high winds, rain and a bit of hail and I had to remind myself that we were still in August! Well, we reached the top of Pen Y Fan (my daughters first real summit) and decided to sneak up Corn Du on the way back. As we descended a little while later the rain stopped and the cloud lifted but not even that could dent the sense of achievement and pride that my daughter felt in getting to the top of the highest mountain in South Wales at the age of 7.
We drove back to Shrewsbury on the Monday and decided that kayaking on Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) would be a nice way to finish off the holiday. We were up early on the Tuesday and with the boats loaded and the car repacked with picnics and the associated paddling kit we were soon of to Bala. When we arrived at the lake, we were greeted with glorious sunshine and a very light breeze. The rest of the day was spent kayaking on the lake in various forms of craft and having fun. My wife even plucked up the courage to try a closed cockpit kayak, which was a real achievement!
Overall, a great holiday and one that reminded me of the importance of allowing more time for days like this.