‘Mummy, you are the WORST mummy in the whole world!’ shouted Child No2, as we continued to skirt around Fan Y Big, a couple of jammy dodgers later and I had moved down that list a notch or two….. Sometimes sharing your sense of adventure with your children can be a challenge!
It was an actual blue-skied August bank holiday Monday (not a rain cloud in sight), which is as unusual as a white Christmas in Cardiff. So, to celebrate this anomaly, I packed a rucksack full of food and water, bundled the kids and Rorie the dog in the car and headed off to the Brecon Beacons. We met up with best friends at the Taf Fechan car park for a day of adventure.
The Beacons Horseshoe is one of my all time favourite hikes, and I have walked it numerous of times – it has everything; a steep ascent, ridge lines, fantastic views and a nice gentle final descent down an old roman road. It encompasses all three of the highest mountains in the Beacons – Pen-y-Fan, Corn Ddu and Cribyn, and if you are feeling energetic – Fan y Big (hehe).
It’s 15km long, with about 800m climbing and takes about 4-5 hours – however if you are 5 years old with tiny 5 year old legs then it takes somewhat longer. A distance of whole packet of jammy dodgers, sandwiches, crisps, haribos and chocolate m&m’s, in fact. A lot of calories, although she still managed a huge tea when she got home!
Due to it being a sunny bank holiday, the walk was busy, however if you go during the winter months then you barely see anyone. In my opinion, that is the time to go, especially if it has had a dusting of snow. Not on August bank holiday, where there was an astonishing sight of a lengthy queue to get a picture of the Pen-Y-Fan summit (only in Britain and maybe Japan would this happen).
The key to getting your kids to do a long walk – as lets face it, in a child’s mind, is a REALLY boring and pointless activity, is the following:-
- Chose a route that’s varied, make up stories that involves knights and dragons or dinosaurs or monsters
- Take some friends – children are like pack animals and will run along together…for hours!
- Take lots and lots of snacks (and then pack a few more). It’s amazing how far they will go with the promise of some haribos
- Make sure they have appropriate footwear – I couldn’t walk 15km in a pair of wellies so why would I expect my children to?
- Change of clothes in the car for on the way home – even on the sunniest/driest days they WILL find water and they WILL get wet!
To be honest, 15km for a 7 and 5 year olds is a really long way, however they did it and for the most part really enjoyed it. It’s very rewarding when your 5 year old says to you ‘Wow, look at that view – you can see the whole world!’ and mention the ‘epic’ walk weeks afterwards. Proud 🙂