We started walking around 6.30. Our target was the campsite at Brecon. It was going to be a long day. We walked past woods and wind turbines. The track was clear enough. After about an hour and half we came over the side of a hill an saw Duffryn below us.
© James Forshall
We walked down between two rows of cottages which Johnny told me had originally been bought by the coal board, who when short of money sold them to the tenants. When the pit closed those that had bought found their savings locked up in houses that no one wanted to buy. Beyond this a road led off to the main village. A man with a stick was walking towards us and I went to ask him where the pub was. I was thinking of breakfast and wanted to keep my cold deep fried sausages in reserve.
The man told us that Duffryn was the birth place of St Patrick and that was a stone dedicated to him down the road, how he’d been a slave and then become a Christian and went to Ireland. ‘People say he was Welsh, but there were no Welsh then. We were all Romano British. The term Welsh didn’t exist in St Patrick’s Day.’ The man’s name was George Evans. He was over 80 years old and as sharp as a tack. He pointed us on to the pub. ‘Tell Glynn George sent you and to treat you right.’
We found Glynn outside the Duffryn Arms, stripped to the waist, painting the wall in front of the pub. He took us in and fetched us cheese rolls and a cup of tea. We chatted away. He asked where we were walking to, where we had stayed. ‘How much do I owe you’ ‘Oh, let’s see…..make it a fiver’. We had also had a couple of bags of crisps. ‘That seems very reasonable’. He asked why we were walking and when we told him he gave us back the fiver. ‘Here put this towards your charity’. I found this very touching. Thank you Glynn.
A little to the North of of Duffryn we picked up the Sarn Helen, the Roman road going up to wards Brecon. It is very impressive though sadly damaged by green laners and tractors.
Sarn Helen – The Roman Road © James Forshall
We walked past hill farms and through plantations of fir trees. We met no one except for a party of DoE girls resting and later some elderly rambler types ending their walk and getting into their comfortable cars. Here there was a stream. We were at the base of the Beacons. Not so far to go now.
Johnny had sped along the day before but was finding it more difficult today. It was long and he was wearing a pair his son’s shoes, which were not providing him with much protection from the broken stones of the Roman Road. Though obviously suffering he never complained.
We were two hills to the west of the Storey Arms. We climbed almost due east and then turned north and made our way along sheep tracks, past shaggy ponies to the top of the hill. We turned north west and then due north to a saddle and then just north of East walking towards the top of the cliffs above the road which heads north from the Storey Arms. We could now see Corn Dhu and Pen y Fan to the East. We had been walking for over twelve hours.
© James Forshall
We climbed down towards the road which leads north from the Storey Arms to Brecon. It was about as steep as a grass bank can be. Once on the road we headed down hill for the Tair Bull pub as quickly as we could. We were hungry and wanted to get there before the kitchen closed. Once at the pub we ordered chicken curry and beer. We had walked 28.5 miles and were about 5 miles short of being back on schedule.
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All photographs © James Forshall