Pen Y Fan, Brecon Beacons.
“ I’m looking to do some landscape photography. Could you suggest a good location where I may get some good vistas but wont find myself having to get airlifted to safety, because basically this is my first time in the Brecon Beacons”.
“ Well we wouldn’t want that.” The lovely lady behind the till said smiling and came round the counter to get me a map. “This should be a good place to start,” she said pointing to a heavily contoured area on the now opened map. “Have you heard of Pen Y Fan?”
“Nope.” I said.
“This really is your first time then. I’m sure you’ll get some nice photos once you get to the top, that’ll be £8.99 please.” I paid and thanked her for her advice and left while attempting the fine art of map origami to get it back to its original size. (An art I’m sorely lacking in).
A short journey from the shop in Brecon, I arrived at the carpark that sits at the bottom of a winding track that tapers off into the distance up a long steep incline.
With camera kit, tripod, lunch and water packed into my rucksack, it made for much grunting and swearing as I swung it upon my back. I was sweating even as I closed the boot and set off. The sun was shining and apart from some wisps of cloud that seemed to be snagged on some high point way above to my right, my route looked arduous but inviting.
Halfway up the trail, those wisps of cloud detached themselves from their snag and joined me on the path. One minute I was contemplating getting the camera out to photograph the view back across the valley, next the view became ten yards of rocky path vanishing into mist.
I met a fellow photographer on his way down (we both clocked each other’s tripods hanging from our rucksacks and the connection was made).
“Bloody forecast said it was suppose to be sunny this morning. Been up there for a pissing hours and got bugger all, I wouldn’t bother mate.” My thoughts were, if it can change so quickly one way than maybe the opposite is true and sunshine maybe minutes away, so I struck on.
A sort of T-junction on the path appeared. It felt like it was at the top of a crest because as I came upon it, the wind tried to rip my face off. Some people passed me and headed off to the left towards to what I could tell on the map, was Pen Y Fan itself. Instead I headed right, into the wind. I thought that if the clouds were going to clear they would do it quicker from where the wind was coming from.
I could just make out I was on a ridge with the rocky path falling away into the misty gloom on either side. With the wind and swirls of vapour sandblasting my eyeballs, my fellow tripod bearer ‘s advice seemed more sound and the option of turning back more appealing. Then the wind started to drop and within the space of five minute the clouds began to thin and suddenly my grey world changed and…well I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
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