It’s hard to think that we’re only part way through winter (it doesn’t officially turn to spring until the 20th March). There’s no point in sitting around and waiting for the sun to return because there’s still plenty of things to do in the Brecon Beacons; we have a couple of suggestions below. Getting outside in the cold makes getting back to a warm hotel, a hot bath and a great dinner all the more enticing.
Clear, cold nights often make the conditions for star gazing better than summer evenings because there is less haze. In addition to this the Brecon Beacons National Park has been designated an International Dark Sky Reserve because of its lack of light pollution, which blights so much of the night sky across our country. On a good night, you can see the magnificence of the Milky Way, nebulas and shooting stars. Download one of the many stargazing apps to your phone and armed with this and just a pair of decent binoculars you will be amazed at what you can discover just sitting on our terrace under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate and maybe a brandy.
You can take this a step further by going to a guided stargazing event at the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitors Centre, about 10 miles from Gliffaes. Their next evening is on the 15th March.
You might think that with help of your mobile phone you can safely navigate the moors and mountains without a map and the skill of using a compass. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security because your phone might tell you where you are, but it is not going to be much help getting you to your next checkpoint! Add to this rain, gloved hands and of course a flat battery and you will soon find yourself well and truly lost, or geographically embarrassed as it is known in the army.
Help is at hand under the skilled and patient guidance of local mountain legend Kevin Walker. Kevin has spent all his life in the mountains and teaching people how to find their way using the time-honoured skills of map and compass work. Kevin runs courses throughout the year and can also work on a one to one basis with you if you prefer. There is great satisfaction in finding your way without a GPS and is an essential skill for any hill walker.
Not that handy with a map? Fear not, the annual Crickhowell Walking Festival is nearly upon us. Enjoy nine days of fabulous guided walks in and around the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Sign up, from the Festival website, to a whole range of walks to suit all abilities (every walk is graded) and you will be led by a local walker who has plenty of interesting facts and stories to accompany each route. You will find yourself discovering places you would have never found without local knowledge. Gliffaes makes for the perfect base for this event – we can send you on your way each day with a packed lunch and flask of tea. On return, dry your boots and wash your muddy kit while you sit by the fire and enjoy our famous afternoon tea, posting your pictures of the day on to Instagram.
There you have it – plenty of things to do in the Brecon Beacons this winter. Do enquire about staying with us at Gliffaes – you’re guaranteed the best rates when you book direct.
We are still unsure as to when we can re-open. I think it will be around the 24th May.
Gliffaes will not be open for outdoor dining only – I am afraid the numbers don’t stack up for us.
Mark Drakeford, The Welsh First Minister has given no definitive date for the opening of indoor hospitality in Wales.
This matter is further confused by the local elections on the 6th May. If Labour is returned to power he tells us that he will be minded to consider the opening of indoor hospitality on the 17th May and I guess he will give us about a week’s notice taking us to the 24th May.
Online booking is available and reception will be staffed from 9am to midday from Monday to Saturday, so please do call us.
Thank you for all your support and we hope to see you in May and beyond.
James & Susie Suter and all the team at Gliffaes.