Beacons Ultra Marathon – and beautiful scenery

I am going to attempt the Beacons Ultra Marathon in November. A 46 mile run around the Brecon Beacons with just a couple of huge hill. To prepare for this, I’ve done a few Very Long Runs recently, and explored more of the Brecon Beacons.  Here are some photos, firstly of the actual route, and then of a run I did a bit further West  confirming that the Brecon Beacons has the most spectacular landscape in the world.

We have more than 350 cottages in the area, but I’ll just mention a few…

It starts at Talybont, home to no fewer than 4 pubs, one shop, one canal, one river and 22 beautiful holiday cottages, ranging from little Kiwi cottage and Groves to the lovely Abercynafon, which you can see in the distance for a lot of the run above the reservoir.

The Brecon Beacons from our sideI joined the course close to my house at Cantref, where we have a selection of 13 lovely cottages – I think it goes straight past Old Crofftau or  Ann’s Barn.

DSC_0896Then, along the beautifully flat canal path, to Llangynidr (where we have 12 holiday cottages, perfect for spectators)

The Brecon BeaconsIt then goes up a steep hill, which would be perfect for sledging down, but is less pleasant to run up. Judy is having a rest at the (near) top in this photo.

And a not-brilliant panorama from the top. I thought it would be award winning or something, but it was so bright and sunny I couldn’t see the screen.

Panorama from the hill above Llangynidr

And then along the side of the Talybont Reservoir – pretty stunning, but I got a bit lost after taking a wrong turn above Talybont Reservoir and rather than going back to where I went wrong, I battled with the undergrowth.

Talybont Reservoir

After the reservoir, there was the climb up “The Gap” (between the moutains of Fan-y-Big and Cribyn) and then down the otherside, back to Cantref.  Exhausted… and that was only just over half what we’ll do in the actual race…

And last weekend, I did another long run a bit further West. I saw more wild horses than people! It was stunning, wild and empty!

Brecon Beacons West Looking towards PenyfanWild horses

Posted in Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Abergwesyn Wales’ best kept secret?

If you are after a feeling of remoteness, Abergwesyn is the place for you. Just 50 miles from Cardiff, Abergwesyn Valley is a true wilderness.

We have a few cottages in and around Abergwesyn, Glyn Barn sleeps 10 in a gorgeous, well equipped barn conversion with superb views.

Penrhyn Exterior Jpegs-2816

Penrhyn Barn

Penrhyn Barn also sleeps 10, and is at the other end of the valley. It’s on a working farm in the most spectacular spot.

Nuthatch Cottage

Nuthatch Cottage

Idyllic Nuthatch Cottage sleeps 2, and has the most wonderful garden and is a haven for bird watchers.  Alltwinau Farmhouse sleeps 6 people in 4 rooms, and is a perfect getaway – ideal for families.

If you’re looking for a challenge, there is some wonderful mountain biking in the area, and for road bikers, it’s the start of the well known (amongst intrepid cyclists) Devil’s Staircase.  A mile-long stretch of old Drovers Road with some of the most astonishing hills.  For walkers, there is a good range of walks from stiff summits to easy ridge and valley walks.

Abergwesyn commons are full of archaeological remains – you’ll find Bronze Age ritual sites, deserted medieval villages, cairns and a stone circle.

Birdwatchers will find Nuthatch Cottage fascinating, but should also look out for red kites, golden plovers and visit Gwenffrwd-Dinas Nature Reserve.

Posted in Activities in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, Birdlife, Birds, Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages, For Children, North of Brecon, remote, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Photographer’s Insight: Baby Alpacas at Alpaca Cottage

Not long ago back at the beginning of the summer I was called out to a beautiful part of the Welsh landscape to a place not farm from Crickhowell or Hay-on-Wye. It’s actually in a pretty perfect location to get to Llangorse as well and is surrounded by rugged mountains; a wilder part of the beacons, yet retains all of the beautiful qualities of the Welsh countryside. This place was Alpaca Cottage, the reason I was called out, was to see the new cria (baby Alpaca) called Hercules, the pride of all is doting aunties and mother. (Read on to the bottom to find out our special offer for Alpaca Cottage!)

Alpaca Exterior Brecon Beacons-8843

Photograph:Alpaca Cottage Exterior

He was a typical little boy really, all gangly legs and arms with a long neck and fluttery eyelashes! Very curious, very shy and loved hiding behind others in the pack and then when you back was turns would come up and sniff my ear as I knelt to take a photograph of one of his relatives in a field full of buttercups! The alpaca fleece is actually like nothing I have ever felt before, it’s not as greasy as a sheep’s fleece and far softer! I can see why the wool is so highly sought after.

Baby Alpaca web-8806

Photograph: Hercules the cria and his aunty in the buttercup field

The combination of those beautiful, dark, cria eyes, the buttercups and his super cute sniffles in my ear made me really wish I could take him home, but not sure he would enjoy my small garden and terraced house as much as the green valley fields of the small holding.

It was a glorious day.

The owner Suzanne is also really friendly and accommodating and you can see she loved her small holding collection of interesting animals from Easter Egg hens, guinea pigs and the Alpacas. It was a great afternoon of exploring the black mountains, a part of our national park I don’t often get to go to despite growing up in the area.

I left Suzanne in the field, feeding her alpacas and spraying them with cool water on that hot summer’s afternoon while they played and bathed in the water trough (I didn’t know they were so social and intelligent).

Don’t miss out! Alpaca Cottage have a 10% off holidays taken between 19th Sept and 24th October this year! And since I went in the summer, she has had two more little ones come along! A great place for kids to experience the animals and for you to get away into the beautiful countryside.

Posted in Activities in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages, Brecon Cottages, Crickhowell, For Children, Hay on Wye Cottages, photography, Special Offers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sun shine and cafe culture in Brecon

Cafe society     Flocking to Brecon in the sunshine there are constant smiles as visitors spy Tomos Twizzy charging outside the BBHC shop in High Street Superior.  There has been a soft blue tint over the mountains recently as if earth and sky are connected by the summer warmth.  We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else tonight to watch the conclusion of the Perseid meteor shower.  With some of the darkest skies in Britain and predictions of one shooting star a minute tonight at the climax (you may have to wait awhile) this dramatic show is yet another reason to stay in one of  the Brecon Beacons holiday cottages (mountains walks and waterfalls, warm welcomes and cosy fires, local food and village shows, history, geology and festivals throughout the year).

Posted in Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages | Leave a comment

Planned Week Ahead

Today I have been planning a week looking after niece no2 & the nephew – niece no 1 is off to guide camp in the Netherlands – we can have a few treats but it is not all about spending money … So far it goes like  Monday – picnic & adventure park & nature trail with the springer at Garwnant a forest park.

Tuesday – the morning at Llangorse Multi Activity Centre doing the junior challenge course & an hour’s training on the indoor climbing wall. That will be followed by a mooch around Llangorse lake & exploring the Crannog – maybe a rowing boat – we’ll see on that !

Llangorse Lake

Wednesday – a wild Wednesday session at The Old Railway Garden Centre to make a Miniature garden – these sessions last an hour & are great. We will probably do Pool Mania at Brecon Leisure too – have you worked out my plan is to tire them out !

Thursday – we’re going to do the educational bit & do a mill tour at Talgarth Mill & after a bowl of soup & home made bread in the mill bakery we’ll take the springer up to do the Witches Pool walk above Talgarth – takes approx 45 mins / one hour for little legs.

Friday will see us head off to Herefordshire to the Small Breeds Farm Park & Owl Centre – I’ve never been before but looks of friends rave about it. We may well pick our own strawberries from Oaklands on the way home.

Saturday sees Mum & Dad arrive to collect the rugrats but not until they have kayaked down the River Wye from Glasbury to Hay … We will also try & fit in our ‘Top of the World’ walk (Tor y Foel – they named it) & maybe the Brecon Mounatin Railway.

Brecon Mountain RailwayBrecon BeaconsSouthNarrow gaugeRailTransport

Sunday – I will be in recovery mode !

Posted in Activities in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, For Children | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Photographer’s Insight: Weeks away for Wimbledon

Today is the first day of the 2015 Wimbledon Championship, the worlds first class event for top tennis pros, both male and female and will attract thousands of tennis fans from across the world. If you don’t have a ticket for it already, its an early morning start fro the queues or settle in to watch it from the comfort of an armchair.

OR…come and book a week or two at one of our beautiful holiday cottages and play a few sets of tennis in your very own private court whilst catching up on the main events at Wimbledon throughout the day.


We have 4 cottages with private courts and many more with community tennis courts around the corner.


Last year I shot the court at Aber Llech (sleeps 2), which has amazing views and excellent surface, a really good court to play on.

extaber_lech_coach_house aber_llech_tennis_court aber_llech_tennis_court2

Bryn Cain Coach House (Sleeps 4) and Alfred’s Bull Pen (Sleeps 4) are on the same country farm and share a hard tennis court, not perfect for a real enthusiast but is a good area to use for those starting out or wanting to knock a ball about.

bryn cain coach house brecon cottages alfreds bull pen brecon cottages
(From L to R: Bryncain Coach House & Alfred’s Bull Pen)

Penpont Courtyard Wing (sleep 14) also has it’s own hard tennis court which you can use and is excellent for large groups.


Other places like the Gables (sleeps 2), The Meeting Place (Sleeps 8), Hen Stabl (Sleeps 4), Boat Cottage (sleeps 2) all in Llangynidr, have use of the newly surfaced outside hard courts at the community center in the village for £5.00.

Talybont-on-Usk also has free courts for use of the public and are in the process of raising money to get the resurfaced and in a better condition.

Groves (Sleeps 3), Kiwi Cottage (Sleeps 5) and the Malt House Coach House (sleeps 4)

Posted in Activities in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages, brecon beacons, photography | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Waterfall

Family Fun beside the Stream! Tamsin Kids Web Jpegs-7425

Most of us have a popular vision of a stream.

The images we conjure up usually include clear highly oxygenated water tumbling along with bobbing dippers running from rock to rock .     The tiny Caerfanell river flows from Talybont reservoir into the River Usk.   The banks are accessible and wonderful for a picnic in the shade, and there are lines of Henry Vaughan’s poetry to discover on  the circular walk .  At the half-way point there is a ford to cross by a tiny pebble beach.  Pedestrian bridge available –  pooh sticks anyone?   There are often freestanding stone towers perched standing proud of the water marking the passage of other explorers until the power of the river topples them!  Everyone responds to the beauty of nature and  here in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains there are streams, rivers and a canal to enjoy as well as large and small pools of water and the largest freshwater lake in South Wales.

Cottages close to Caerfanell are Mill Cottage, Nantymyndd, Ty Watton, Fernlea, Groves Cottage, Anoushka’s, Kiwi Cottage and The Rest.

Posted in Activities in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, Wildlife | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment