• rhianprime

A day out to the Brecon Beacons

Today let us pop to the Brecon Beacons - I am a mountain lover! Some folk love the coast, others forests, the moors and some like me, mountains. I love to be in them, walk them, stay in their majesty and the Beacons are very close to my heart. I lived in Brecon, on the very edge of the town for a number of years and worked facing the view of the Beacons and Pen-y-Fan daily. Lost on the children but wow for the adults!

So with not too far to travel, we are off for a short introduction to the National Park, and rather too many plastic dinosaurs for my liking!

Now I am sure many of you will have walked the beautiful waterfalls that exist everywhere through the park. I remember James, my son, wanting his tenth birthday party in the Beacons near a small waterfall. We watched his friends and James dam the small trickling stream to such a point they could swim in it. Afterwards they put the rocks back and we watch the many freshwater crayfish further downstream. We all enjoyed the walking, the cold waters and the wildlife!

Let us adjourn to Brecon town. It has a small market town feel where time almost stands still. A town faced with many problems, since the market moved out of town. Enjoy the river, canal shops or Cathedral. We loved our time in Brecon and I know many of you like the sleepiness and beauty of this area of Wales.

The Cathedral is interesting but I failed to find a really good video of it... Philip and Sheila need to do one! It is though, a good worshipping space and certainly when we were in Brecon well used, though not in the grand sense of a Cathedral more a local and alive church.

"Constructed in the 11th century (1093), possibly on the site of an earlier Celtic church, the Cathedral was founded as a Benedictine Priory (monastery). Still intact and linking the Cathedral to its very early history is the ancient Norman font at the west end of the Cathedral, and on it, carvings that are thought to be of Celtic origin.

Under Henry VIII’s (First) Act of Suppression in 1536 and ensuing dissolution of the smaller monasteries and religious houses (the larger properties were seized or destroyed following the Second Act in 1539), the Priory ceased to exist. The property became the parish church of Brecon in 1537, and was known as the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist.

In 1927, following the creation in Wales of the new Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, the church evolved once again, and became, as it is today, the Brecon Cathedral."

Now a quick climb of well worn paths up Pen y fan to admire the beautiful view and work up an appetite, before travelling home and what climb cannot include, a tribute to young Tommy Jones.

"The tragic story of a five-year-old boy who became lost on the mountains of the Brecon Beacons, South Wales, in the summer of 1900 has been told countless times down the generations, and has touched the hearts of many.

On 4 August 1900 a miner from Maerdy, at the head of the Rhondda Fach valley, decided to take his five-year-old son Tommy to visit his grandparents who still farmed near Brecon. They'd travelled by train and planned to walk the four miles to Cwmllwch, the farmhouse in the valley just below Pen y Fan. By 8pm they'd reached the Login - now in ruins - where soldiers were encamped for training at the rifle range further up the valley at Cwm Gwdi. The father and son had stopped for refreshment when they met Tommy’s grandfather and cousin William, who was 13. William was asked to go back to the farm and tell his grandmother to expect Tommy and his dad, and Tommy ran off up the valley with him. When the two boys were halfway, Tommy who was frightened by the dark perhaps, started to cry and wanted to return to his father at the Login. So the two boys parted. William completed his errand and returned to the Login within a quarter of an hour – but Tommy hadn't returned. His father and grandfather started the search immediately, joined by soldiers from the camp. The search was halted at midnight and resumed at 3pm the following day. The search continued for weeks. Every day, parties of police, soldiers, farmers and other volunteers systematically combed the area with no luck. After reading accounts of the search, a gardener’s wife living just north of Brecon is said to have dreamed of the very spot where Tommy was found. She had a few restless days before persuading her husband to borrow a pony and trap on Sunday 2 September to take her and some relatives to Brecon Beacons, which they'd never climbed before. They reached the ridge below Pen y Fan and were making their way towards the summit over open ground when Mr Hammer, who was a few yards in front, started back with an exclamation of horror. He had found the body of little Tommy Jones. No one could explain how the five-year-old had managed to reach the spot where his body was found. He'd climbed 1,300ft from the Login. Today the spot where Tommy’s body was found is marked with an obelisk. The jurors at the inquest donated their fees after determining that he had died from exhaustion and exposure. It was more than 60 years later when the first Mountain Rescue team was set up in the Brecon Beacons." Source: A summary from the Brecon Beacons National Park leaflet ‘Victim of the Beacons’

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