Birthdays and Snow

The weather this weekend is cold! But unlike the past several weekends that have seen brilliant winter climbing conditions in Scotland there’s a strong wind and almost blizzard conditions prevailing outside right now! More “Birthdays and Snow”

Black Mountains Roundabout

On Thursday I came across a tempting 25 mile event in the Brecon Beacons called the Black Mountains Roundabout ‘walk’, organised by the YHA and Brecon Mountain Rescue. Despite running for over 2 hours on Wednesday, and over 1 hour on Thursday, I figured that it would be good training for Richard and I, in a location that we really like. My legs weren’t as fresh as I would have hoped, but even so, we had a great day.

Obviously we didn’t walk the event, why walk when you can run?

The route starts in Crickhowell and climbs up the Whale Back Ridge to Waun Fach at 2600 feet. When we started, the weather was drizzly, but ok, however whilst on the ridge, the precipitation became increasingly more frozen, until huge flakes were falling. At it’s deepest, there was about 3″ of snow on the ground (yes, snow is measured in inches, never in cm!).

Richard in the snow on the Whale Back Ridge

After this really long climb, we headed down to the valley at Pengenffordd. Straight after the road crossing, the route takes you up Mynydd Llangorse, which is a very steep 1000 ft climb. My legs were quite tired at this point and I appreciated the next downhill section to Pentre.

Rachel on the route

The last climb of the day is up Pen Allt-mawr. This 1800 foot climb went on forever and was really quite steep at times!

The last climb, from the valley to the top of Pen Allt-mawr... this picture wasn't quite at the top

Once we’d reached the top however, most of the rest of the route back to Crickhowell was downhill, passing over Pen Cerrig-calch and Table Mountain on the way. We also had the added bonus of bumping into one of our mountain marathon friends, Derrick, on the last hill; he was watching the race.


Post race, we had to visit Luigi’s in Abergavenny (just for hot chocolate) and then we caught up with the Dudley Caving Club in a pub over well-earned burgers and pies.

Three Weekends – Three Styles

The past month we’ve had a lot of snow which is always fun!

Dog agility course covered by snow

Three weeks ago it was bright with unbelievably blue sky and beautiful landscape. So we enjoyed our walk in the hills of Northern Hungary where we climbed up to the highest peak of the country (1014 m)

The sun painted shadows on the canvas of snow

The next weekend brought heavy snowfalls with slippery motorways and poor visibility. But this didn’t deter us from driving 150k to the hills again. The landscape was quite different but equally enjoyable, tho extremely cold, around minus 10-15°C during the day with strong winds.

Visiting the Hermit Caves

Another weekend came and the snow was still here. This time we preferred running in the white Hungarian Puszta!

Flat as a pancake
Family team

Skiing in Bardonecchia

Richard and I have been exploring the slopes of Bardonecchia, a ski resort about 1hr 30 from Turin and quite close to Sestriere.

Whilst the snow fall has been pretty poor since before Christmas, the day before we arrived a significant amount of snow fell, making conditions on the slopes really quite nice for our first morning of skiing.

Rachel on the slopes

Whilst there is little really hard skiing at this resort, there are lots of nice runs through the trees with some interesting contour details. There are also lots of nice, traditional mountain cafes, which appear to sell the thickest hot chocolate known to man! It’s more like warm blancmange than hot chocolate … but we’re not complaining!

View from Cresta Seba