ADVENTURE: Montserrat – A Spanish Microadventure

I had the good fortune of being in Barcelona for work for a couple of weeks, and knowing that I should have a couple of days while I was there to play tourist, I decided this might be a fantastic opportunity for a bit of a Microadventure.

Knowing very little of the area around Barcelona, I sought advice from Mr Microadventure himself (Al Humphreys), who suggested I have a look at Montserrat.

Montserrat, is a small nature park and mountain escarpment located about an hours train ride from Barcelona. It’s home to a monastery and is a popular tourist destination. While it’s approximately 10km x 5km in size, it’s terrain looked on the map at least, to offer an opportunity to get into some wilds and have a bit of an adventure.

The narrow gauge train from Espanya station trundles through the suburbs of Barcelona before entering the countryside, dotted with dormitory towns for the businesses of Barcelona, the valley was also home to numerous olive groves. I hadn’t slept too well the night before, so having got on the train at Espanya, I promptly hugged my backpack, shut my eyes and woke up 50 minutes later in the countryside.

When you buy a ticket to Montserrat in Barcelona you have a choice, you can buy a ticket including a cable car, or including a rack railway. The cable car seemed like a more interesting option of the two, and with no price difference, I opted for that.

Speaking no Spanish what so ever, and not entirely sure what the station was I had to get off at, I watched out the window hoping for some indication of where to get off.

I saw the cables of a cable car, the supporting masts. Was this the right station? I hurriedly grabbed my bag and jumped off the train just as the doors closed.

Right, which way is Montserrat… erm, oh. *DOH*. This is the wrong station. I wanted the next one. The dangle-way infrastructure is just a decoy. Bah.

I spent the 20 minute wait for the next train reconfiguring my bag. I’d borrowed a hat off a friend so that I wouldn’t combust in the Spanish sun. Alas the rim of the hat banged on the lid pocket of my rather full backpack. The floating lid of the Tempest pack proved to be a useful feature, as I fettled the straps to move the lid pocket more round to the front of the pack out the way of my hat.

Back on the train to the correct station, I tried to follow the train line as it entered the map, through tunnels, and cuttings, approaching Montserrat Aeri station. This time it was right. This time there was a big sign saying it was Montserrat, and the even bigger clue of the Monastery being visible perched precariously on the side of the mountain.

The. Mountain.

I craned my neck as I looked up at the imposing cliffs and rounded peaks. What was I letting myself in for?

I presented my ticket to the dangle way ticket office. I must look British, as the guy responded in perfect English. “Two minutes”.

The cable car to the Monastery dates from the 1960’s. Proud photos of it’s early days adorn the walls of the station. A brightly painted gondola sat ready and waiting. The cable car attendant looked slightly bemused at my over filled pack and walking poles, with my camera hanging off my neck. A radio exchange in Spanish followed, before the gondola clanked and ground slowly out of it’s docking cradle.

Each car has a maximium capacity of 35 people. This one carried just me. Unlike many modern transport mechanisms, the gondola had proper opening windows (albeit no air-con), and I amused myself for the 6 minute journey by moving round the gondola shooting the view from various angles, trying to get a nice shot as we moved further up the mountain. Near the top we passed a packed gondola heading down. It was just past 1800, and the day tourists were starting to make their way off the mountain.

Packed Gondola On it's way down

Packed Gondola On it’s way down

View from the cable car

View from the cable car on the way up

The complex that is Montserrat Monastery is a substantial development. Accompanying the various ecclesiastical buildings was the various manifestations of the tourist establishment. Museum, gift shop, toilets, bar, two funicular stations, the rack railway station, and of course the station for the dangle-way. All this clings in a small space between two high peaks. The map shows a stream flowing towards the complex, but it was dry. I had planned to make some use of this infrastructure to bootstrap my hike. The Funicular St Joan, should get me 300m up to what is marked on the map as a “Strolling path”, and the start of my hike proper…

That was the theory. Alas, having used the facilities and filled my water bottles at the fountain. I wandered to the Funicular station. Locked. A sign indicated that the Funicular stopped running at 1810. I looked at the time on my phone. 1820. If only I hadn’t wasted 20 mins by getting off at the wrong stop. ARGH.

I sat down with the map. Adapt and overcome. The clearest looking route was the one up the valley from the Monastery towards the strolling path, and the greater path network of Montserrat. It’s only a couple of kilometres to the path on the map, and what, 300m of ascent. How hard can it be…

Weighed down with 3.5kg of water, on top of my packed bag, I approached the footpath. It started as a few flights of well made stairs, and while I wouldn’t say it was easy, it wasn’t too bad. I plodded up the stairs, and over a bridge, passing various day hikers coming in the opposite direction. At the end of the bridge, it looked like the path started properly and the ascent could begin.

Oh how naive. I turned off the bridge, round the tree and looked at the path.

The stair case is a rather interesting invention. Nothing in our homes causes us more injury. Falling down them, falling up them. The design of a good staircase is a triumph of ergonomics. Too big a rise (the height of each step), and you put too much strain on the legs. Too small and you don’t make sufficient gains in height. Get the going (the horizontal distance of each step) wrong and you break the stride of the user, if you’re not careful you end up with imbalanced loading, with the lifting of your weight always landing on the same leg.

What is marked on the map as a sloping path up the valley turned out to be an erratic collection of unequal randomly sized cast concrete steps. Varying in rise from 100mm to over 300mm, with goings ranging from a couple of hundred millimetres, to over a metre or so. Each carefully and lovingly crafted to be have just the right combination of appalling ergonomics that makes each step a laborious exercise. Onwards and upwards I plodded. Step by step. One foot in front of the other.

Being in a valley, the sun had disappeared beyond the mountain before I had got to the bottom step. I was rather grateful of drop in temperature. Even so, I was soon soaked in sweat.

Weighed down by 10kg of pack, various less encumbered walkers passed me. We all run our own race. I continued up, stopping occasionally to admire the view. It rapidly became apparent that my original target bivvi sites were going to be beyond my reach before night fall, and I started to consider other options. All I needed was a couple of metres of flat ground to lay my bivvi bag, Ideally somewhere with a nice view, and not too close to the path. The terrain wasn’t offering many options. At 856masl, four paths came to a junction off to the left there was a small patch of level ground. The first I’d seen since leaving the Monastery. It was over looked, and somewhat precarious, but I made a note of it as a plausible option none the less. I continued up.

Eighty metres higher up the path, having covered very little horizontal distance, the path levelled out and I crossed the dried up stream bed again. Here the stairs ceased and were replaced by a rocky path with a sensible gentle incline.

The path followed the edge of the dried up stream bed, before reaching some switchbacks of erratically space in-ergonomic stairs. I paused at the base of the stairs, and considered my options.

the path

The path I’d come up.

Next to the path, the stream bed levelled off into a wide flatish area filled with low trees and bushes. Some of it looked flat.

I sat on a rock and watched the path, considering my options. It was the least worst bivvi site that I’d seen since I started the hike. Sure it wasn’t perfect. But it would do. Wouldn’t it?

I watched the site for a few minutes, trying to get a feel for the area. Yes, it’ll have to do. I pushed through the bushes and under branches, looking for somewhere flat enough and big enough for a bivvi bag. The first site I found had obviously been used by a reckless hiker as a loo, they hadn’t bothered to hide the evidence. I explored further, heading up the stream bed into denser growth. I found a spot. This would do.

When bivviing in areas where wildcamping is perhaps not encouraged, my preferred method is to locate the site, and sit and wait till it’s fully dark before making camp properly. I watched as a few hikers plodded on up the hill. Noone seemed to notice I was there. Finally, content that it was dark enough. I started to make camp.

“Ruh ruh ruh ruh ruh ruh ruh!”

It came out of the darkness and the silence. A dog, less than a metre away, and it wasn’t happy. Neither was I. I looked around for an owner. Fifteen metres away on the path, a faint torch glowed. Was that the owner? Yes, yes it was, they were calling out for the dog to come back. I sat stock still, wondering what on earth I would do if the bark turned to bite. After what felt like days, but was probably less than 30 seconds, the dog lost interest, and headed off to find it’s owner. I sat dead still waiting for my heart to stop pounding. Breathe. Immediate threat gone, I reached for my leatherman juice, the only sharp implement I had with me. I found an empty pocket. Where was it? Damn it. I routed around in all the pockets on my pack. It wasn’t there. I took my head torch and went to search the area where I had sat earlier. Nothing. Damn. That was expensive. I returned to camp.

In the shade of the trees, in nestled in the valley, it was surprisingly cool. I was grateful of the warmth of my sleeping bag. I pulled it up round me, snuggled down. Something was digging into my side. What was it, how could something solid be in my bivvi bag. I rooted around in the darkness. My leatherman. No idea how it got there, but there it was. Phew. I put it safely in the pocket on my pack it should have been in, and lay back listening to the sounds of the forest.

I could hear a bird calling, the sounds of bats flying around above my head, somewhere in the distance, an owl called. In the peace of the forest I drifted off to sleep.

Awake. Alert. Why am I awake. What woke me. I lay still and listen. Heavy breathing. Very heavy breathing. What is it? Is that human? Is that a human male breathing heavily? Do they want to attack me? How do I defend myself. My heart raced.

That wasn’t human.


Yes, definitely not human. What makes a sound like that?

Boar. Wild Boar. I never knew my heart could race so fast whilst laying still. My mind went to the food in my bag. I wasn’t expecting boar in the area, so had left all my food in my pack, next to my head. Including a mature, aromatic cheese. Could the boar smell it too?

I lay as still and silent as I could. Waiting to hear what the boar would do next.

Slowly the snuffling noise faded off into the distance heading down hill. Phew. I listened to the darkness, wondering if it was coming back. Slowly, I drifted off to sleep.


Awake. The boar was back. I knew it was a boar now. My heart didn’t thunder as hard as it had. I listened as it slowly snuffled it’s way up the valley and into the distance, leaving me to return to my slumber.


It’s back again. No wait, it’s closer, and getting louder. I lay dead still in my sleeping bag. Unarmed, defenceless, and next to a smelly block of cheese. The boar snuffled closer. It couldn’t me more than a couple of metres away. What do I do. Flight? No, I’m in a bivvi bag with no zip, I’d never get out the bag. Fight? With a leatherman juice? Not an option, it’s in my pack. It snuffled closer. I moved my head to look at where it was coming from.


I jumped, it jumped. I stared off into the darkness as the patter of trotters heading up stream faded away. It was as scared of me as I was of it. I lay listening for it’s return.

I woke to bird song and day light. That wasn’t right, I had set an alarm for just before dawn. I rooted about for my phone and pressed the button. Nothing. Flat battery. That would explain it. My bivvi bag was toasty & warm, birds sang. I lay there enjoying the surroundings.

Alas it couldn’t last forever, eventually, with reluctance, I crawled out of my sleeping bag and embraced the morning. Well the ten minutes that were left of it…

Breaking camp was quick and simple, within 15 minutes of exiting my sleeping bag, I was stepping out onto the trail.

Cloud covering the tops of the mountains

Cloud covering the tops of the mountains

The morning was grey, with low clouds covering the peaks of the mountains. At least I wouldn’t boil or need the sun cream. I approached the erratic stairs with the vigor of the new day. As I plodded up, a series of runners headed down the opposite way. Eventually I reached the strolling path I had been hoping to take the previous day. The junction contained a post with signs detailing the position (with UTM coordinate), as well as estimated times for to various points. I looked at the 50minutes it reckoned that it would take from the Monastery to this point and despaired. It had taken me over 2 hours to get to this point. Looking at the 40 min estimate to the Funicular station, I wondered how many hours it would take.

After the laborious ascent, the rugged, rocky path was a substantial relief. I deployed the walking poles, and started to eat up the distance. As I walked I pondered over why it had taken so long. Why was it so difficult. I hadn’t gone very far, yet it had taken me hours. I put the thoughts out of my mind and concentrated on the path ahead.

Rugged mountains of Montserrat

Rugged mountains of Montserrat

The strolling path was not quite what I had expected, it was mostly flat, following the contours, but had a camber that ranged all over the place, covered in loose rocks and gravel, it wasn’t what I would consider a stroll…

Pausing for a few photos, I ate up the distance, just under 60 minutes after reaching the junction, I arrived at Funicular St Joan. I’d done it. I’d done a 3rd of the distance I had intended to do, and taken 3 times the length to do it. But I’d done it. A successful Microadventure.

Rugged mountains of Montserrat

Rugged mountains of Montserrat


I took the rack railway route back to Barcelona, and spent the journey trying to work out why it had been so hard. I looked at the numbers, the heights, and the distances.

From the Monastery at 718masl, I had walked up the stairs to about 950masl. 232m. That’s pitiful. I’d moved so slowly across the ground that my etrex 10 hadn’t registered any trace of me moving.

Two hundred and thirty two metres.

I needed to put that into perspective. What else is about that height?

Canary Wharf (properly one Canada square). 235m. Fifty stories. I’d climbed stairs equivalent to Canary Wharf, with a 10 kilo pack, in the Spanish heat. Perhaps I wasn’t so useless after all.

Analysing the GPS data, my trip had a height range of 324m. The 87 storey shard is 309.6m tall… The highest point of the Netherlands is 322.7m… Perhaps I wasn’t as useless as I had thought. Put in perspective, the climbing Canary Wharf or the Shard by the stairs, with a 10kg pack. Yeah, that isn’t going to be a quick hike…

Dramatic scenery, inquisitive wildlife, challenging terrain. All in all, a perfect Spanish Microadventure.

Total Distance: 4.84km
Total Ascent: 324m

Peaks of Montserrat

Peaks of Montserrat.

ADVENTURE: Climbing Pen-Y-Fan

I first wrote this article in July 2014 for a forum I am on. I have published it here for those not on the forum.


I’ve been trying to work out how to write this for a week now, ever since I started the decent. How do I word it? Where do I start?

I suppose the easiest start point is about 7 years ago. I was on holiday in Hay-on-Wye with some friends. It was the Easter weekend, and I thought it would be a great idea to climb Pen-y-Fan. So we set off in a couple of cars, and parked on the northern side of the Beacons, at SO025249. By the time we had done only a couple of Km we stopped for lunch. With discretion the better part of valour, I turned round and headed back to the car. I had been defeated, not by the mountain, but by my own body. Injury turned me back.

Fast forward to 2014, and the same group of friends has decided to have our summer holiday in the village of Talybont-on-Usk. Looking at the map I notice that Pen-y-Fan is very close. The injury that turned me back last time has had 3 rounds of physio treatment. I’m feeling fit.

So I propose to the group that I would like to do Pen-y-Fan. Not expecting anyone else to be mad enough to join me, I start looking at the bus options for Talybont to the Storey Arms to start the hike. But, before I’ve got the buses entirely worked out my inbox is alive. Not only do some of them want to join me, but they have proposed a route alteration that cuts 10k of the hike (more on that later). I’m not doing it alone. It’s going to be 13 of us, plus two hounds.

When I proposed the hike to the group I put forth two routes, which I names short, and long. The short route goes up one side of the mountain from the Storey Arms, over Corn Du, and to the top of Pen-y-Fan, then back via a similar route to the car. The long route is the same as far as the peak of Pen-y-Fan, but then descends the other side, and on towards Cribyn, Fan-y-Big, along the Breacon Beacons way to the end of Talybont Reservoir, and then along the taff trail back to Talybont. About 20k all up.

The altered proposal that was put forth was to park a car at the end of Talybont Reservoir at the car park at Torpantau. Then we all go by car to the Storey Arms, then when we’ve completed the hike, we shuttle the drivers back and forth until eventually everyone is back in Talybont and we can go to the pub. Hurrah, the route is now just under 11km. Christened Pen-y-Fan-not-so-long.

Route map


What I thought would be a solo hike up and over Pen-y-Fan, is now an international group expedition across upto 4 peaks of the Breacon Beacons. Just a small amount of mission creep there. The group of 13 was made up of 2 Belgians, 2 Germans, an Austrian, a Brazilian, 6 Brits, and 2 dogs.

Plans made, we all headed to bed pretty early so that we could get up early to try and do as much of the walk as we could before it got to hot. I noticed the village shop and cafe opened at 0700, so I decided I would get up and have a decent fry up to get me through the day.

0630 rolls round and I crawl out of my tent into a comfortably warm campsite. A few of the others have started to surface and we head to the cafe. The sign on the shop door said they open at 0700, and the shop does. Alas the cafe doesn’t open until 0900. By which we hoped to be on the move. Plan B, raided the shop for some supplies (Mars bar is an acceptable breakfast on a mountain hike right?).

At the meeting point I sat down and wrote an email to a friend in Kent. The email said how many of us there would be, what route we were taking, and when we were due back, with explicit instructions that if we didn’t contact by 1 hour after the due back time, to call Mountain Rescue. Email done, group gathered we pile into cars for the short drive to the Storey Arms.

It took us 4 cars to get everyone to the Storey Arms car park (the southern most of the two), one of which would return to Talybont after he had dropped us off.

We stood at the bottom of the mountain passing round the sun cream, alternating our gaze between the sun that was scorching us from above, and the path we intended to take. It started to sink in with some in the group as to what we were about to do.

Sun cream done, we thanked the guy who had brought the 4th car, confirmed the time we hoped they would meet us at the end of the route and headed for the track.

Within 100 yards of starting the group had split naturally. With me in the tail end group was 2 Belgians, 1 German, myself, a second brit, and a dog. We wouldn’t see the rest for quite a while.

I had a rough idea based on last time what was ahead of me, so settled down into a mountain pace, one foot just in front of the other, head up, poles out, plod plod plod.

As we walked stopping occasionally to enjoy the various people wandered past us at varying paces, each faster than what we as a group were doing. At 700m or so we stopped for a water break. Our intent to miss the hottest part of the day hadn’t worked, the sun was beating down on us, there was no shade, and no breeze. Drink lots of water, sweat lots, keep on going. It would become a running joke over the course of the day “Drink more water” we all said to each other, and then to everyone who wandered past.

After we had been climbing for an hour or so, from the top of the mountain appeared a soldier, in full combat kit with a slingless rifle in his hands. Sweat streaming everywhere, he looked like he had been running for a while. Were we climbing Pen-y-Fan when the Fan dance was in progress? 100 yards beyond the first soldier was another, then another. This one looked dead, but still running down the mountain. He didn’t respond when we said morning, unlike the others. This would become another theme of the day, hot sweaty soldiers running past us with giant bergens on their backs topped with an Orange air marker panel.

One foot just in front of the other, drink more water, repeat. We plodded up the mountain.

Just short of the first peak of the day we pulled out the map and took a look. Damn. What we had been aiming for isn’t Pen-y-Fan, it’s Corn Du. We had a brief analysis and discussion. Did we want to climb this one too? There was a path round the summit we could miss it out and just do Pen-y-Fan. As a group we all went over Corn Du.

The final ascent to Corn-Du is the steepest of the whole walk, in places it’s a case of stepping from one large boulder to the next, a bit like over sized steps. But after a few minutes, we all wandered to the cairn on the top of the mountain.

The view was spectacular.

After a photo and water break (drink one, take the other…). We looked at the path down to the saddle then up to Pen-y-Fan. Oh that looks better we thought. In hind sight, if I was going to do the loop back to the Storey Arms, I would go first to Pen-y-Fan, then back up to Corn du, then down again. But we were there, and down we go.

We could see our aim we could see the target. It brought forth a burst of energy, and we all strode down the saddle and up the other side. As the incline steepened, I switch back to the mountain pace, foot just infront of the other, plod, plod, plod. I couldn’t beleive it. On my second attempt I was going to do it, I was going to reach the top. I felt great.

Too great.

50m from the summit I could see the cairn. I lifted the poles from the ground, scinched my pack straps, and ran for it. A sprint finish, I was going to make it!

I ran the 50m over the rocky ground, jumping from stone to stone, passing my friends as I did, and arrived at the cairn. Gulping down great lungfuls of breath I climbed the cairn, dropped my poles, and crumpled in a heap. I’d DONE IT! It felt great. Seven years after starting, I had finally made it to the top of Pen-y-Fan.

Once I had my breath back, we decided that we would move down a bit off the top to have lunch. Away from the flying insects that seemed to cover the tops, and only the tops of the mountains.

On the way to the path down, there was a small green tent, with a couple of squaddies lounging around it.

“Hi, are you allowed to talk to civilians?”


We exchanged some pleasantries.

“What are they up to? is this the fan dance?”

“No, it’s a long drag”

“Ouch, how far are they going?”

“22km today”

“Just getting up here has almost killed me, I have a whole new found respect
for you guys. Have a good day”

“And you”

I wandered back to the path, and joined my friends 50m or so below the summit.

the view from lunch

The view from Lunch

We had lunch and chatted, admiring the view down the valley towards Cribyn and Fan-y-Big. Punctuated into the distance by small orange air marker panels on the tops of bergans.

view down the valley

View down the valley

Lunch over (another healthy marsbar…), we debated our next move. From where we sat we could see Cribyn ahead of us, and we could see the path round it. It was a unanimous decision that we miss out on the next top, and take the low road.

We plodded on once more. Down hill my stride lengthened, as much as the terrain allowed. The stones that the national trust has used to shore up the path are uncomfortable under foot, like walking on paving slabs stood end on end. My knees didn’t like the decent, making me very appreciative of my walking poles.

We stopped at the southern side of Cribyn for another water break, punctuated yet again by exhausted soldiers trekking past. They had obviously started to reach their turn around point, as now we had them going in both directions. We drank water, and admirred the view. Noting as we did that one of our party, the owner of the dog, wasn’t with us. We hoped that they were just round the corner chasing down where ever the dog had got to. Rested and watered, we plodded on.

At the saddle between Cribyn and Fan-y-Big, we found our missing member, sat waiting for us. He had realised we weren’t behind us, so waited at a convenient junction for us.

As we arrived here we recognised the tinkle of a bell, and a familiar voice. Looking up the path to the top of Cribyn, we saw the trail blazer group that had zoomed ahead of us on the first ascent. We greeted each other with congratulations at having got this far. Chatted about what we had achieved, and posed for a group photo.

Following this we had a bit of a discussion, who wanted to try the planned route up Fan-y-Big, and who found the low road that we could see round the valley back to the car park. In the end one of the tail end group swapped into the trainblazer party, and we went our separate ways. I texted the friend in Kent with the details of our route deviation.

Now we were on the flat, we could lengthen the stride once more and eat up some miles. We pressed on along the taff trail, passed by some very enthusiastic mountain bikers.

As we reached the corner of the forest, we stopped for a final water break, and to admire the view up the valley. By now the weather had clouded over, giving a rather moody sky over the mountains.

We walked on, crossing down and then up the other side of a rocky gulley and along the forest road. We had a spring in our step and were looking forward to the car ride back to Talybont, and the pub.

As we exited the woods and entered on to the road, we looked up at the incline of the flat road. Looked at the GPS telling us it was still 1.2km to the car park. And swore. All of us doing so in English…

We decided to stop for a final final water break before taking on the final kilometer.

From here to the car park it ceased to be a walk, it ceased to be a plod, it had become a slog. There was no breeze, there was no sun, just a muggy humid discomfort of stillness. We didn’t talk to each other, just cursing the aches and pains of the various parts of the body we had picked up over the hike.

We slogged on.

At the top of the road we passed a collection of green vehicles with their gathering of orange air marker panelled bergan carrying soldiers. They looked exhausted. I stopped and asked the driver of the green ambulance for directions to the car park. The cheery soldier gave my directions the final 200 yards.

We slogged on.

Finally we turned the corner and stumbled up the 50m of track to the stream by the entrance of the car park. Here we met the Austrian and the Brazilian that were the scouts for the trailblazer party. They said that the rest of them were not far behind. We collapsed round the stream, some removing their shoes to cool their feet in the stream.

I filled the pouch for my sawyer from the stream (upstream of the others), and drank the best tasting coldest water I’ve ever had.

With all members of both groups accounted for. We sent off a car load of people to find more cars, and get us down, while being very British, one of the Germans in our party put the kettle on and made us all tea…

An hour later, and involving 6 cars in total. We all made it back to Talybont.

my tent

Back at my tent.

I got a lift back to my tent, where I collapsed in the shade of the car. I’d done it. On my second attempt, I’d done it. I had got to the top of Pen-y-Fan. The euphoria at having achieved this made the pain in my legs

I lay there, staring up at the Ash tree above me, pondering what I had done.

You see many people talk of how they “conquered Everest” “Took on the mountain and won”. I thought about what I had done. Had I conquered Pen-y-Fan? No not really, the mountain is still there. Did I take on and defeat the mountain? No not really, the mountain just sat there and did what mountains do. So what did I do? Even now, a week on, I can’t think of a way of wording it. I’ve consulted various people, picked the brains of a Librarian, a Poet, and a Dane. I’ve analysed the thoughts, but I can’t work out a suitable way of phrasing it. Pen-y-Fan is still there, unchanged. Standing sentinel to time.

So if the mountain is still the same, am I? That’s a good question. Am I the same Julia that set off from the Storey Arms one Tuesday in July? I know I’m not the same one that set off one Easter Saturday long ago. My feet are sore. My walking poles worn. The memories of achievement living in my mind. I embraced the mountain, and let it teach me just a little bit more about the world.


If you are interested in climbing Pen-y-Fan, you may find the routes I created for my trip useful. You can find them on viewranger.