The run in to Winter



October is here and I guess I am hoping for a long slow decline into Winter with bright days and little rain. I hope so, because it is often my favourite time  of the year. The nights are drawing in but havent yet hit the lows of what feels like a mid afternoon darkness. The mornings are cool and relatively crisp and the temperature is nice and cool but not biting yet. Of course I love winter as well but thats a whole new set of kit to drag out. I am still in my Ron Hills and using the lightweight sleeping mat and simple 2 layer system presently.

I am really going to try and make it to the Grwyne Fawr bothy in the Black Mountains in the next month or two. I have had a hankering to return there ever since I discovered it had been done up fairly recently too. Below is a picture of the inside of it although the picture isnt mine I hasten to add. The great thing about this bothy is that it has a fabulous wood burner inside, has a window and a brilliant loft sleeping platform to fit 4 people. The only downside is that it is only a few miles from roadside parking so there is always the chance it will be full. Having said that the Grwyne Fawr valley is quite sheltered and so I would take a bivvy bag just in case. The walks from there are just great too with two ridges to pick from and fairly superb views once you hit the high ground.


The other thing I am looking forward to is the return of cloud inversions. There was one in the Usk valley the other day and it was very beautiful in the morning sun. The best one I have witnessed was a few years ago when I decided to go up Pen-y-Fan very early one December morning to see the sunrise. I was treated to a really special cloud inversion where the peak of Pen-y-Fan was the only thing above the cloud layer and the sun was dazzling and bright.


Of course I will have to try and remember to pack my camera, I have so often in the recent past forgotten to do so. I keep seeing fabulous photo’s on other people’s walking blogs and I feel like I am missing something by not having enough pictures on my posts this year.

Here’s to the autumn…..

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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12 Responses to The run in to Winter

  1. backpackingbongos says:

    The Grwyne Fawr bothy is a great little place, although don’t take a cat as there is not enough room to swing one about. Some great camping on a shelf on the other side of the river. can’t wait for the first inversion of the year!

  2. backpackbrewer says:

    Yes, you are right. It is on the wee side but great little place all the same. I walked around the reservoir several times this year and there are some sheltered camping spots to be sure.

  3. R MacE says:

    Yes It’s getting to the time of year where it can be really nice or absolutely horrible. Still to early for the heavyweight stuff but I’m starting to think about it.

    Love the 1st pic, really atmospheric, is that a ghostly hand appearing at the rafters =:-

  4. backpackbrewer says:

    its a glove 🙂

    quite fancy going there for an evening especially if its really windy and rainy

  5. R MacE says:

    A glove? oh I wouldn’t be so sure 🙂

  6. backpackbrewer says:


  7. Ben says:

    Hope you get to the bothy. Let me know if there are any peat blocks (eco-friendly alternatives actually ) left. We hauled them all the way there and didnt use them all.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Ben,

      I will certainly look when I get there again but I would suspect that they will have been used. I was planning on taking a big bag of wood blocks with me when I go.

      On the subject of people leaving stuff at the bothy, last time I was there there was an assortment of food, newspapers, books, candles, matches and the like. 🙂

  8. Mark Everson says:

    I love Grwyne Fawr Bothy. First used it about 20 years ago. Last time I was passing about 12 months ago it was pretty trashed by the previous visitors. Glad to hear it’s looking in decent shape.

    I so want to see a cloud inversion – I’m an inversion-virgin. I’ll have to keep a close eye on the forecasts this winter. Trouble is, I usually plan a walk a number of weeks in advance and don’t tend to shoot out on the spur of the moment.

  9. backpackbrewer says:

    Hi Mark,

    where are your nearest hills? This week I have seen 2 inversions in the Usk Vale with the cloud only topping at about 200 metres!

  10. Mark Everson says:

    Hi BPB

    I’m in cwmbran so, technically, the nearest hill, Twmbarlwm, is only a short drive away – I sometimes run to the top from the house when fit enough! It might be a good option for a short notice inversion.
    I’m also just 30 mins from the black mountains and the Central Beacons.
    I’m determined to photograph one before xmas so I will keep a close eye on conditions.



    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hi Mark, I am only about 10 miles from you then 🙂

      I like Twmbarlwm, used to take the dogs up there for a runabout. I also like Greyhill down by Caerwent and its my tester hill for new kit or combinations

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