As I shut the front door of my empty flat behind me as I retreat to my parent’s house for an uncertain amount of time. I take the care package that my wonderful friend had sent me and begin to drive the 5-minute journey to the solitude of my Mum and Dad’s. The truth is a lot has happened over the past four months or so and I can’t help but reflect on my friendships and how they have helped me through. Two particular friendships that have supported my rollercoaster journey are two girls that I met at University. The one lives in a different County and the other a different Country. Yet despite the many miles between us, they still book a flight and send gifts to keep me going. So this post is about them and our very boozy weekend in the Brecon Beacons. As Carrie Bradshaw said; “Maybe girlfriends are our soul mates, and guys are just people to have fun with”.
On the first week of December, three friends arrive in the Brecon Beacons to surprise their friend Charlotte from University. I had only travelled a few hours to see Charlotte and to visit the Brecon Beacons, but our friend Raisha had flown from Geneva for the visit.
As I enter the front door of the chalk coloured cottage, I’m greeted by my eager friend Ben who had arranged this surprise trip for his girlfriend. As we hid in the kitchen and Raisha in the pantry we tried to mask Dottie’s (the dog) bark as Charlotte wondered down the stairs. Dottie was the first to wander into the lounge to surprise Charlotte for her birthday, although at first she was mistaken as a present. Luke and I entered the lounge next, followed by the biggest surprise that was Raisha. The boozy weekend began with an open fire and a bottle of prosecco before we ventured outside to the nearest pub, The Whitehouse Country Inn.
With our tummies full of pheasant and Bean Chilli, Dottie’s included, we head back to the cottage to indulge in another bottle of prosecco and a dip in the hot tub. As we clink our glasses to the first evening of our mini holiday, we watch the stars above as the bubbles froth under our chins. It’s a late night as we run inside from the cold and jump into bed.
I wake up to the sound of Dottie stirring and take her downstairs for a morning wee. I begin to clear the mess from the night before and make myself some tea before the others wake up. We start our morning quite late as Raisha throws together a delicious breakfast before we journey to the Brecon Beacons later in the afternoon. We wrap up warm and shelter our skin from the crisp Welsh breeze. Dottie too is wrapped up in her red jumper and is eager to venture into the hillside. Ben prepares us with hats, torches and rucksacks, we jump into the car and travel to the Brecon Beacons area.
We’ve arrived later than anticipated, with the sun setting in a few hours we opt for the short route up the mountain. The guide in the information building explains the easy route and we begin the trail taking photos and sharing giggles as we ascend up the hillside. We slide through muddy marshes, march up inclines and break through icy pools. The hills of The Brecon Beacons stands in front of us as we take a deep breath and begin the sharp walk up the hill. Taking a rest in between steps and with a lot of moaning all five of us make it to the top, with a victorious view, it’s totally worth it.
Our journey back to the visitor centre is a lot easier, although the muddy path has been masked by the frost. The sky becomes slightly darker causing our feet to tread a little quicker. Dottie’s paws are cold as I carry her back for the last 15 minutes. With a debate on which direction to take, we resume on the path we think we took earlier that day. The cold pools of rainwater fall onto my face, my mascara smudged from wiping the drips. We hurry to the shelter of the cafe beneath the visitor centre to indulge on brownies and cappuccinos before making the journey back to the cottage.
That evening was full of more prosecco, spaghetti and meatballs and of course an evening soaking up the bubbles of the hot tub.
A lazy morning was paired perfectly with scrambled eggs and a strong cup of tea. Following on from breakfast we all got in the car and headed to the four waterfalls walk. We left a little late and the guide advised us to walk to the first waterfall before it gets too dark. We paid our £4 carpark fee and headed first to the cave that was below the centre’s car park. We climbed down the steep stairs with Dottie running ahead. My feet were unsteady on the rocky ground and us girls held each other’s arms as we walked over to the cave. The boys went ahead, clambering over the rocks with their torches to see what’s within the dark mouthed cave. After ten minutes, we urged the boys to hurry as we weaved in and out of the boulders that were submerged under the stream of water.
We begin our mini trek before it gets too dark, to the first waterfall Sgwd Clun-gwyn. We make our way through the muddy paths, slippery slopes, passing over the fallen branches. Dottie hops ahead only needing a little help through the small streams of water. We pass fields of sheep, flowing streams and moss and fern coloured foliage before we reach the first waterfall. My one friend hangs back, worried what lurks over the edge. But the gushing water hangs beautifully over the cliff face. I watch memorised by the sheer force of nature whilst nervously edging closer to the edge. After a few snaps and some giggles, we head back as the sun drops and the darkened clouds ascend. I wish we could have done the other three waterfalls, however, the entire walk would have taken roughly 3-4 hours.
We jump back in the car when we make it back to the almost empty car park. We’re off for to stock up on some food and drinks at the local Lidl before we reach the cottage. Tonight we have far too much alcohol, an indulgent pizza, a competitive game of Uno is underway and we continue to make amazing memories together. This is our last night in the Brecon Beacons, we start our journey back to the normality of everyday life tomorrow. But for now, we enjoy our last evening snuggled up together, spending the last evening of this trip in the company of friends.
Despite the distance and the many miles between us, these two girls have provided me with so much strength and positivity through this difficult journey. Surround yourself with people who will steer you in the right direction and with friends who will support you, and you them. My Boozy Brecon Beacons weekend, was yes filled with booze, but also overflowing with love from these special people.
Now for the next adventure…