Last weekend my other half and I found ourselves back in the Brecon Beacons, and walking up the tallest hill in the southern half of these fair islands. Let me tell you, once you've tried real mountains these piddly sub-1000m mounds of earth just don't command the same kind of respect - and I live in Essex where, as I may have mentioned in the past, even the speed bumps get contour lines. Yes the top might be hidden by cloud, but there's not even a snow-line. That's not to say I didn't wonder once or twice on the way up why I put myself through this, but there was never any doubt that we'd reach the top, and the view from the summit is stunning.
My abiding memory from that climb is Skylarks all the way up, absolutely everywhere, singing their little hearts out. It really is an amazing sound and the sheer number was enough to make me happy, even if the views consisted of small black specks against bright blue sky (in Wales! Very unexpected, but most welcome).
However, since I was walking, I didn't have a camera, so you are rescued from pictures of small black specks. Instead, you get pictures of Red Kites, you lucky people.
Yes, we did Gigrin farm. Yes, I took the long lens. Yes, it's as good as cheating and there are a dozen blurry, overexposed photos for every one of the four half decent ones below, but it's hella fun. I don't have an expensive camera or even a particularly good lens, so I was going for Character. I wanted Kites Doing Interesting Things to compensate for the fact that the photo quality wasn't going to be anything special. Fortunately, Kites feed a bit like Terns, except that instead of plunging into water they perform death defying last second pull outs when they dive for food. It is a joy to watch.
Besides of which, take a hundred photos and odds are you'll have 4 good ones to share.
And if you ever find yourself up that way and in need of a bed and breakfast, I can 100% recommend the New Hall Guesthouse in Llanwrtyd Wells. It is friendly and awesome and the breakfast is amazing.