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CLARET MOUNTAINEERS REVIEW

A look back at the successful expedition earlier this month

28 June 2022

The Claret Mountaineers completed their 2022 Brecon Beacons Challenge in mid-June.

The group set off from Sixfields with a cohort of 26, who have represented the club's Disability, Health & Wellbeing, and Women & Girls programmes in the form of staff, volunteers, and participants. This time the make up of the group was a little different, there were more new faces, more female participants, and a wide range of ages but all there for a common cause, to help fundraise for Northampton Town Football Club Community Trust.

Upon arrival the group all sat down for dinner together, had a pre climb briefing before everyone headed to bed. The following morning, breakfast was a 7:45am and final checks to leave at 8:45am for the start point.

An hour later the group set off for the first peak of Cairn as part of the clockwise route of the Brecon Beacons horseshoe ridge walk. They encountered one of the toughest parts of the route with a 400m steep ascent to the base of the ridge. This stern test was a shock to all of the first-time participants, who quickly received a reality check that this part of the walk had not been labelled the toughest route for nothing.

Upon the first climb to the top of the ridge they started to encounter more wind and light rain as the weather started to turn. After 45 minutes the group all safely reached the first peak and started to make their way across the ridge towards Corn Du, the second peak.

Forty minutes into the walk the weather drastically changed, with heavy rain, a downpour of hail and high winds, as the group powered through this abnormal pocket of extreme weather, and reached the summit of Pen Y Fan at 12:30pm, the highest peak in Brecon Beacons standing at 886m high. As weather carried on turning and with some of the participants really getting wet and cold, the group decided to move on down and towards Cribyn the final peak.

The road to the final peak was full of shale and unstable rock, and all participants took their time as they slowly descended Pen Y Fan, where they were greeted by a company of British Army personnel doing their training and ascending the peak. After some encouragement was exchanged from both sides they moved forward and reached the final peak at 2:05pm and sat down for a break and to refuel before the final stretch, a 3-4 mile descent and walk back to the finish point.

As the group descended, the clouds cleared and the walkers started to see the real beauty of the Brecon beacons, the whisp of the light cloud, the beautiful landscape of the valley and the glistening water below.

At 3:35pm the group all safely reached the finishing point and with a massive cheer all involved celebrated the amazing achievement of finishing the challenging walk an hour quicker than anticipated. That Saturday evening, they all celebrated properly with a hearty meal and few drinks at a local pub.

All in all, it was fantastic weekend of camaraderie, laughs and most importantly the Claret Mountaineers family just got bigger with some new members and all looking forward to the next challenge coming in 2023!

Since the climb the group have raised over £6,000 and would like to thank everyone who has supported the climbers throughout their journey.


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