Off we tootled from Chepstow in South East Wales up to the outskirts of Beulah in Mid Wales. Driving through the snow in the Brecon Beacons, ploughing along to visit my great-grandfather’s old farm.
We passed through a beautiful part of the world, so often missed on the itinerary of tourists. Climbing high up the Beacons sheep sheltered from the cold. We drove past military land; past ancient farms, buildings without windows and old taverns abandoned to the weather.
Eventually we arrived at the farm, Pencoedlan. Here was where my ancestors farmed for a living, toiling the earth and rearing their sheep. They were eventually to leave and go and work for King Coal down in the Welsh Valleys, replacing the glorious light of the farm for the black dust of the pit.
After having a little look around, with the obligatory photograph, we decided to head to Brecon to stay the night. Getting into the car we realised we were stuck. Stuck in the mud actually. I tried and tried to push us out of the quagmire but I just couldn’t budge the car. Luckily for us a couple of walkers came by, they gave us a helping hand and we were freed from the mess. As a parting shot, one of our helpers enquired whether we were up here for a bit of nooky. I snootily replied we were on my great-grandfather’s land and implied that he shouldn’t actually be on it. I was grateful for their help though.
So after a dreadful night in Brecon we headed back to Chepstow. I proudly showed my father the photo we had taken of the farm. He was quiet, then he looked a bit puzzled, then he said ‘That is not the right farm.’