By Lauren Stenning
You can’t spend a weekend in the Brecon Beacons without trekking to the top of the famous Pen y Fan for 360-degree views of the lush green landscape. Whichever route you choose (they vary in difficulty/length/gradient), you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment once you heave yourself up onto the summit of the beacon, briefly glimpsing the view before collapsing to the ground!
Not being the greatest walker in the world, I told my boyfriend I wanted to do the easiest route up, so we drove to the Storey Arms car park and began our ascent via Corn Du, only for me to discover half way up that it wasn’t in fact the easiest route and I’d been deceived by my more adventurous other half…
The trek took us around an hour to complete, bearing in mind I’m not the fastest walker, so it actually wasn’t too bad at all. It started steeply, briefly dropping down before the main uphill section of the climb began. The main section of this route was good because, although initially daunting, the end point was always in sight, meaning you could easily track your progress and stay motivated.
We did the climb in early September and were very lucky with the sunny weather, but it did mean we got warm walking and needed plenty of water so make sure you take a few bottles! Although the sun was out and our inner body temperature was high, the air temperature did significantly drop as our altitude increased and I would have benefitted from a hat as my ears got very cold! I’d definitely advise wearing walking boots too. We also took a picnic to eat at the top which was a great idea as it enabled us to have a well-deserved rest whilst making the most of the idyllic Welsh views.
Based on my experience, I’d definitely recommend this walk to both frequent walkers and those who fancy a challenge. We saw families and some elderly people on the way down (we did take the easiest route down), which shows how accessible the ‘easy’ route is. Try to do the walk in moderate weather conditions so that you don’t get too hot, cold or wet and you have clear, sun-bathed views at the top. I’m super glad I did it – no regrets!
By Justine Schlossmacher
Davos, located in the Graubünden region of Switzerland, is famous for many reasons—it’s the highest city in Europe, sitting at an impressive 1560 metres above sea level, it’s the host of the annual World Economic Forum, and being surrounded by mountains means it’s an immensely popular skiing destination. But there are plenty of things to do in the summer as well, from bobsleighing to paragliding and of course, hiking!
A great beginner’s hike to do in Davos to get you adjusted to the altitude of most mountain hikes would be the Panoramaweg trail, also known as the Panorama Way trail in English. With most of the hike being a wide, gravel path, it is perfect for those looking to indulge in a mountain hike but lacking professional equipment or the experience to take on more difficult trails. True to its name, the single, winding path overlooks the town of Davos and its lake, providing a stunning view of the city not found on any other hiking trails in the region.
The Panoramaweg trail starts on the mountain of Parsenn at the Strelapass, which you can get to one of two ways. Either take a great warm-up hike up the mountain from its base, which takes between an hour to an hour and a half, or take the Parsennbahn funicular railway to the very top of the mountain. From there, just follow the yellow signs to the Strelapass, and then take the sign marked Panoramaweg. The hike will end at the summit of Gotschnargrat, where the Gotschnaboden cable car will connect you to the neighbouring village of Klosters. From there, it’s a short fifteen-minute train journey back to the heart of Davos.
You will not need much equipment for this ten kilometre hike other than the usual exercise clothing (though hiking shoes are preferred), water, a sandwich or some snacks, sunblock, money and a hat. It may be cold at first but as you hike you’ll definitely warm up, so don’t be too afraid about bringing a thinner jacket. With such a relaxing hike and a truly spectacular view, you’ll find yourself stopping every minute to snap a photo. You may even come across some of the locals sitting on the grassy areas and painting the scenery, walk across snow in the summer, or catch a glimpse of marmots, who burrow in the mountainside and brighten the hike with their sweet, sharp chirps!