Over the last couple of years, I’ve run many of the routes in this book and really enjoyed them all. I find it so easy to get stuck running the same local routes, so this guide has been brilliant for inspiration to try something different. The routes range from 5km to 17.5km, spanning the width of the Brecon Beacons and venturing as far north as the Begwns, and there’s a good mix of mountain routes or gentler lower options.
The guide is straightforward to use, with clear instructions at the start. The size and weight of the book make it a really practical guide; I prefer to take guides out with me rather than rely on an inevitably blurry photograph, and this was small and light enough that I could shove it into my running bag without noticing it.
As well as a map overview, the contents page includes the length of each route. This is really helpful to make a quick route choice, although it would have been great to have the ascent included as well.
There’s a clear map for each route, plus beautiful photos which definitely help with motivation to get out of the house on rainy days. I found the layout clear and easy to use, and it includes an altitude profile for each route which makes it easy to quickly assess how suitable it is. It also includes the ascent, typical times, terrain, navigation rating, closest refreshment option (particularly appreciated!), and the start point identified by grid reference and postcode –– definitely a useful inclusion. The use of both navigation and technicality ratings makes this a practical guide for runners who feel less confident about heading off into the hills, or for days when visibility is bad.
Each route has a quick paragraph of background information including an interesting snip of historical context to the area. The descriptions are closely detailed and easy to follow, although the phrases in bold didn’t always seem to cover the key directions; this could have been made slightly clearer to allow for a quick glance down at the instructions without having to stop.
Overall, it’s an excellent guide with some fantastic and interesting routes. Brilliant for anyone needing some inspiration for new routes in the Beacons, or for when you haven’t quite got time to plan out a new route yourself.
(I was given a free copy by Vertebrate Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)
Predominantly climbing/outdoors literature, mountaineering history and nature writing.