De Cymru: A Nostalgic Dream

Discourse by, Oju Lale

Photographed and Edited by, Oju Lale

For the most part, I’d like to consider myself a “city boy”. The places I’ve been, my education and my travels have all been in one city or another, never far from civilization. For as far back as my memory would take me, I’ve always loved staying in my comfort zone, as far away as possible from anything I find physically challenging… who doesn’t enjoy that extra comfort? Its comforting to stick to what we’re used to cos it feels safe and most (myself inclusive) wouldn’t trade the sense of control we feel in the space we now call ours for the unknown…but was all this about to change.

Lately, I’ve been feeling so strongly the awakening of my adventurous spirit…I was starting to feel somewhat trapped in my own space and needed to get out to the “unknown”. My mind was made up and I was going to explore and discover places I’d never been...maybe that would help me get out of my shell and feel more alive. I sort of had a clear vision in my head on how I wanted to feel in my exploring…almost like I’d lived it before… Sound weird I know

I planned and took a series of trips (Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow) and although these turned out fun in their own way, something was still missing. It became obvious that visiting cities had become mundane and just didn’t have what it took to excite me in the ways I’d envisioned…what I needed was a major chunk of a lot I thought I didn’t want… out of my comfort zone, something physically challenging, far away from “civilization” where the “wild things” are. So, after a bit of research, I found a great location in South Wales (Brecon Beacons National Park), hit up a couple of friends and we planned a road trip to South Wales.

I packed up my camera gear along with some supplies and we hit the road at 6am (in 2 cars) so we could get there with enough time to spare before sunset (since it was a 3-hour drive from Coventry to Brecon. It was such a beautiful drive with the charming scenery and landscapes as we got to South-Wales…it was everything I had imagined and more…well, interestingly, my friends drove out of sight and somehow it became a struggle to find each other. That was the first challenge lol. Well, we had to rely on google maps live locations to keep track of each other but right amidst of all that, we lost network signal because we had gotten to the point where there was no network coverage. Apparently, we all had the same destination dialled in but took very different routes. Getting to the destination car park, my other set of friends weren’t there and there was no chance of contacting them because there was no network coverage. We got in the car and started driving around in a helpless search and by some chance, we ran into each other. Made our way back to the car park and were set to commence a 5mile hike (3-4hours) down what they called “The Four Falls Trail”.

We walked the beautiful trail soaking in all the beautiful scenery and landscapes…these were far too beautiful to be put into words…it felt like being in a fictional world out of a story book…or a movie. The fast changing and unstable weather was even more fascinating as the weather kept switching from sunny to windy, cloudy, snowy, hail in very short periods of time. I surely had never seen anything like it. The muddy and rocky terrain made the hike challenging and the steep steps down to each waterfall, but the views were nothing but rewarding. Reading the signs on the trail was way too fascinating as the texts were written in welsh and although I didn’t stand a chance of nailing any pronunciation, it was intriguing!!! like nothing I’d ever seen. Each waterfall from Sgwd yr Eira to Sgwd y Pannwr, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn and Sgwd Clun-Gwyn was stunning and had its own character. The most physically challenging part was climbing back up after experiencing each waterfall. Well, I couldn’t make it down to experience the fourth waterfall because my legs were absolutely gone, and I had cramps in both legs like I’d never experienced before… It was crazy, it was challenging, it was beautiful just as I had imagined.

After hiking the Four Falls Trail, we took a detour to Cardiff where we had dinner and headed back to Coventry. Deep down even before embarking on the trip, I could in a good way predict how insane it was going to be and how nostalgic it would be to reflect on these moments when they become memories…it was almost like living those moments even before they happened and having things turn out even better than I imagined was a feeling second to none…that’s why I like to think of this as my nostalgic dream…to miss moments that were yet to happen. Grateful to be able to challenge myself physically like I’d never done before and experience priceless moments with great company…create memories that we’d carry within us for so many years to come. Although there was still a lot more to see that we didn’t, South Wales was amazing, and I can’t wait to be back… Until next time, it’s been a pleasure.

Thanks for reading…