Brecon Beacons National Park - a safe haven to many

As we invite you to share your story of National Parks as part of our Big Give appeal, one of our National Parks: New Perspectives bursary holders Tony Karoly tells us more about her love of Brecon Beacons National Park... 

 

It was a grey, cloudy day when I was sitting near the front of a minibus, being driven to the Llangattock escarpment to go caving for the first time in my life. It was a school trip, and I only signed up to conquer my fear of small spaces. I didn’t think much of it, because I didn’t really know what to imagine under the term ‘caving’.

To me, caves were nothing but small, dark bubbles of space in rock; why anyone would want to go explore that was beyond me. Little did I know that in just a couple of hours, I would not only understand why people ventured underground; I would also start becoming one of those people. It was on that trip that I discovered the magic of stillness and tranquillity that can only be experienced in the great outdoors, and everything changed after that.

In the middle of our trip, we decided to turn our torches off, and we all sat in the middle of this cave, Eglwys Faen, in complete darkness. It is odd to think that so much comfort could come from hearing nothing but silence and seeing nothing but pitch black, but for those few minutes, all of the background noises of everyday life faded away. My worries about what was happening on Instagram and on the news were replaced with feeling content, and feeling more present than I usually felt. It was that magical feeling that brought me back, time and time again.

I have explored more of the Brecon Beacons National Park - the focus of my National Parks: New Perspective bursary - both above and below ground, and I fell in love with it slowly but surely. I went from thinking that I was claustrophobic to being the one that always wants to explore the smallest cave passages. From a shy teenager I grew into someone with a confident voice, which I am now able to use to talk about what I love. I owe much of my own growth to the adventures I have had in the Brecon Beacons National Park, and it is hard to imagine where I would be if I hadn’t taken the chance to explore Eglwys Faen that one cloudy day.

From the hills to the waterfalls, from the rivers to the caves, from the ferns to the mosses, every single part of the Brecon Beacons is unique and exists to form a whole that provides a safe haven to many. To me, the Brecon Beacons have become a home. As time goes on, my appreciation for this special part of Britain only grows, and as I continue my adventures, I keep discovering new things to fall in love with; and there is nothing that would bring me more joy.