Quality Thinking Time In The Great Outdoors

Members of Mensa are known for their high IQs and brilliant problem-solving skills but sometimes even Mensa minds need a boost to stimulate creative or critical thinking.

One of the best ways to create a clear mind is through walking. The benefits of this type of exercise for physical and mental wellbeing are significant. As a freelance writer, if I hit a problem with the plot construction or I have to write an article on a subject I know very little about, time spent walking in the fresh air will inevitably solve the conundrums.

As Mensa members in Wales, we are extremely fortunate to have some of the best countryside in the UK right on our doorstep. With three National Parks and 870 miles of the Wales Coast Path, it is the perfect place to put on the walking boots and venture into the great outdoors.

The Brecon Beacons National Park has recently been recognised as the ‘Best Destination in Wales’ at the ‘National Tourism Awards’. With everything from Southern Britain’s highest peak (Pen y Fan) to waterfalls, caves and a canal, the variety in the landscape and the diversity of the nature means there is always something new to see.

A quick search on the internet will reveal hundreds of routes for walks from all over the National Park ranging from gentle to strenuous so it is easy to find something to suit your level. There is an area of approximately 520 square miles to explore. For more challenging walks, you need to ensure that you are well-equipped with a map, compass and other essential kit to keep you safe and protected from anything the elements can conjure up. The weather can change quickly so it is wise to be prepared.

Within the National Park, there are echoes of history and the industrial past. An area of the UNESCO Blaenavon World Heritage Site is located within the National Park boundary. There is also the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal which was constructed to transport the coal, charcoal and iron ore that made South Wales an industrial world leader. The towpaths are perfect for a leisurely stroll. This is one of the most scenic canals in the country and includes the locks at Llangynidr where it is possible to stand and marvel at the ingenuity of the two-hundred-year-old technology. Even in the 21st Century, it has never been surpassed by anything more modern.

The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Just on the edge of the Eastern side of the Brecon Beacons is the area known as The Black Mountains. It forms a border with England and includes parts of the counties of Powys and Monmouthshire. On a map, it is said to resemble a human hand with the fingers representing the ridges and the undulating shape of the terrain.

So, with the weather starting to break and the arrival of spring, I will be venturing out in pursuit of more quality thinking and problem-solving time. Will any other Mensa members be doing the same?

The view of the Black Mountains from the summit of the Blorenge.

This article first appeared in ‘Bwrdd’ – The Newsletter for Mensa Cymru, May 2018.