Looking for a one night stay between home and Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire, my Airbnb scrolling took me from Hay-on-Wye to a little village called Michaelchurch Escley. Nope, I’d never heard of it either. But the Airbnb description of a “Luxury Space with Breathtaking Mountain Views” was enough to convince me. And so we discovered The Little Tump, an annexe over The Tump, the lovely home of Elaine and Michael.
Fancy an Airbnb stay? If you’re a first time booker, you can get money off your first trip here!
It’s a challenging drive from our lunchtime stop at Hay-on-Wye to Michaelchurch Escley. Our GPS has a preference for single track roads, for claustrophobic hedgerow and for regular stops for shepherding tasks. So it’s with relief that we pull into the driveway of The Tump.
We’re greeted by our hosts, and Elaine shows us the self-contained entrance to the annexe. We have access to a private garden, overlooking the Black Mountains. Well, private except for the sheep. Who turn out to be charming neighbours. If a little vocal in the morning.
As usual, we’ve packed the contents of our fridge and larder, but Elaine has kindly left us a welcome package. There’s milk and two bottles of water in the fridge. There are fresh eggs, a loaf, butter and biscuits. And – should the weather be kind to us – marshmallows for toasting on the chimenea.
The annexe is beautifully fitted out, with wonderful little touches. A fully equipped kitchenette has all the gadgets you need, and the kingsize bed is super comfy. But my favourite spot is on the peacock green sofa, with a cuppa, staring out the velux window to the mountains across the way.
After a late lunch in Hay we’re not after food but a drink or two would be nice. So on the recommendation of Elaine, we headed down the hill to The Bridge Inn. The sky looks a bit threatening so I pack an umbrella and shrug on a jacket just in case. Mr Fletche decides to brave shirt sleeves. This turns out to be a bad decision.
We reach The Bridge about 20 minutes later. The walk downhill means it’s going to be an uphill slog back. A couple of drinks will make this more bearable. It’s table service so we grab an outside table and I order the locally made Hillbilly Gin. I’m nursing a hangover but I figure hair of the dog may help.
The clouds are looking more and more ominous and the sky is turning purple. There’s a long low rumble of thunder. As we huddle under the parasol we’re not sure if the pitter patter sound we’re hearing is the babbling brook or torrential rain. Turns out it’s definitely the latter. We’re the only ones in the garden still braving the elements.
Our server checks on availability of inside (dry) tables but there’s nothing vacant. Instead she points us in the direction of the marquee. Designed for al fresco dining, but providing protection from the unpredictable UK summer weather, we settle in with another round. There are sunflowers and fairy lights. There is gin. And there is a spectacular thunderstorm.
As much as we would like to stay here drinking Hillbilly Gin we have plans to walk up Pen y Fan tomorrow so it’s best to keep a clear(ish) head. There’s no let up in the downpour. It’s a mile walk uphill with an ineffective umbrella. But at least I have a jacket. Mr Fletche’s decision to brave shirt sleeves now definitely seems ill considered. So ill considered that I have to peel him out of his soaking clothes and bundle him into a hot shower as soon as we return to The Little Tump.
We’re sad to check out the next morning, particularly as there are finally blue skies and fluffy clouds in the sky, and the sheep are warming up their vocals with a morning chorus. I eat breakfast overlooking the fields and mountains. I wonder if marshmallows for breakfast may be a little decadent.
There are so many walks to do around the area that we’re working out when we can return. We know The Bridge does good grub, and good gin. (I may have purchased a bottle from Black Mountain Botanicals on my return…) And the Little Tump is a beautiful space just to unwind and relax in.
Just over the border from the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains, and a short drive away from bookworms’ favourite Hay-on-Wye, The Little Tump was a 2 hour drive from home. There’s so much to see and do in Wye Valley, and its an area just ripe for exploring. And of course the Brecon Beacons offers mountains, lakes, waterfalls and beautiful scenery in abundance. We look forward to a return visit soon.