Cambrian Way revisited

The Cambrian Way is in some ways a nemesis for me, being the only backpack I’ve started but didn’t complete. Back in the summer of 2009 I got only as far as Crickhowell before having to beat a retreat home with badly injured feet. On that occasion my downfall was a typical greyhound start. Wales has a way of unpicking such cocky enthusiasm.

Starting this weekend I’m going to have another crack at it, and this time bravado will be left squarely at home with the cats.

It was all over so quickly, I only ever took one photo.

It was all over so quickly, I only ever took one photo.

In 2009 I reached the 110km point near Crickhowell after 3 days, a distance I’d planned to take 5 days over.

  • Day 1 out of Cardiff was blisteringly hot
  • Day 2 as far as Sugar Loaf brought torrential rain
  • Day 3 was (let’s face it) stupid mileage through the Black Mountains.

Hot feet…..wet feet….pounded feet…..is it any wonder that by the morning of Day 4 my feet were bleeding and I couldn’t suppress the pain trying to put my boots on. I got the train home and assigned the Cambrian Way to the ‘maybe some other time’ file.

So what will I be doing differently this time? Well to be frank not a lot…..I’ll just be a bit more sensible.  I only have 16 days available, so daily mileage will still need to average 18 miles (29 km), and the daily ascent is quite high with very few days giving any let up.

Cambrian Way overview profile

As there’s no official route, total mileage depend how much you stick to the high ground. But I’ll bank on it being a total of about 291 miles (468km), and approximately 78,000 feet (23,800 metres) of ascent by the time I’m finished.

What I will be doing this time is carrying my Spot Gen3 and linking this to Social Hiking. So if anybody does feel like following my progress, here’s the link -> http://bit.ly/1WIcVpm

I’ve also spent a couple of weekends backpacking in mid-Wales this spring, hiding a couple of caches of food and fuel to pick up as I pass by (alcohol included).

My Wife has been at pains to point out that I’ve aged since 2009, and now at that watershed of 50 years old I must surely have peaked. If I beat a retreat after only 100km last time……she’s expecting me back after the first weekend this time around!  And If she’s right, then there’s some caches of beer out in the hills of Wales somewhere which will be surplus to requirements. If you trip over one after the end of June, you’re welcome to crack open a tinny of ale. Bottoms up.

11 thoughts on “Cambrian Way revisited

  1. Good stuff. I have a similar history with the Cambrian Way ( surrendered at Storey Arms first time after 8 days, bailed at Llandovery 2nd time), and am also heading out to give it another crack soon. I’ve accepted I can’t realistically do it in one go so will be section hiking the rest and with a recovering ankle injury will be taking it real easy. Part of me is wishing you give up again so I can nab your caches!! Hope you left something nice for me in the Doethie valley!! Joking aside, hope you have a good one and some better success this time.

    • I’ll make a note on my map and if I have a spare beer I may leave one for you. Depends on my level of thirst. Taking it ‘real easy’ sounds really appealing, I’ve spent this year doing weekend backpacks around mid-Wales and it cries out to be explored more fully……at leisure.

  2. Fantastic plan. I am 50 next month. I did come home early on the Challenge. But to be honest I was flying until injury (30K 2000mt plus days no trouble)- not age. Go have a blast.

    • Thanks, I’m really looking forward to it. I tend to be my own worst enemy, pushing on further just because I’ve reached a days planned overnight spot earlier than expected. I need to learn to slow down.

  3. It’ll be tough but if anybody can do it… you know the rest. As you know I have so much confidence in you that I have already bought the celebratory bottle of single malt so it’s ready for you when we next meet up.

    Two things.1. Enjoy 2. Stay safe. You’ll get the malt whatever 🙂

    • Many thanks David, what more incentive could somebody need ? You have far more faith in my fitness than my wife. She has stocked up the fridge expecting me back within 3 days.

    • Oh I rarely learn my lessons unfortunately, I still think I’m that invincible teenager that can walk any distance with a ridiculously large pack.

    • 3M tape at the ready….reels of it. You’re making really good progress with your coastal epic Ruth, I don’t know where you find the time and energy?

  4. You lot are all soo YOUNG!
    I look forward to reading about your trip,or you can tell me all about it next time we bump into one another in Altrincham.
    🙂
    Good luck, I’m only mildy very jealous!

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