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.
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.
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.