Glyndwr’s Way Intro 2-day backpack

The last ever Lasercomp pitchAn experimental trek to test my capabilities for moderate long distance backpacking using the intro section of the Glyndwr’s Way (GW) national trail.

I’ve backpacked a few of the trails as “fast-and-light” trips, but they were easy and, apart from my Hadrian's Wall trek, they were quite a long time ago: I wanted to test how I would fare now on a moderate trail maintaining the same pace, or reasonably close to it, and carrying about the same loads. To complicate matters there were impending rail strikes that would determine when decisions had to be made. The GW intro from Knighton was a good test candidate, often rising and falling as it weaves its way through the hilly landscape in the heart of Wales.

Making heavy work of the ascents, the result was apparent quite quickly: no way could I sustain this pace on this grade of route with this weight. I just managed the first planned pitch ok, but it was later than expected and my legs really knew about it. The worryingly tiring ascents were sapping the enjoyment from the walk. The next morning was the last day before the rail disruption and I had my definitive answer, I made the decision to abort and caught the bus at Llanbadarn Fynydd to Newtown.

That morning another final decision was made: after a particularly frustrating battle with the pitch, that much loved hated Laser Competition tent was destined for the bin when I landed home. Our long abusive relationship ends – now. Next time stealth is required it will be my Exogen despite the higher weight.

GW is well waymarked here and mainly follows farm tracks, field paths and narrow lanes on this section. This is a trek of broad general views over rolling hills and I took only a few photos. Despite being a national trail, I didn’t see another person for the entire walk, even on the lovely Garth Hill woodland paths on the outskirts of Knighton.

Full report & photos

Mynydd Mynyllod & North East Arenigs 2-day backpack

Pitch at Moel Cae'r-ceiliogA two day trek taking in the high country north of the upper Dee and a new crossing route to a southerly approach to the north eastern Arenigs.

The outward section takes a new line to gain the old familiar ground of Mynydd Mynyllod. The crossing explores new territory including the little known Llyn Caer-Euni and ascends the easternmost hills of the Arenigs from the south, including the new summit of Orddu.

As is often the case, following little used public footpaths in god forsaken parts of Wales was at times… interesting. On routes such as this, I’m beginning to like GPS based phone mapping more and more if only for its accuracy in nailing down the precise line of the right-of-way and our current position. We made extensive use of it on this trip.

This was a curious weather stream, forecast to be generally dry and fine but with unpredictable cloud: the first day was mostly sunny but the second was completely misted out in the Arenigs – win some, lose some. The whole area was completely deserted save for a couple of local residents.

Full report & photos

The Delamere Way day walk

Blakemere MossA few photos from a single day walk of the Delamere Way (DW) waymarked trail that runs south from Frodsham, east through the Delamere Forest and northwards through Cheshire countryside to Stockton Heath on the southern outskirts of Warrington.

Inspired by a dry but mediocre forecast with sunshine at a premium, this trail near to home was a fitting choice, a good distance with little ascent save for a short sharp one to Beacon Hill near the start.

The route is generally well waymarked with the DW arrow except, surprisingly, in the Delamere Forest itself where you need to keep a careful eye on the map amid the numerous tracks and woodland paths.

Full report & photos