Cambrian Way Phase 1

What with work commitments and leaving it late to make the final arrangements, the original intention to do the Cambrian Way in one 3 week (ish) adventure had to be reconsidered, and I planned a shorter trip to do as much of the southern section in a week to 10 days as I could. Here’s the story of the whole trip.

Kitting up
With only travel arrangements to make, I turned the remaining time over to gear choices. Determined really by two things only – my plans for accommodation and the weather forecast, it was relatively easy to work out what I wanted to take. Less easy to pack it…

My old workhorse the Lowe Alpine Khumbu 65:80
My old workhorse the Lowe Alpine Khumbu 65:80

It was just as well I delayed setting off for the walk by a day, caused by a final flurry of work issues, as it took most of yesterday to get it all together. …Continue reading->

Part 1 – Sunday 28 April to Wednesday 1 May
Setting off from Cardiff, a night in a quarry and a long hard slog to Abergavenny.

It took me 3 miles walking and over an hour to get to the start – because I wanted this to be a full coast to coast walk and so had to head down to Cardiff Bay. I then retraced my steps following the Taff Trail to Cardiff Castle which is the official start. …Continue reading->

Part 2: Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 May
Refreshed after a rest day, I headed for the Black Mountains, tested my tent in the wind, and temporarily misplaced my mojo.

Wildcamp #15 on Chwarel y Fan
Wildcamp #15 on Chwarel y Fan

A fine day dawned and it felt like a new start, my main concern being whether all of the supplies I’d bought would fit in my pack, and also whether I’d be able to carry it.…Continue reading->

Part 3: Monday 6 May and the end of the trip
Mutiny of the legs…

Looking to Pen y Fan from Waun Rydd
Looking to Pen y Fan from Waun Rydd

The best night’s sleep so far, and in a dorm to myself, following a half-rest day and a decent feed should have all meant that I would feel up to today’s walk. With today’s walk one of the toughest days for a while, I deliberately managed the preceding couple of days’ walks so as to leave me feeling as fresh as possible for today. But even a pair of clean fresh socks couldn’t work their magic. …Continue reading->


The unused gear
The unused gear

It will be clear from the last post that the trip didn’t go quite to plan, as I stopped short of my intended end point of Llandovery. But that’s not to say it was a failure, and I’m looking at it as simply having altered the plan further as I went. Nevertheless, there were some things that didn’t go as I’d have liked, and also some things that went well or better than I’d hoped. So here are the main debriefing points that occurred to me both during the trip and after. …Continue reading->


The Route

(Clicking the picture will take you to the zoomable map on Social Hiking)


Route Profile


Trip stats

Total Distance 112.85 miles (181.56 km)
Total Ascent 5,782 m (18,970 ft)
Total Descent 5388 m (17,677 ft)
Total Walking Time 53 hours 46 mins
Average Speed 2.10 mph (3.38 kph)
Flat-Equivalent Distance 151.40 miles (243.60 km)
Flat-Equivalent Speed 2.82 mph (4.53 kph)
New Trail 100s 1
New Marilyns 5
New Hewitts 6
New Nuttalls 10
New HuMPs 3 (+5 included as Marilyns)
New Deweys 3

Hills Bagged

This walk isn’t explicitly about bagging summits, but by sticking to high ground wherever possible, it’s inevitable that a goodly bag will be accumulated. So here’s what I accumulated along the way. The only significant tops not visited on this walk that I could have done were Cefn Yr Ystrad at SO088136 (Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall) and Tor y Foel at SO114194 (Marilyn). Both of these were bypassed on the Sunday walk to Talybont in favour of a short day and some rest, but if I’d been feeling more energetic could both easily have been done with time to spare. Still, this gives me an excuse to revisit.

The number in brackets after each hill shows the count of done hills in that category, “R” denotes a repeat visit to a fell already bagged previously. For Nuttalls, the first number is the count of all bagged, the second is the Welsh count.

Trail 100s: Sugar Loaf (45), Pen y Fan (R)

Marilyns: Mynydd Machen (66), Mynydd Twyn-glas (67), Sugar Loaf (68), Waun Fach (69), Waun Rydd (70), Pen y Fan (R)

Hewitts: Chwarel y Fan (R), Twmpa (R), Waun Fach (157), Pen y Gadair Fawr (158), Mynydd Llysiau (159), Pen Allt-mawr (160), Pen Cerrig-calch (161), Waun Rydd (162), Fan y Big (R), Pen y Fan (R)

Nuttalls: Chwarel y Fan (R), Twmpa (R), Rhos Dirion (R), Waun Fach (219, 52), Pen y Gadair Fawr (220, 53), Mynydd Llysiau (221, 54), Pen Twyn Glas (222, 55), Pen Allt-mawr (223, 56), Pen Cerrig-calch (224, 57), Allt Lwyd (225, 58), Waun Rydd (226, 59), Bwlch y Ddwyallt (227, 60), Fan y Big (R), Pen y Fan (R), Corn Du (R), Y Gyrn (228, 61). Also bagged Craig Cwareli, a deleted Nuttall (just in case it ever gets reinstated!)

Others not listed above: Blorenge (HuMP, Dewey), Mynydd Llangynidr (HuMP, Dewey). Pen Allt-mawr (shown under Hewitts and Nuttalls) is the other HuMP.

2 thoughts on “Cambrian Way Phase 1

  1. I greatly enjoyed following your progress on SH and the blog. Thank you. It shows that you are totally up to completing the CW. I learnt much from your planning postings – they showed up my 2week version of the CW in 2011 for the shambles it was. I went from Port Eynon to Conwy carrying all my main meals (dehydrated). It had not occurred to me until you suggested it above that 2weeks might also be too long. I was definitely bored with my own company by then.
    I’d like to email my journal to you in case it is of use. Email me If you feel it might be. Hope the legs are back on line rgds Freddy


    1. Thanks for the comments Freddy. I’ve sent you an email. I’ve been hillwalking for a few years now and it still surprises me when I learn new things from a trip. In this case it was the realisation that much as I love hillwalking and long distance walking, it’s best done (for me) in blocks small enough for the novelty to not wear off but long enough to feel like a proper break and recharge of the batteries. 1 to 2 weeks is about right. Clearly this has implications for any future long distance walks I might want to do – particularly if I want to do something epic like LEJOG which is on my wishlist.


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