Monday, 28 September 2009

Elan Valley 3

The final day started off with a bit of a start for me; when I opened the inner of my tent, I found that the outer had been invaded with lots of spiders. Glad I wasn't in a tarp and bivvy.

After a quick brew and breakfast; I dealt with the spiders and then packed up. Today was going to be hard on the feet mainly because most of the walking would be on track and cycle paths.

We still had nearly 2 miles of the reservoir track to walk before hitting the road, that makes almost 6 miles off reservoir track.

Dam of the end of Claerwen reservoir

The road and cycle track were hard on the feet; and with hindsight and looking at the maps when back home there were a couple of alternatives we could of taken.

Bridge across Caban-coch reservoir

Overall this was a pretty good walk; the weather stayed good for the whole trip and we managed to find a quicker route home, living in the SE of the Country doesn't lend it self well for trip to Wales.

I have some thoughts on equipment and food from this trip but I'll leave them for another post.

In the mean time here is some video from the trip.

Elan Valley 2

I awoke about 6.00am on Friday and the hillside was covered in mist, so decided to have an extra hour in bad. By 7.00 am the mist had lifted but it was looking like it was going to be a cloudy grey day.

We broke camp around 9.00am and headed West to pick up the Monks trod again at Pont ar Elan, this is part of the Elan Estate and also the area covered by the many reservoirs serving Birmingham and the Midlands.

Criag Goch Reservoir

The path climbs in a Westerly direction from the reservoir and eventually plateaus out, it was quite boggy in parts and the path seemed to run off in different directions, there were the occasionally signposts but at time these were 10 to 20 yards away from the path we would be on.

Although it wasn't hot; it was hard and thirsty work, and this did cause a problem. Although boggy there wasn't a good supply of water up on the top. At the Llyn Cerrigllwydion lakes, it looked possible to get down to them from the path but once closer, it was a steep climb down and the way back out didn't look to inviting.

We pushed on and finally found water, in a small crack in the ground with water running off the hillside.

We continued on down to the Afron Claerwen; where we across the river and stopped to have lunch, at this point I realised I'd lost my mapcase, I'm not sure if it was as I was manly striding down the hill or more likely when I bent down in the river to collect water, either way it was pretty stupid and dangerous not to keep my mapcase somewhere safer. Lucky we both had maps; so had to continued on Keith's.

We now had a decision to make; do we continued West and make for the Llyn Teifi lakes or stay on the original route. The route across to Llyn Teifi on the map looked O.K.but on the ground it looked very sketchy and boggy, so we went with the original plan.

We re-crossed the river and picked up a sheep track going up and around the back of Claerwen Farm; this brought us out on to the reservoir track, which we had the joy of walking on for the next 4 miles.

Start of the Claerwen reservoir and track

So far on this trip we haven't see any walkers, we did meet a couple driving at Pont ar Elan but that was all, until the track we finally met a group of D.o.E.

We had a rough idea on where to pitch or the night; we found an alternative site but did have to carry 3 litres of water up to it.

Two things on this trip I've never seen so much of is sheep and sheep s**t!

Elan Valley 1

This trip didn't get off to the best of starts with a 2 hour journey to get from SE London to West London and then 5 hours to get into Wales.

We hadn't check to road route in and the route we took was the most straightforward but unfortunately it was also the longest.

We finally arrived in Rhayader at about 4.30pm; which turned our gentle afternoon stroll into a bit of a race to get to the area we were looking to pitch at that night.

Leaving Rhayader we headed NW to pick up the Ancient track that goes across Penrhiw-wen; this track forms part of the Monks Trod which runs from Strata Florida Abbey to Abbey Cwm-hir about half way up the slopes of Penrhiw-wen we headed North to cut across the Nant y sarn river.

We were hoping to camp near to the river but the slopes on either side were fairly steep and very boggy. After getting water we had a scout about and it seems the best place to pitch was next to the ruin.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Wales Day Three

This is the intended route for today.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Wales Day Two

This is the intended route for today.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Wales Day One

This is the intended route for today; a gentle afternoon stroll.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Well I'm finally packed. Tomorrow I'm off to Wales; the Elan Valley for a few days backpacking.

Pack is a nice comfortable weight of 10kg including 4 days worth of food; hopefully the new regime of walking to work for a few days each week will help on this trip.

The route is one from Geoff's extensive range of walks. Wales is a fairly new area for me, so its nice to be able to find and use a route like this.

I may live blog along the way, if there is a phone signal but be sure that there will be video of the trip (hopefully!) when I'm back.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Gear Head

There has been some talk on a few of the blogs about gear; and I was feeling left out, so I bought something.

I'm off to Wales on Thusday for a 4-5 day backpacking trip (more on that later) and needed to get some gas for the trip, so a shopping trip to Millets was called for.

Whilst in there; I noticed they had some TNF Hedgehog is stock at £80. For a while I have been looking and thinking about wearing trainers for backpacking, I already have a pair of New balance all-terrain trainers and have been looking at Inov-8's but have been put off trying them out.

With one eye on Scotland next year; I thought it about time to give the New balance ago, and Wales was to be the opportunity but the Hedgehog looked an even better shoe, so I bought them.

Good thing is I also got them cheaper than the £80, I only paid £54. Which is cheaper the the Inov-8's, they are a bit heavier than them, 497g per shoe but that is for a size 12!