49th Across Wales Walk
1 September 2012
Beautifully bright dawn led to favourable conditions for most of the day but with a persistent SW wind throughout. Mist on Plynlimon obscured the view for half those achieving its summit.
This page provides reports and timing information for the 49th Across Wales Walk.
2012 Photo Gallery:
At the start
Mike and Matt approach CP2
Clive and Richard at CP2
Checkers get younger every year!
Ian Davis shares his tales with Clive Lungmuss and Peter Stevenson
Rob Young at CP2
Tony and Angela Walton at CP2
Dick and Bob on the dam at Nant-y-Moch
Plynlimon in cloud from Nant-y-Moch
Bob Attwood on 'The Scree Path'
Joint first men home: Dennis Jolly and Mark Lewis
Chris Pritchett completes an amazing sub-23hr double crossing
Presentation ceremony: ready for the off!
Stuart Lamb opens the presentation ceremony
Doubler Vicki Burkitt receives her certificate from Stuart Lamb
Thanks to the following for allowing their photographs to be reproduced on this website:
To view a table of entrants and times in Excel format Left click here. To Save the file, right click here and follow the instructions.
Unlike other years we have not been able
to verify each time on this file against our checking sheets as these went
missing somewhere between Aberystwyth and home.
If there are any gross errors please let me know - Stuart.
After the usual night spent in the Memorial Hall, Clun, followed by breakfast, coaches delivered the entrants to the start at Anchor on the Welsh border. Unlike many recent years, conditions for the start, though not particularly clear, were thankfully dry and not too cold. As usual the ‘double crossers’ were waiting, having made unsupported crossings through the night to the start.
So after final checks, 122 entrants set off westwards at exactly 05:00 into wonderful mid-Wales on paths virtually unwalked, but for this one day of the year. The dawn was spectacular and we were blessed with bright sunshine by the time CP2 was reached. However a robust south-westerly wind was beginning to make its presence felt, and it continued to do so for the rest of the day. Despite the relatively favourable weather, conditions underfoot along the early stages were decidedly soft, wet and heavy with the climb from the infamous Mochdre Brook made particularly sticky by both the generally wet summer and heavy rain in the preceding week.
By the time CP3 in the Hafren Forest was reached, the cloud was beginning to descend upon the summit of “The Big P”: despite Kathy’s best poetic efforts (see Strider December 2011) Plynlimon was on better, but not ideal, behaviour, and just half of those who made the summit actually got a view. The rigours of the crossing of the Cambrian Mountains resulted in 6 retirements at CP4, Nant-y-Moch dam to add to the two at CP3. The remaining walkers pressed on to CP5 at Bontgoch where one final retirement took place. Conditions remained generally fine except for the last few entrants who had to negotiate the last mind-numbing seven miles to the finish Clarach Bay in the dark and with moderate precipitation being driven by the ever-present wind.
Joint first home were Mark Lewis and Dennis Jolly in a blistering 8 hours 38 minutes. Uncannily, Mark recorded exactly the same time in 2011! The last of the 113 entrants completing the challenge arrived at the finish just under nine hours later.
This year there were just four attempts at the ‘double crossing’ by Vicki Burkitt, Bill Lancashire, Janet Pitt-Lewis and Chris Pritchett, all of whom completed the course. Chris requires a special mention: having delayed his departure from Aberystwyth until 5pm on the preceding day, he was then fifth home on the return leg thus completing a sensational double crossing in just three minutes under 23 hours!
On the following Sunday entrants enjoyed the presentation ceremony at Aberystwyth University before returning by coach to Clun. Overall it was another successful event and thanks go to West Birmingham Hostelling Group and the welcome band of walkers-turned-checkers who once again made the event possible. Thanks also go to RAYNET who provided their usual superb communications between checkpoints.
A date for your diary: the fiftieth Across Wales Walk will take place on 7 September 2013. See www.acrosswaleswalk.co.uk for details of this event in early May. We also hope to stage other special events to celebrate reaching this momentous milestone so, again, keep your eye on the website or our Facebook page.
I've had plenty of
time now to reflect on the whole event and can truly say that I really enjoyed
the event. I know that must come as a surprise especially to Richard, Clive and
Stuart who had to endure my persistent complaining about not being able to
continue on the 'return leg' on Saturday. I do apologise to those of you but
believe me I did not feel good.
Friday morning greeted us with fine weather and I enjoyed waiting for 11 am on admirable Victorian seafront.
I was pleased to get the climb up the hill past the Uni. out of the way and even more pleased to get by Wan Fawr and leave the traffic behind. The long road walk through Capel Dewi and on to Banc y Darren I find particularly pleasant. The old mining area around Cwmerfyn is also interesting. Then the climb out of the valley and on via Llyn Pendarn and Llyn Syfidin to eventually catch a glimpse of the return route for Saturday. Although the walk around Nant-y-moch can seem laborious, on this first leg of the double-crossing at this point I am in anticipation of eventually meeting others doing the same thing and of course the very welcome site of Richard and Clive who I know will have a 'brew' ready.
Just before reaching the dam wall I could see the two cars parked at the pumping station and on nearing same I was passed by 'John' in the Land Rover. On meeting up with Clive I could just see Vicki and her supporter making their way up Pumlumon. After a late lunch break it was time to strike on up the hill meeting Richard on his way down having joined Janet earlier for the walk up.
Views were still good as I bounded along the 'ridge' of the Pumlumon range, Just as I turned off downhill towards Hafren light rain started so waterproofs on. I don't remember what time it was when I arrived at Hafren but it was good to meet up with Vicki and her party for the first time and after another 'brew' I joined them for the walk into Llanidloes.
The Evan's fish 'n' chips were as good as ever after which the three of us made our way in darkness over the wind-farm. The night was breezy, misty but pleasantly warm. As we neared the end on the Kerry Ridgeway I noticed a head-torch approaching from behind which turned out to be Chris who had set off at around 5 pm and was running.
I think arrival time at Anchor bridge was about 3.30 am. Time for a quick lie down on the verge in a bag and await the welcome sight of Clive arriving just after 4 am with hot drinks and sandwiches. This was soon followed by the stream of head-torches of the main event after the coaches arrived.
It was about at this point that things seemed to start going wrong for me. I suddenly become very tired and after the start soon found myself 4th from the end of the 'pack'. Even crossing the Ridgeway felt hard work and the thought at that point of a further 40 miles seemed ridiculous.
I pushed hard to get to CP1 and if it wasn't for the encouragement of Richard & Clive I would have taken the easy option. CP2 was an all time low for me. I took the decision then to take the road route to Hafren via Llanidloes. The road seems twice as long as it did the day before. I honestly went through the process on the road of convincing myself that not only should I never do another double-crossing but that perhaps I was no longer able to do any LD events. I had made my mind up to retire at CP3 on the ground that I would never make the closing time for CP4.
On reaching CP3 I retrieved my 'stash' of food and managed to eat for the first time. Having been encourage to try 'one more CP' I ventured onto the climb. I found it satisfying that I could keep making steady progress upwards and by the time I reached 'the fence' the prospect of 'finishing' actually started to seem a possibility. I then started to really enjoy the rest of the event. CP4 was a welcome site. I enjoyed navigating the scree and admiring the lovely valley beside. I realised that I was actually going past people so things must be good. I was certainly smiling again at CP5 and the final stretch including even Bow street was a delight to walk after the 'pain' of earlier in the day.
It was great to get to Clarach and be warmly greeted there.
In summary, it was a hard one for me this year and I need to reflect on why. Those thoughts of 'never again' had actually gone before I reached the 'Finish' so next year I will be back again. Well it is the 50th year isn't it?.
Thanks to Vicki for letting me team up with her for the night stretch, to Richard & Clive for there continual support and encouragement and of course to Stuart & Family for making it all happen.
Many thanks once again to you, your family and other fellow organisers for the well organised and run event this past weekend. I certainly had a great time and look forward to seeing you all again next year.
Hello Stuart, Richard, Clive & Bill,
I just wanted to drop you all an email to say a BIG thank you ! Once again Stuart the organisation was fantastic. The help Richard & Clive gave me in planning my double crossing was invaluable, not forgetting the cups of tea and support throughout the whole event. Finally thanks to Bill for your advice & navigation through the night section. I really appreciate the help you all gave me. Last year after completing my 3rd single crossing I decided I wanted to double it. I enjoyed the whole experience, the weather was also great. The Across Wales Walk is up there amongst my best mountain/alpine adventures. It is just such a great event!
Hi Stuart many thanks to you all for a great weekend, the effort that you all put in is really appreciated. Having a dry and sometimes sunny day just made it even better, the only time I got wet was when I opened my coke bottle at CP5 and it exploded and apologies for the mushroom soup spillage at the same time CP, it did not look very nice on the barn floor.
Mark Van Schalkwyk
Firstly thanks for all the hard work and car you put into this event. Since being made redundant a couple of years ago event organisation is now my full time job so I do understand what is involved. Yours is the first race in over 2 years where the organisation was at least as good as we provide, and there were certainly some aspects which you do differently that are worthy of consideration.
Secondly what a great spirit and what great support from your crew. Fantastic group of helpers who were amazingly positive throughout the day. Exactly the right mix of efficiency and personality. Please pass on my thanks.
What a fab event! Thanks Stuart and all your team of helpers for organising such a great event. I was a bit apprehensive as my legs had never ran/walked this far before and with not knowing the route was unsure what time I'd do. However, I was adopted by the 'smurfs' in the early stages of the walk and managed to stay with them to the end. A big thanks guys for showing me the way and helping me complete in 11 hours 29 mins. Really enjoyed it. In the words of Arnie 'I'll be back!' Next year, I'll get my entry in alot sooner! I was 15th on the reserve list and didn't really expect to get in so it was a nice surprise to receive an email from Stuart a few weeks ago offering me a place.
Firstly let me thank you again for a superb event.
This year the Smerfs intended to complete the AWW as a group with an estimated time of around 10.5 hours.
We encountered a problem around 3 miles in when Steve Hooper fell on the kerry ridgeway and sprained his ankle. The correct thing to do would be to walk on to check point 1 and retire. The more insane option would be to attempt to complete the remaining 42 miles with a bad ankle but that is what he did!. I have attached a photo for the website of the result of such a decision just in case anyone thought across wales runners had any sense
Thanks again for a superb weekend
Again a big thank you Judith, yourself and all the people that make the Across Wales Walk a brilliant weekend.
Many thanks to you and Judith + helpers for a great weekend. Really enjoyed it despite not finishing. Pleased to get over Plynlimon. Just don’t move so fast these days. Just to confirm that I’m happy to help next year.
Dear Stuart and Judith
Thank you for another memorable AWW. Yet another triumph of organisation, logistics, dedication and enthusiasm from all the helpers and entrants. I think you may have to have counsellors on hand for those failing to get an entry next year.
Mark and Leo Lewis
Just a quick mail to say thank you to you and Judith for another great weekend. It must be such a relief when the coaches pull out of the University car park. I look forward to seeing every one again next year.
All the best
Thanks for a great weekend. I'm looking forward to next year already. If you need any help with anything for next years walk give me a call, if you are doing a marshals walk and need my services, an early note of a date would be appreciative as I will be looking to book a few dates for holidays towards the end of the year I have attached some photos of the walk. I've got a few more that I will attach to another email
Once again thanks
Great weekend and great weather for Across Wales last week. Thanks Stuart and all the checkers who supported our crossing. Thanks for the photos posted on this page. See you next year!
Thanks to all for a great 49th X Wales - to Stuart & the married lady he lives with for making it happen, to the team of supporters who made it possible & to all who took part.
Stuart - First time doing the event and really enjoyed the walk and the friendly atmosphere of the day the evening and next day. Hope to be back next year if I can get my entry in early enough.
Another fantastic year of AWW. Thanks so much to Stuart and everybody else involved for all your hard work and for making it happen. Looking forward to No. 50 already
Thanks to you all for your appreciative comments, Stuart.
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