50th Across Wales Walk

7 September 2013

The Across Wales Walk

50th Across Wales Walk in summary:

Generally good conditions for most of the day with a few showers and frequent good visibility from the summit of Plynlimon, but lashed with heavy rain in the latter stages.

  • 156 starters, 142 finishers.
  • 9 successful double crossings by Bill Lancashire, Vicki Burkitt, Steve Barnsley, Brian Layton, Janet Pitt-Lewis, Chris Seddon, Rob Young, Tony Walton and Chris Pritchett.
  • Fastest time 8 hours 27 minutes by John Parry.

This page provides reports and timing information for the 50th Across Wales Walk.

  1. Photographs of this year's event
  2. Entrants and completion times
  3. The 50th Across Wales Walk: an Organiser's perspective
  4. The 50th Across Wales Walk: Viv Millard's 'Ode to the 50th Across Wales Walk
  5. The 50th Across Wales Walk: entrants' feedback

2013 Photo Gallery:

Last bit of sorting-out at Clun before departure

Doublers ready for the off at Clarach.
L - R Aaron Scrivener, Tony & Angela Walton, Rob Young, Terry Ames and Chris Seddon

Doublers 'unofficial' support team at Nant-y-Moch
Clive Lungmuss, Richard Rosser and Peter Stevenson

Organiser of the first AWW in 1964, Roy Millard, at CP2

Tony and Angela Walton arrive at CP2

Busy times at CP2

John Atha's new tattoo. Thank goodness the artist could spell ABERYSTWYTH!

Entrants in the lovely Leri Valley before CP5

Roy Millard, Organiser of the first Across Wales Walk in 1964, receives his certificate for completing the fiftieth event.

Roy and Viv Millard, Organisers of the first Across Wales Walk in 1964, receive their special award.

Clive Lungmuss receive special 'Jumbo' badges after describing their exploits as the most prolific 'Doublers' of the Across Wales Walk

Stuart Lamb receives his certificate for completing the Marshall's Walk

Peter Stevenson delivers his vote of thanks

Sarah, Judith and Stuart Lamb receive a certificate of appreciation from Peter Stevenson

Thanks to the following for allowing their photographs to be reproduced on this website:

Viv Millard
Mark Lewis
Stuart Lamb
 

50th ACROSS WALES WALK: entrants and completion times

To view a table of entrants and times for the main event in Excel format Left click here. To Save the file, right click here and follow the instructions.

To view a table of entrants and times for the Marshall's Walk in Excel format Left click here. To Save the file, right click here and follow the instructions.

 

50th ACROSS WALES WALK: an Organiser's view by Stuart Lamb

A challenge walk event reaching its half-century, though not unique, is nevertheless something to be celebrated. So it was with this year’s ‘cross Wales’.

To mark this milestone, the Organisers attempted to provide the maximum opportunity for entrants and checkers, past and current, to take part in this anniversary event. Being a ‘linear’ route, expansion had to be increments of 50, this being the capacity of additional coaches used for the return transport. So on this basis the event was expanded from the usual 130 to 180 places. Once again these places were ‘snapped-up’ quickly by entrants: demand for this event continues to grow year after year.

So it was that after spending a night in Clun, then being transported to the start, 156 entrants set off from Anchor Bridge on the Welsh border at 05:10 to start the 45 mile route to the coast at Clarach Bay north of Aberystwyth. In the week leading-up to the event the weather forecast for the day had been typically horrendous with high winds and heavy rain predicted for the duration. However the reality was much more favourable as the darkness cleared to reveal a lovely bright morning; this fine weather persisted for the most of the day. Though there were a few showers, many got a rare view from the top of Plynlimon: something experienced all too infrequently in recent years. Nevertheless, as darkness descended, as so often happens, those completing towards the end of the day were treated to continuous heavy rain as a reminder of the more normal conditions with which our event is usually associated!

Of the 156 starters, the largest field ever assembled for this event, 142 completed the full distance within the allocated 18 hours. First home in a time of 8h 27m was John Parry, closely followed seven minutes later by Andy Robinson. There were twelve attempts at the double crossing, starting from the coast after 11 am, working their way to Anchor, then returning with the main event. Three ‘doublers’ completed their outward leg but then retired on their return leg. However nine hardy souls, Bill Lancashire, Vicki Burkitt, Steve Barnsley, Brian Layton, Janet Pitt-Lewis, Chris Seddon, Rob Young, Tony Walton and Chris Pritchett completed this classic test of endurance.

However this larger field for the fiftieth Across Wales Walk required Marshalls, many of whom also wanted to take part. Accordingly, on 22nd June we ran the first ever Across Wales Marshall's Walk. This event provided our loyal band of checkers with the opportunity to walk the route either in its entirety, or just sections of their choice if the full distance was beyond their means.

Eighteen entrants set-off at 04:40 am from Anchor in daylight, something to which we are unaccustomed in September. The typically horrendous weather forecast fortunately tempered to something much more agreeable with, again, views for most from the summit of ‘The Big P’. Nevertheless, the Marshalls faced a persistently strong headwind in their faces for the full duration.

Fifteen entrants completed the full distance. Further, four double crossings of the Marshall’s Walk were attempted, all of whom completed their outward leg, with just Martin Lawson completing the full distance.

The Marshall’s Walk had a sad postscript: long standing supporter of our event, Alan Wright, who elected to walk just over Plynlimon, passed away in the following week having suffered a heart attack. Alan’s enthusiasm for the Across Wales Walk knew no bounds: he was a real character and will be sorely missed.

As usual, after the main event and a night spent at Aberystwyth University, a presentation ceremony was held on the following morning. In addition to the usual issue of certificates and recounting of anecdotes from the two events, those present were entertained by recollections of certain aspects of the Across Wales Walk.

Firstly, Roy Millard, supported by his wife Viv, recounted how, as West Birmingham YHA Group Rambling Leader, he had devised the route of the first Across Wales Walk which took place in October 1964. Roy, who had also completed the fiftieth event on the preceding day, described how the event had changed over the years and expressed delight that his creation had developed into its current form. In recognition of Roy’s unique contribution to the Across Wales Walk, he and Viv were presented with a framed, specially-embroidered ‘Jumbo’ version of the anniversary event badge surrounded by a montage of images from the last fifty years.

Clive Lungmuss and Richard Rosser then described their years as the foremost ‘doublers’ of the Across Wales Walk since the inception of this variant of our event by Neville Tandy in 1984. Their ‘double act’ was particularly entertaining, recounting the hilarious incidents which befell these stalwarts of our event over the years.

Stuart Lamb then described his first crossing in 1982, contrasting this with his second crossing a mere thirty one years later on this year’s Marshall’s Walk. Stuart then described how he was persuaded to take-on organisation of the event in 1985, and how the event and route had changed over the decades.

Not only did 2013 mark the fiftieth Across Wales Walk, but also the twenty first occasion that Stuart and Judith Lamb have been responsible for its organisation. The ceremony concluded with a series of presentations made to the organisers which included a unique clock carved by Robert Bills (which, incidentally, had been carried ‘across Wales’ on the preceding day) and a rug woven by Susan Denham-Smith from a fleece provided by Mr James whose barn is used for checkpoint 5! Finally Peter Stevenson presented a certificate of appreciation on behalf of all those taking part, along with three ‘rambling’ roses for the garden.

 So ended a truly memorable Across Wales Walk.

Our thanks go to the fine, loyal band of checkers and former members of ‘West’ who support us year on year, and to RAYNET who once again handled our communications superbly for both events. Special mention also goes to Paul Courtney and the SMERFs who took on the management of the Marshall’s Walk.

The fifty first Across Wales Walk will take place on 6th September 2014 with bookings opening on 1st May.

  

Stuart Lamb

 

50th ACROSS WALES WALK: Viv Millard's 'Ode to the 50th Across Wales Walk

Despite the weathermen predicting Hell,

This Fiftieth Walk went very well!

Lambs to the slaughter it was going to be,

That meant everyone, not just those ‘three’

 

From five in the morning, to eleven at night

The route was walked with pleasure – not quite!

This route from Anchor to Cardigan Bay

Was going to take the whole of the day.

 

One hundred and fifty odd started this walk,

And not one single one of them intended to baulk

at the almighty challenge that lay ahead.

It would be a long time before they went to bed!

 

Checkers worked hard, giving liquids and snacks.

Encouragement, too, then a click on those tags.

Numbers were shouted and times written down

Then on they would trudge, with hardly a frown.

 

These forty-five miles seem like ninety-nine

Let’s hope that we make Clarach Bay in good time!

Up over Plynlimon, then down to the dam

Most were just walking, but some of them ran.

 

As darkness descended, so did the rain!

For many the end was a very wet pain!!

But, at last there it was – the sea was in sight

To finish this walk was such a delight!

 

This Fiftieth Walk was such a success,

That is because those ‘Lambs’ won’t settle for less!

The work and the stress that both have to take

So much to arrange, and those cakes to bake.

 

And yet Judith and Stuart do nothing but smile

Because they don’t have to walk, mile after mile!

But they do have to make things go with a swing

And to that end, their influences bring!

 

Next day the certificates were handed out

Very well earned, of that there’s no doubt.

With so much applause, hands were sorer than feet

But that pride of achievement was - oh so sweet!

 

Thanks, with a gift, were given to Roy

Who’s original walk has brought so much joy.

To the Lambs, our gratitude now surely goes,

With clock, rug and promise of a Rambling Rose

 

But, the Wooden Spoon, that goes to the M E T

Because they said we would get soaking wet!

Thank goodness they were so very wrong

That was what we’d hoped for all the day long.

 

So, Judith and Sarah and Stuart – WELL DONE

The Fiftieth Challenge – IT HAS BEEN WON!

 

50th ACROSS WALES WALK: Feedback from those who took part

Hi Stuart,

I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for organising a fantastic event. This was my first crossing and I look forward to next year (once my feet have healed).

Thanks again.

Richard Howells

Many thanks once again to family Lamb for another brilliant and iconic event.

-- Janet Pitt Lewis

Dear Stuart, Judith and Sarah

Thank you all once again for such a great weekend and a brilliantly-organised walk - an excellent 50th celebration. We were very pleased to have completed it, especially me as I retired on my last attempt 5 years ago. As you said this morning, the weather in many ways couldn't have been better (except for us mere mortals who finished in the evening!).

We have never done anything on such a scale as the AWW but having organised several different events we have an inkling of what you must have gone through over the last weeks and months and of the totally unpredictable headache of the weather and the need for contingency plans. We hope you are now able to have a week catching up on sleep!!

I/we would love to be involved one year, maybe checking or transport but as my father's birthday is on the 5th September (and he has just turned 94) I will wait till a year when his birthday doesn't fall on the AWW weekend!

Many many thanks once again. Hope you enjoy your grandparenting roles!

Very best wishes Anne and John

Hi Stuart , just a quick thank you to you , your family and all the helpers for such a lovely day , it is greatly appreciated , Regards Bob Gilks and all my family who also get pleasure , following , joining in for a few legs and also doing the walk in total another 5 people. PS with a grandchild of 22mths I can tell you it's great.

Bob Gilks

Dear Stuart,

This was my first Cross Wales Walk and I just wanted to thank you for a really wonderful experience. Despite all your guidance I had not perhaps trained quite as hard as you had recommended and so 17 hours was actually a good result for me! In a sense though, that is not important. It was taking part in an event with such a family atmosphere with, so much good humour and kindness in evidence. There was a very strong community feel to it and this mornings prize giving really underlined this. This makes the event stand out from others that I have done. Clearly that is down to the work that Judith and you do. Thank you very much for a beautifully organised and really rewarding walk.

With slightly aching limbs,

John Winchcombe

HI Stuart

I just wanted to add my personal thanks for organising such a fantastic event this weekend.

My first and I suspect not my last Wales crossing was a memorable experience. (the Double does sound so tempting )

As a fellow event organiser (Thanet Marathon, 10 miler cross country league etc) I have a very real understanding of what goes into arranging these events and yours was superbly well organised. Please pass on my thanks to your whole team of helpers who were outstanding all day.

Hope to see you again soon at the Across Wales walk.

Stuart

Just a very quick note.

Hope you are at home with your feet up relaxing after all the fantastic effort that went into the weekend. It was our second crossing and it was as good as the first last year. Think you need to give us a free entry, 2 crossings, 2 views of the sea and yet to get wet we must be lucky.

Once again thank you very much to you and your family and all the others that make the AWW such a great event.

Best Wishes

Peter & Judi.

Thank you for a well organised event. My body is now coming out of shock and getting back to normal!! Regards Heather Bobbins

Good Afternoon Stuart.

Just like to send you a quick email thanking you and your family for a well organised and supported walk. I recently joined the LDWA last year and have become a very keen walker and soon as i saw the Across Wales Walk advertised, I knew this was something I had to achieve. This was my first attempt at the Across Wales Walk and I have to say, it was the best / challenging walk I have experienced.

One regret I do have is not going all the way to the sea and touching the water .... something I will have to accomplish next year if my application is received in time that is.

I was wondering if you had any 50th Across Wales Badges left, if so, would it be possible to send me one in the post if I send a self addressed envelope and the 1.50 cash of course. I'm kicking myself that I didn't get one.

Craig Mills

Hello Stuart

I hope you have had time to recover from the weekend and perhaps slept properly for the first time in months. I just wanted to say thank you very much for organising such a fantastic event. This was my first Across Wales Walk and I loved every minute ( well perhaps not the heavy rain for the final 3 miles ). The route itself is a wonderful experience on its own but there is no doubt that the helpers/organisation and the friendliness of everyone from checkers to participants have provided a memory I shall retain for ever. I hope that I shall have the opportunity to take part again. Once again my thanks to both you and your family

Best Wishes

Kim Scott-Clark

Hi Stuart, Please accept my sincere thanks for a great weekend. This year was particularly special, for as well as being the 50th AWW, it was my 10th consecutive crossing and the first challenge walk I have been able to complete this year. Completion of the event has been my motivation to build up my fitness and stamina over the last few months. One of the highlights of the walk for me was the approach to the scree path which was resplendent with heather and gorse and lit by glorious sunlight. I took a couple of photos which I have attached. Thanks again, Rob (Richardson)

Stuart

Thanks again to you and your family for this year’s event. All went off like a well-oiled machine as we have come to expect.

It was my first (and last!) double and one I will never forget, thanks also to Richard, Clive and Peter whose encouragement on both crossings got me through it.

Feet are badly blistered and I’m hobbling around in a dazed but very contented state.

I had to rush off to get the train before Peter’s speech so if you see or speak to him please offer my apologies.

All the best and see you next year

Steve Barnsley

Hi Stuart

Thanks for another great event.

Chris (Pritchett)

Hi Stuart

Wanted to thank you, your family and all the helpers who made this 50th annual walk so special in so many ways.

For me it was an honour and a privilege to be sharing some of the anecdotes from past and present walkers who talked so passionately about the affection they have for the walk but also the organisers.

The walk and all that is associated with it will always last long in the memory but just as importantly will the be sentiment expressed by those in the room on Sunday morning.

Kind regards

Chris Poole

Stuart, Many thanks to you, your family, and all your volunteers for helping to make my first "Across Wales" a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience. Regards, Peter Little

Hi all, Just a quick email to say thank you once again for all your help and support, encouragement cups of tea & biscuits over my double attempt, as I did not get the chance to thank you all on Sunday before leaving.

It’s always a great pleasure to do the Across Wales walk. This year after the weather Bulletin on Thursday evening I was slightly worried about both the weather and the night at Anchor, but it all turned out great and I had a clear run over Plynlimon on both journeys :0) and the stars over the wind farm where the most spectacular I have ever seen in this country ! It was a great pleasure to walk to Anchor and over the night section with both Chris & Steve, Chris thank you very much for the navigation at night it was really appreciated. Good luck in all your future events. Stuart - another superb weekend please pass on my thanks to Judith, Sarah and everyone else who makes the AWW possible. You all made every mile of my double attempt a bit easier :0) See you next year ! Vicki (Burkitt)

Hello Stuart,

I enjoyed every minute of this one!. I can truly say that of my ten AWW entries this was the only one that the words 'never again' never entered into my head. The only really challenging part for me was down to you Stuart: unlike with the Marshalls' Walk you left ordering the good weather until the last minute and by then the rain had already been prepared and was all held back and dumped on us in the last two hours :-) .

The weekend for me started at about 8.00am Thursday morning as I set off in sunshine to walk from home into Newquay to catch a bus to St Austell where I was to start my train journey to Aberystwyth where I arrived at about 7.30 pm to be greeted initially by Chris Pritchett to be followed shortly afterwards by Clive Lungmuss, Richard Rosser and Peter Stevenson who were providing informal support on Friday and later by Steve Barnsley. After a good chip-shop dinner and a couple of drinks at 'Spoons it was time for an early night.

We were greeted by sun-filled skies on Friday morning and after a hearty breakfast made our ways to various starting points. I had a lift with Clive to Borth and on shortly after arrival there was quite a group of us waiting for the magic 11.00 am to set off. Just enough time for me to grab a geocache which was a few feet from us.

I started walking with Brian Layton, Chris Pritchett and Steve Barnsley and we followed the Borth to Devil's Bridge trail as far as Tal-y-Bont where we found Clive and Richard having morning tea at the pub. From there I took to the scenic and somewhat slower route along the delightful Afon Leri valley to Bont-goch from where we reversed the event route heading to Nant-y-moch..

Shortly after starting the walk around the reservoir the first few spots of rain were felt then the drops suddenly became huge and in the very short time it took to put waterproofs on I was quite wet. On arrival at the pumping station Clive, Richard and Peter had got the kettle boiling and had done their best to provide some degree of shelter from the deluge which continued until after the 'lunch break'.

The climb up to the trig point on Pumlumon was very enjoyable despite the persistent rain and views were still available in all directions with plenty of blue patches in the sky. After the 'top' there was an amazing rainbow which was so intense as to appear unreal as thought painted in the sky with a brush. The rain eased on descent to the forest track and it was good to be greeted by our 'supporters' again who had another brew ready. I stashed my bag of food in the bushes ready for Saturday lunch then it was time for a quick dash along the road to Llanidloes as there had been too much sightseeing which made it rather tight to get to the chip shop before closure at 9.00pm. This was just made in time and Vicki, Chris, Steve and supporters were just leaving. After ordering the food we were locked-in and allowed to stay until we had eaten so at about 9.30 pm it was time to set off across the wind-farm. The only glimpse of others was torches well in the distance but the most amazing thing was the clear sky which resulted in one of those 'million star' skies. Even so, it was warm and there was little wind. At about the point were the event route was joined it began to rain and this persisted along the Kerry Ridgeway, at the end of which Terry Ames, Rob Young and Tony Walton were met. It was about the latest I had ever arrived at Anchor Bridge on my 'doubles' being about 4.15 am and coincided with the arrival of Clive with very welcome hot drinks and sandwiches. No time therefore to sit down and soon after eating breakfast the trail of head torches of the 'main event' approached down the road.

It was good top set off again in order to keep warm. The views were again amazing and the shapes of the rolling hills seemed sharper than ever after the rain had cleared the air. CP1 and CP2 were welcome sights and I even enjoined the walk to CP3 this year. After retrieving my lunch 'stash' and a good break it was off up 'the hill'. A pleasant walk with just a few showers on the way which did not spoil the views at all. Just a slight mist as the actual trig was approached. Coming off the top I suddenly realised that the sole compound on my relatively new shoes had super grip on the wet grass to I treated myself to a run all the way down to the track which made up some lost time.

CP4 was welcome and the next target was CP5 which I was especially looking forward to because last year I was not eating well and could not manage the infamous bread pudding. No such problem this year and I was allowed to have my 'last year' one in addition :-) .

It was at CP5 that the rain began and it was as though a whole weekend's rain was going to be released in a couple of hours. By the time Bow Street was reached there had been so much rain that the water flooded across the road to Clarach and the passing cars produced waves that covered me. The rain tested (and found) the limits of my waterproofs. The 'finish' was very welcome as was the kind car owner who offered to drive the few of us that had collected immediately to Penbryn as cold was setting in.

After a quick shower I made my way to enjoy the meal and a good natter with friends and review the day(s).

I enjoyed breakfast the following day and of course the unique presentation ceremony. It was then time for me to wave farewell to the main party and make my way to the railway station and home. I thought I was then in for a final drenching as I walked down the road but I was saved by Mike Pinner who pulled over the give me a lift.

In summary, a wonderful event for me to remember forever. Many, many thanks to you Stuart and your family for making it all happen again. Thanks are also due very much to the many helpers and checkers involved whose faces have now become so familiar. I have attached a few photographs just unique to the 'first day'

I'll certainly be back again next year.

Kind regards

Bill (Lancashire)

Hi Stuart Just a quick note to say thank you to you, Judith and Sarah for a great weekend. Last Wednesday it was looking a bit interesting but in the end it didn't turn out so bad. I had a great time. In exactly one month I set off for South Africa to compete in the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon. This is a 150 mile, 7 day self sufficiency race in the desert. (see www.extrememarthons.com ) I'm runner number 52. I must say I'm not going prepared for freezing cold or heavy rain on this one. I hope all goes well with the grandchild. All the best Patrick (Hobbs)

Dear Stuart, family and marshals, Over the years I have done many LDWA and other challenge events and have heard a great deal of good things about Across Wales from fellow walkers and runners. For some reason, the event has escaped me but I am very pleased to have been a part of this year’s event and hope now to return in future years. Thanks very much for a thoroughly enjoyable and unique event. The organisation throughout the weekend was spot on and clearly, an awful lot of work goes into making it the event it is so, again, many thanks. And the route is truly one to remember – some stunning scenery.

Thank you and hope to be back next year! Best Regards, Nick Vanson Entry No. 39

Stuart,

I was a great experience attempting the AWW and I plan to complete it next year.

Look forward to seeing you next year,

Regards

Shaun Clements (056)

Dear Stuart,

Many thanks to you, your family and all of the checkers, organisers and helpers that made this past weekend so special. What a great event!

As usual, an exceptionally well organised weekend from the moment we arrived at the Memorial Hall on Friday through to the return on Sunday.

This remains my favourite event on the challenge walk calendar and this is largely due to the effort that you and your team consistently put in to make sure it is so enjoyable.

I look forward to seeing you at next year’s event.

Regards

Nick Garavini

Hello Stuart

Many thanks to you, Judith and Sarah for a fabulous event.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the pay-off of views from the summit of Plynlimon this time!

Kind regards

Angela Johnson

Hi Stuart and Judith

Thanks again for a great weekend. I was exhausted of superlatives a few years ago so I'll leave it at that.

See you next year.

Mark (Lewis)

 

Yet again, thanks to you all for your appreciative comments, Stuart.

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