54th Across Wales Walk
2 September 2017
Almost perfect weather!
This page provides reports and timing information for the 54th Across Wales Walk.
2017 Photo Gallery:
Thanks to the following for allowing their photographs to be reproduced on this website:
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.
With Hurricane Harvey making the headlines during late August, foremost in our minds in the week leading up to the 54th Across Wales Walk was the possibility that the remnants of this storm would slam into the principality resulting in yet another wet year. However, there were reasons to be optimistic and, on the preceding Friday, the BBC weatherman’s words were encouraging: “Whatever you’re doing this weekend, do it on Saturday”. Well we did, and what a time we had!
After a night spent in the Memorial Hall, Clun, coaches delivered the entrants to the Welsh border at Anchor for the 5 am start. The 107 participants were treated to a moonless, starlit sky accompanied by air temperatures barely above freezing. Thereafter, a monumental sunrise and a stunningly bright morning revealed both Kerry Vale and the Severn Valley below cloaked in mist.
By the time CP2 was reached, temperatures had increased substantially and entrants were generally responding to the ideal conditions by progressing well ahead of cut-off times. After CP3 entrants cresting Plynlimon, the highest point on the route, were treated to unrestricted views of the full extent of Cardigan Bay. The excellent weather uncharacteristically persisted throughout the event providing some of the best conditions for both walking and marshalling that we’d experienced for many years. For all those years of wind, rain and mist, this was indeed “payback time”!
Of the 107 starters, 100 completed the route within the 18-hour limit. Fastest home was Dennis Jolly in a time of 8 hours 30 minutes followed by David Hooper and Juliet Rowe 54 minutes later.
Nine attempts were made to ‘double’ the event with Bill Lancashire, Chris Poole, Stuart Livingstone, Michael Foden, Aled George, Paul Gibbs and Michael Page ultimately completing the course within the 36-hour limit.
After a comfortable night in Aberystwyth University Halls of Residence, a presentation ceremony was held on the following morning during which certificates were awarded and performances celebrated. Amidst the general air of euphoria without doubt, the highlight was the fantastic reception given to regular participant Christine Usher who at the age of eighty-two, indicated that she had completed her final AWW. However there remains a place for her next year as we feel she could be persuaded otherwise!
After the ceremony, entrants were returned to Clun by coach through typical Across Wales weather, rain and gales, as the spirits which dwell on Plynlimon just served their timely reminder! So came to an end another most memorable event.
Thanks go to the welcome band of friends and walkers-turned-checkers who once again made the event possible.
A date for your diary: the fifty-fifth Across Wales Walk will take place on 1 September 2018. See www.acrosswaleswalk.co.uk for details of this event in early May.
A great many thanks are due as usual to Stuart and Judith as well as all the many kind and supportive helpers that overall made this another very enjoyable event for me. In addition, before giving my account of my 'Double-Crossing' experience I really must acknowledge the kind and encouraging informal support received on the Friday crossing and also on Saturday given by others who have had previous 'Doubling' experiences themselves. I therefore owe great thanks to Richard Rosser, Clive Lungmuss, Hannah Brown, Brian Leyton and also Wyn George who kindly proved a hot drink during Friday night.
This year was the eighth consecutive year that I have completed a Double-Crossing. I am certainly finding it tougher as the years go by but I like to think I will be back again next year.
There needs to be some planning for food and other requirements for a 'Double-Crossing' so on Thursday I first visited Anchor Bridge to drop of things needed to spend time there in the early hours of Saturday morning. I also took the opportunity in daylight to find a suitable sleeping place on the roadside without thistles. Next to Hafren to drop food which happened to be in torrential rain this year. Finally I visited Nant-y-Moch to leave food for Friday lunchtime. Then it was time to make my way to Cwrt Mawr where I was staying that evening.
As usual in the evening several 'Doubler' met in town for a few drinks and food and to make plans for lifts to our respective starting points which for me was Borth again this year.
On Friday Clive gave me a lift to Borth where I set off on my own at 11am. Richard and Clive along with Brian were relaxing for a tea at Tal-y-Bont but I pressed onward to the hills. As I emerged from the track at Nant-y-Moch Richard, Clive and Brian were waiting and shortly afterwards they passed me on the road and were at the pumping station with hot drinks.
Whilst I was having lunch Steve Livingstone, Michael Foden
and Aled George arrived. I set-off up the mountain just before them and they
remained close behind until I reached Hafren where Brian was waiting with some
light snacks. It was a glorious day incidentally with amazing views. It is a
long walk along the road to Llanidloes but the anticipation of a nice meal at
the chip shop always spurs me on. On arrival Richard and Brian were finishing
their meal and left soon afterwards to make for Clun. I spent about an hour at
the chip shop before heading off towards the windfarm.
I got all the way to the 'old' Community Centre before it got dark. The sky was very clear with a bright moon which helped in the darkness. After the steep climb I started to cool down as the temperature dropped rapidly. I stopped to put on an extra layer and at that time was treated to a brilliant firework display in a nearby village. Just after exiting the windfarm I came across Wyn George who was waiting at the roadside to support Aled. He kindly made me a very welcome cup of coffee
It was very pleasant and peaceful walking along the lanes and tracks that would eventually lead me to the start of the Kerry Ridgeway. In fact the moonlight was so bright that I could turn off my torch for long periods.
I eventually arrived at Anchor Bridge at 1.20am and
swiftly sorted out my survival bag at the roadside and put on as many clothes as
I could because it was getting very cold. I found it impossible to sleep this
year as I had continual shivers and I am sure bordering on hypothermia by about
3.30am when I decided it best to stand up and walk around to warm up a bit. I
was so pleased when cars began to arrive and then the main group of walkers
I enjoyed meeting up with many AWW friends before we set off on the return journey to the coast.
The clear sky meant early daylight and I stopped at the lookout on the Kerry Ridgeway to take off some layers of clothing and sort out my rucksack which was in a mess after the night before
The views to CP1 and on to CP2 were lovely and a marked contrast to the torrential rain of last year.
I was pleased to get to Hafren to pick up my lunch bag and I spent a good time there. before making my way over the mountain. The views were magnificent in great contrast to last year.
As I approached CP4 I seemed to go into rather a 'low' and could neither eat nor drink which was not good. I checked straight out and endeavoured to keep going but found it necessary to sit on the roadside for a while. The scree section was challenging as usual but it was very pleasing to see the 'steps' that Stuart had cut in the downward section which I always find a bit tricky. Things did not improve for me much by the time I got to CP5 and I began to doubt my ability to continue
Still unable to eat or drink but I pressed on towards Bow Street. I needed to stop very often but was determined to continue. I was caught by Dave Hood who insisted that he should walk with me and I became deeply appreciative of his kindness and encouragement through to the very welcome finish at Clarach. The welcome I got at the Finish made up for that discomfort over the previous 15 miles or so.
I felt great at having achieved yet another Double-Crossing and felt almost human again after a warm shower. No time for the meal that I had paid for and anyway the prospect of a nice sleep was more appealing.
Awake at 6am Sunday and those difficult parts of the walk were rapidly fading and I was already planning what I might do differently next year,
In summary I had ideal weather for both Friday and Saturday. I find it gets more challenging over time but always have lots of wonderful memories for which I am very thankful.
All the very best wishes,
Hi Stuart, A huge thank you to all the wonderful AWW team for another great event. What a contrast to last year, weather wise. Despite the much better conditions we were no quicker. Too long spent enjoying the stupendous scenery. All the best and hope to see you next year.
Gill & Andrew (24&25)
Hi Stuart Just to say thanks for everything you, Judith, and all the helpers have done to enable the event to go ahead. It won't be easy for someone else to take over, you've set the bar so high. No other event comes close.
Just a big thank you to you and all the helpers for organising this weekend’s walk. As a first timer I had a really good weekend. Everything seemed to go like clockwork which can only be because of the time and effort you put into organising this event.
Just a quick note to thank you for organizing such a great weekend. It was good to meet up with everyone, and the weather was just perfect. Thanks also to the check-pointers who did a great job, and especially to Richard, Clive, Wynn and Brian for their invaluable support and encouragement on Friday's eastbound leg.
Looking forward to next year. Thanks Paul
Thanks once again to yourself and Judith for all the hard work and organisation to lay on the Across Wales Walk. As always, whether its rain or shine (and it did shine), it’s the best event of the year. So many friendly faces, laughs and banter, we also got treated to excellent views all day and not a drop of rain. I shudder to imagine how much effort and time goes in to make the event such a success, but it is greatly appreciated and its always the first date to put in my diary for next year. Hopefully next year Nick will back, he popped in today to look at the photos and was looking to do a 20 miler in the next few weeks, so fingers crossed that he keeps fit. I've attached some photos from Saturday, the camera managed to stay out all day this year, unlike last year when it went into the rucksack after 10 miles and didn't come back out again due to the rain
Once again Thanks Rob Young
Thanks for a great event, I hope to enter again next year, and hopefully bring my friend who cancelled this year through illness.
Once again - many, many thanks to you and Judith for all your efforts in organising the AWW. I was very pleased to complete the Double (on my second attempt at it) this year. The weather was spot on, especially for the Fri night and I very much appreciated the spade work you had at the Scree and the slope before the pheasant pens - I was a bit tired and uncertain on my feet in places and the prep you did made for a safe return leg.
Please see the Group Facebook page for further comments regarding the event.
Yet again, thanks to you all for your appreciative comments, Stuart.
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