The First
Across Wales Walk

The Across Wales Walk

The first Across Wales Walk: press cutting

The first Across Wales Walk, October 1964 as reported by a Mid-wales newspaper

Cutting: courtesy of Roy Millard

The Across Wales Walk - how it all began

by the organiser of the First Across Wales Walk in October 1964 - Roy Millard.

In 1963, five members of the West Birmingham YHA Group walked from Clun Youth Hostel to Nant-y-Dernol Youth Hostel near Rhayader, a distance of about 35 miles. During the walk, the panoramic views brought up a discussion on the possibility of walking across Wales, from border to sea, in one day.

As Group Rambling Leader, it was left to me to work out a route and choose the checkpoints. With no experience of this type of walk it was quite a task. Over several weeks Viv and I sorted out the route as far as Plynlimon and the Warden of Borth Youth Hostel checked out his end, between Nant-y-Moch and the coast.

Twelve of us were dropped at the border at Felindre at 4.00 am on a Saturday in October 1964. We were backed-up by a dozen club members, including Viv Millard and Ray Pollard. We kept together most of the way, but the first to paddle in the sea at Borth took 15 hrs 20 min. We were all completely shattered, and could hardly walk up to the dormitory to collapse on the beds, or hobble out to the cars next day to be chauffeured home. The whole thing was a great success and we decided to repeat it and invite local YHA groups to join in the next year.

In 1965 the fastest people took 13 hrs 5 mins. and were playing cricket on the beach the next day. What a difference a year makes!

The year following, we made it a national event with Viv doing the bookings and organising refreshments and man-power for the checkpoints, while I checked the route and transport for the walk. In 1967 Viv and I started our family and left the club, never suspecting that the event would be continued year after year.

Now I am looking forward to taking part in the 30th "Across Wales Walk". What happened to all those years?

The Walkers: first Across Wales Walk, October 1964

L to R: John Evans, Bernard Richards, Alan Dawson, Bob Williams, Roy Millard, Olive Lubke, Nick Eaves, Cyril Lubke, John Briscoe and Peter Rowland (front).

Photo: courtesy of Roy Millard

Postscript: This article originally appeared in the Black Country LDWA Summer 1993 Newsletter. Roy and seven others from the group took part and completed the route successfully. Roy also took part in the 35th event in 1998, again successfully completing it ably supported by his wife Vivian. At the presentation ceremony they presented a memorable insight into the first event; it is hoped to expand this article to include further information in the near future. Stuart Lamb

The Walkers and helpers: first Across Wales Walk, October 1964

L to R: (standing) John Evans, Alan Dawson, Bob Williams, Roy Wilson, Roy Millard, Nick Eaves, Cyril Lubke, John Briscoe, Peter Rowland, Ken Holmes (dec.) Bob Harris (dec.) Chris Waterhouse,
(lower) Betty Williams, Ray Pollard, Bernard Richards, Olive Lubke, Viv Millard, Angela Evans, Margaret Dawson, Rose Holmes and Mary Riddell.

Photo: courtesy of Roy Millard