Across Wales Walk
Hints and tips
This page provides specific advice for completing the Across Wales Walk and on Long Distance Walking in general. The advice given is based upon my own personal (and relatively limited!) experience, plus that of others who are welcome to contribute. However, it remains the responsibility of individuals to determine their own strategies and the applicability of this advice.
Invariably, the fields of mid-Wales are wet with at least dew and probably rain at approximately 5:30am when walkers first leave the Anchor - Kerry road and progress onto the Kerry Ridgeway. If still dry by Mochdre Brook, then exit from this particularly muddy and difficult stretch will soon change the condition of your feet! Accordingly, if wearing anything less than boots (or wellies!) wet feet are almost inevitable at these early stages. This doesn't bother some people; most will try to avoid it but with little success. My preference is accept wet feet and, using firm training shoes with a good tread, to change socks at each checkpoint. It's amazing how better new socks make your feet feel, particularly if you also carry kitchen roll to dry both your feet and the inside of your shoes beforehand. I have found M & S tennis socks to be adequate; newness and condition of the loop-stitch inner is more important than brand in my opinion.
From CP3 - CP4 over Plynlimon, some entrants forward hiking boots to CP3, carrying their lighter footwear for re-use when Nant-Y-Moch is reached. Boots may then be left at CP4 for forwarding to Aberystwyth.
Down to personal preferences here, but mine are as follows:
Helly Hansen Lifa long-sleeved top
Track suit bottoms
Berghaus 'Inferno' wind shirt
Helly Hansen old (worn out) but not too thick fleece jacket
Berghaus Extreme Gor-Tex jacket
I've tried Karrimor's KIMM sac, but I couldn't get it comfortable - too light, too short and too slippy in my view. My 1977 Karrimor Tatra remains my first choice for comfort and capacity. If you want to jog, chest straps can help keep the sack in position. Also, no matter what the manufacturer may claim, after a wet day in the field water will creep inside your sack. Therefore always carry some form of sack liner, if only shopping bags from Tescos! Some people start off on the AWW with 50+ litre sacks, frames etc. Without 'teaching grandmothers' on this one, my advice is to keep it light and simple. Remember that what you don't want to carry can always be forwarded to checkpoints along the way.
If planning to finish after 19:30 - 20:00, the last two miles of the event will be traversed along a dangerous road (no pavement) in darkness. It is recommended that hi-visibility clothing (typically a lightweight tabard) be forwarded to CP5.
The AWW route is particularly photogenic if the weather is good!. However I would leave the SLR at home and take a small rangefinder 35mm or, better still, a waterproof disposable!
My best advice is to recce beforehand. If time is limited, try the following potentially tricky areas:
CP1 - 2 in the area of Mochdre brook*.
CP1 - 2 in the mile after Broneirion (after crossing R Severn at Llandinam).
CP2 - 3 between CP2 and the main Llandiloes - Staylittle road.
CP2 -3 between Afon Clywedog and Brithdir.*
CP3: correct path from picnic area (yes many have got on the wrong forest track!)
CP3 -4 via summit of Plynlimon*
CP4 - 5 via Llyn Craig-y-Pistyll.
Those marked * are strongly recommended for investigation.
If you haven't read it already, take a look at Across Wales Walk: The Hard Truth!
If you have any further suggestions that you would like to share, either relating to the AWW, or long distance walking in general, then please e-mail them to me and I will do my best to publish them here.
Top of page.