Mountains & Waves
Another action packed day for me, and I think I’m suitably tired now. The original plan had been to continue with my Coast Path run, but the weather for South Wales looked pretty horrible. Rather than drive for 5 hours so as to run for a few hours in the pouring rain I decided to stay local instead. I still headed out for a run though.
Running through the Cambrian Mountains.
So, after breakfast and seeing Anna and Morgan off I drove the few miles inland to Furnace and started a run from there. It was a grey, windy morning and fairly chilly too. I had my new running shoes on, a pair of shorts, thin jacket and my rucksack with water, spares and some snacks. I wasn’t sure how far I’d go as my legs were pretty tired from the past few days, but I was prepared for a long one.
The weekend had been fairly busy with swims, runs, bike rides and surf ski sessions. Monday had been a tough day too. I’d completed a hard bike session consisting of 9x 3 minute VO2 max intervals and had then done a surf ski session consisting of 8 1/4 mile under/overs. My legs were therefore quite tired when I started and they never ever felt spritely!
I ran up into Artists Valley and then up out onto the moorland and back down into the Cymerau Valley. From here it was a tough climb up through the valley and then up and over the top before dropping steeply down to the bottom of the Llyfnant Valley.
So far, all of this was on the Coast Path. It was parts of the Coast Path that I’d ran before and probably the least coastal part of it. I continued to follow the Coast Path all the way up the long climb through the Llynant Valley and up out towards Glaspwll. From here I left the Coast Path behind and headed further inland around the hills above Machynlleth.
By now I was about 8 miles into my run and had two options. One was to turn around and head back which would have been a bit boring but would have still led to a decent 16 mile run. The other was to continue on to some lesser explored paths through the Cambrian Mountains. I knew them fairly well though and knew that not only would this lead to a longer run but that it would entail a monstrous climb as well.
It was now raining quite heavily, I was soaked through and the wind was cold. Needless to say I took the more difficult path and continued on up the huge climb through Cwmyrhaiadr and out onto the trails alongside the falls of Pistyll y Llyn. I was reduced to walking now and then but not for long as I had to keep the effort up somewhat just to keep warm. I did have a hat and gloves in my rucksack but the cold was actually quite nice.
Finally I made it to the top and could take shelter of some description in amongst the forestry for a while. The mist hung low here and everything was sodden. The fact that I was soaked through meant that my rucksack was rubbing and I could feel little points of soreness on my back, as well as a few areas of chaffing from my shorts too. There was still a long way to go.
From here I ran above the banks of Pistyll y Llyn and then on to Angler’s Retreat. Everything was of course pretty exposed, desolate and completely devoid of life up here. I turned right after Angler’s Retreat and ran past Llyn Conach and then dropped down onto the forestry roads high above Artists Valley. I followed these for mile upon mile, making my way around the top of Artists Valley before starting to descend. It would be almost all downhill from here but by now my legs were properly tired and even going downhill was hard work. Eventually after about 20 miles on my feet I cut across to Artists Valley once again and followed the road back to Furnace and the waiting van. I hadn’t seen a single person all day long.
Despite having eaten an energy bar and a couple of gels whilst out in the hills I polished off a bag of M&M’s on the way home and then had some lunch. It wasn’t until I started to warm up a little in the shower that the full extent of the pain from the chaffing became apparent. For the sake of my own modesty (and your eyes) I can’t show you the worst of it, but this is what my back looked like.
A Stroll in Borth
The afternoon was spent doing a bit of work and then popping into Borth to collect Morgan. While I was there I thought I’d take a walk along the beach from the Railway Station to the Lifeboat Station. Quite a few locals on Facebook had been moaning that the pebble bank was really steep and dangerous here so I thought I’d take a look for myself. They’ve even been writing to the council to ask them to get contractors with JCB’s to re-profile it. I couldn’t really see a problem though.
There were a few areas where the pebbles were quite steep but not really an issue and even those were only short areas so there was a less steep gradient within 50m or so. If it were steep for the entire length of the beach then it might impair access for those less able but that’s not the case. Certainly nothing I’d want the council to be spending my taxes on. The sea and feet of tourists will flatten it out in time and as far as I’m concerned, the slightly inhospitable, ever-changing nature of the beach is the main attraction of Borth. If you want perfectly manicured pristine beaches where everything is maintained for the enjoyment of tourists then maybe Borth isn’t the place for you.
An Afternoon Surf
Whilst on the beach there was a nice little wave rolling into the beach and the sun had now come out. So, once back at home I headed off to the beach for a surf-ski session in the waves.
The waves were only small but it provided a perfect mellow afternoon surf. There were a few friends out surfing too so I had a chat with them and a pleasant time catching nice long, easy-going waves.
Burgers, Beer and a Stroll
By now I think I’d earned my dinner. First though I had some bicycle maintenance to complete as some headset bearings that I had ordered had arrived in the post. With that fixed it was time to cook dinner. Anna is always out at band on a Tuesday evening and Morgan and I have got into the habit of having home-cooked burgers, home-cooked chips and for me a beer for dinner. I think I deserved it today.
With that polished off there was just time for a nice stroll on the beach as the sunset.
It was nice to ease my legs up a bit and hit 50,000 steps for the day. As darkness fell I just managed to fit in a few more things – Video editing, photo processing and blogging so that it could all be shared here.