Saturday, January 11, 2014

First Journey Of Many...

As planned I arose at 7am, got ready and headed out to Llanthony Priory. Things were looking good. The skies were clear, the sun shining, I expect the birds where chirping but it's hard to hear over the engine noise in the van and, as expected, it was chilly but that wasn't a problem.

By the time I had completed my pre-flight checks I got underway on the journey of a thousand journeys just after 9am. I chugged along, up the windy, muddy path towards Bal Mawr. Halfway up the sun was just cresting the valley top, the brilliance of its rays, dazzling. From there it got chilly despite the sun. The winds were strong and coming from an unfavourable direction. I had to stop while crossing the Bal Mawr to Chwrlie watsit to put on my windproof layer.

I enjoyed the drop down into the Grwyne Valley, electing for the out and back footbridge river crossing at the bottom rather than the normal wade across as the waters were running deep and fast. I didn't enjoy quite so much the slog up the other side to Pen y Gadir Fawr. Time has dulled the memory as to the unending false summits. By the time I hit the summit - and it was all taking far longer than I had hoped - dark clouds were forming to the north. I wanted to really get a move on but the gear box only has ahead, dead slow at the moment..

The run across to Pen Twyn Mawr was good running and not as wet as I was expecting. The wetness didn't really matter by then though because my feet where already soaked. Next up was the forest descent and I have to say the secret routes are almost too secret - even for me. The vegetation has really grown up. The top section is almost closed completely. At one point I thought I'd lost my touch, the forest before me was, well, forest, where once the path should have been. I pushed through the trees hopeful I still had it. I did and continued down to the forest track. The next section was equally overgrown and quite treacherous in places where the vegetation has grown over the narrow, deep path. I kept slipping as, fooled by the plants, the ground was often a foot lower than it appeared.

Eventually I got to the three sections of proper forest descent and I picked up my old routes without problem. Four pieces of tape from when I marked the way down three years ago were still there to be found by the wise... Anyway, once at the valley bottom it was just a case of back up to the Bal Mawr ridge, along and then back down to the finish in Llanthony some 22km registered on the distance registering device - sometimes called a gps - with 3,500ft of ascent. I'm happy to have notched up the first of hopefully many outings as the comeback begins...

I finished off with half an hour on the exercise bike when I got back home. I wanted to do an hour but to be honest I was knackered and had to park it at half time....

The actual route of today's run (not a lot different from that planned)

Route Profile