Saturday, July 26, 2014

Up, Up and Down

Waun Fach. I think I have covered pretty much all the bases on the best descent route off Waun Fach to the north end of the Grwyne Reservoir. I 'ran' up twice and descended once. Add to that my previous recce and that's four different routes but I'm confident I know which is the best one...

I set off from the Blaen-y-cwm car park just before eleven, sun-blocked to the max and carrying a full platypus water bag of carb drink. One things was not in doubt. It was going to be a scorcher. I headed north-east along the main path, gently upwards to the reservoir. Unusually for the Black Mountains, there were lots of people out there.

From the there I headed up to Waun Fach, testing route B - route A having been used on my first recce a few weeks ago. It wasn't too bad. Slightly indirect, as was A but not hugely rough going. Once at Waun Fach I and headed north along the ridge as planned and then back down the valley, back to the reservoir for ascent number two, using route C. A more direct route but steeper and more of the rough stuff.

Once to the top I turned tail, following route D, to return, once again, to the northern end of the reservoir. This was a deviation from my original plan as I had intended to head to Pen-y-G but my spidey-senses had tingled while I was ascending via C and so I made up route D on the spur of the moment - are you keeping up?

There's no way to eliminate all of the rough ground. There simply is no single path that links the top to the bottom but I think, in D, I have the winner. At least half the distance follows sheep trods and that makes the running much easier. The descent is also averaged out over the distance about as much as it can be. Again, it adds a small but of distance but I reckon you can recover that and make a profit.

Once back to the reservoir, I ran back down the path to the car while attempting to inject a bit of pace but by 'eck were it hot - that's a bit of practice at speaking northern for next week when I head to Borrowdale. Considering the heat - and I'm generally not good when it gets hot - I feel I went okay. I was round the 20k route with its 700m of ascent in two and a half hours and that included a bit of stopped time. The water bag worked well as I was able to keep at pace and drink steadily through the run. Something I'm not good at when using either a) a water bottle or b) streams.

Anyway, I shan't be attempting any further recce's. That's me done. I have the route and will sweep like a champion...