That has to be the hardest 4k I've ever done - not to mention the slowest!!! Just shy of four hours. It was the up hill stretch that did for me. That and the fact I was hacking, slashing and pruning as I went. The descent on the other hand was as sweet as a nut. A more perfect route down through the forest does not, I think, exist. It took me under 15 minutes to descend and I was pootling. I didn't try to race it. I just had a bloody good, vegetation free, line. Mind, I didn't start at Pen Twyn Mawr so that adds on five minutes to the split but even so, it was a bloody fast descent without really going quick.
On all my other attempts I have faffed a bit through the lower sections of the descent. The top sections, provided you find the start of the trails, aren't too bad to follow. The trail goes a little cold towards the bottom and you have to fight your way through the trees to some extent. By walking up from the bottom I was able to discern a really good, mostly 'branchless' route - which I helped become even more branchless, if you get my drift. I also had to drag a few massive fallen trees out the way to unlock the perfect path but that was worth the effort.
I am bloody knackered now though. My Arms ache to hell. Not to mention my hands cut to ribbons but the route through the forest is now clear for the next generation of South Wales Travers'ers. I even put down marker tape on the lower section - and got rid of that bloody bit of wire that nearly did for me. So for anyone hitting the traverse this year, if you see my tape then you're on the money. And considering how hard work it was, swishing my new hand scythe was actually bloody good fun. It was highly satisfying to see those brambles overgrowing the top section suffer at my hand. There is a bit of an art to 'swishing' the scythe properly but once cracked those brambles didn't stand a chance.
Well, that really is the last bit of recce preparation done and dusted and if I can follow today's path in two weeks time then the descent really is nailed....
In all it's glory the gps trace of the forest descent:-