Posts Tagged ‘+fell running’

Back In The UK And Getting Into It Again

Clasic view from the Glyders towards Snowdon, Its great to be back in Wales

Great weather this week, a good welcome back to Wales, Snowdon from Glyders

So after a month of work and being confined to the camp and running in circles ( got the camp circuit down to 2mins and 5 seconds, segment on Strava. Paul Dickson has matched the time so need to smash it when I get back to work…. However:-

Back in Wales Weather has been great, I am feeling really good, the flat circuits have kept me in reasonable form I reckon and what a good week of trips out:-

For all the runs this week i am back in my pair of Adidas Adizero XT4’s. They are as ever great grip and superemely comfortable whilst minimal enough to give a great feel for the trail but stil protecting the sole of the foot from battering. They are light, dry fast and never seem to smell bad… my 3rd pair and they last for ages. the last pair I bought slightly small and I have passed them on to Duncan whilst there is still some life left in them. I am in size 46 not 45 now, and this is perfect for me , locking my foot into place with enough toe box room so i dont stub. Really locked onto my feet and super comfy.. ( I am a size 44.5 in a normal shoe and have decided that 46 suits me best in most trail running and road shoes, especially Adidas.

Looking down into te Ogwen Valley on my first day back from work.

The start of a great week of running and fun, with plenty more to go before I head back to work. Looking down from Y garn into Ogwen, Pen yr Ole Wen on the left, Tryfan to the right

Wednesday 16th April – 17km 1087m ascent

Arrived back at 1315hrs and then by 140hrs met duncan and headed out up through the quarries onto Elidir Fach, then Fawr, my favourite ascent, tons of steps and steep, more of a power march than a run, but runnable sometimes… headed over to Y Garn with a chily Breeze and a very excitable Sam the Dog, and then managed to convince Duncan that the descent via Pen Dinas would be fun. Possibly the steepest bit of grass in the pas and annualy used for the Pen Dinas Fell race – a vertical thrash u and down….

A great day out finished by continuing back into Llanberis along the road from Nant.

Thursday 17th –  MTB 25km – plenty of climbs and some awesome descents, Trail Run 8km with 40m ascent

Battered legs – quads particularly tender due to the steep descent off Y garn via Pen Dinas. The flat lands of camp dont prepare the legs for this realy so some pain is inevitable! but its good stuff and clears away once the legs get moving..

Trip to Coed Y Brenin and a great ride round the Dragons Back, havent been here in quite some time and unusual not to have Helen with me as Mountain Biking is one of our things … Plenty of it lined up for when she returns from Cambodia.

Sam is always super excited to get out with us! I get a great welcome from him every time i turn up.

Duncan and Sam are always keen, and duncans odd work hours means he is available during the day sometimes, in between building his house and family time.

Biking was great and helped the legs recover, weather was ace again.

After the bike ride I decided to try out a short trail in the forest – The Sarn helen Long route – 8km and 400m ascent, a great little spin out and legs felt beter and beter as the run went on. There are a load of trails marked up in Coed y Brenin, including the trail Half Marathon Course which would be a great run, save it for next time. I have done the marathon course a couple of years ago at the inaugral event and the race goes from strength to strength each year…

Friday 18th Road Bike ride 60km

Headed out with tired legs over towards Waunfawr, then round via Beddgelert and up the Nant Gwynant to Capel Curig, along the Ogwen valley and down through Tregarth , and picked up the van from my mate duncans. Excellent ride and legs actualy felt ok climbing the Gwynant but knackered later on. tried to keep the pace reasonable and maaged about 3hrs ride including half an hour stop at the magnificent Nant Gwynant Cafe. Once again, great weather , and its just so good to be out when its like this!

Saturday 19th Mountain run 21km 1770m ascent

Great rocky ribs reuire some care as they are pretty rotten but height is gained quickly

I did this route when I was a teenager into scrambling and its one of my favourite ascents onto the glyders. No good in the rain tho . Spot the XT 4 Adidas Adizero's and also Ynys Etws hut in the bottom of the valley.

Once again an awesome day weather wise and out early ish to seek a parking spot in Nant Peris (couldn’t face running down the tarmac to Nant).

A great way up onto the glyders from the Pass- Bryants gully is steep and has some awkward scrambling in it when wetm but its good and steep and relentless to power march/climb

Great views into the pass from high up in the gully, avoiding the wet and slippery awkward wall, steep scree,heather and rocky buttresses

Picked a cold damp and shady route up onto Glyder Fawr to avoid the easter crowds, via Bryants gully, actually pretty slippery and awkward at this time of year as there is still afair bit of water running down it. Its a steep steep way onto the glyders and the higher part of the gulley features a short steep wall which can be a bit lethal in the wet so this was side stepped by ploughing on up the scree hillside to the right of the gully to keep it safe and sound today.

Onto Glyder fawr the towards Glyder fach to the top of the Cneifion Arete, above Clogwyn Ddu. I descended the ridge to Llyn Idwal after wondering if I could face it – it loked a long way down and my legs were tired…However once the decision was made, I was feeling great and loking forward to the climb back out from Idwal lake. Steeply down to the lake then crossing at the outflow, i head directly up towards Y Garn , a long a step stren ridge ascent with not much horizontal terain between the lake and the summit. A great way up and legs felt OK, tho I took it steady.

Tryfan in the distance,looking down the Y Garn ascent with Cneifion Arete in middle distance

A great track up steps and a broad ridge from Llyn Idwal right to the top of Y Garn, lots of ascent. The middle ground behind the ridge is the Cneifion Arete, that I had just descended,

From Y Garn it was onwards via the crowded summit towards  Elidir Fawr – most of which is quite runnable on tired legs even when one is feeling lazy – then descended to Elidir Fach and cut off the top to join the tarmac road  to the surge pool and then down through the quary on the zig zags, al the way back to Nant Peris via the small path that breaks off about 3 or 4 bends above the lake, across the hillside, a great variation.. Awesome few hours out.

I took Sunday off for paperwork and a break, just to keep me keen, and then Monday had a plan to run with Duncan and Brian

Monday 21st April 27km 1646m Ascent

Great route that was chosen for the decent weather. we had planned a round snowdon Jaunt but decided instead to go high and do a vatiant of round Snowdon.

Met up with Duncan, Brian plus Sam the dog who is always bonkers keen, and unaware of the distance he may end running of course!! Wish I had the metabolism of a dog for energy  – he seems to go on forever!

So we headed off up Bwlch Maesgwm ( Telegraph Valley) then followed the left  fork after the gate on the descent towards the Snowdon Ranger path, then headed through a gate and leftwards towards the old quarries blocking the way between us and Rhyd Ddu. Great trails, tho at times boggy lead one around the hilside and across a great summer bathing spot at a stream, to the railway behind Rhyd Ddu. 100m along the railway you can jump the fence leftwards where there is a pile of breizeblocks for just such a purpose and cut over to join the Rhyd Ddu path towards Snowdon summit. Breaking right , we take the rough track towards Bwlch Cwm Llan and head up the South ridge towards the Summit. Its alternately hot and chill  windy and a steep ascent that keep us huffing and power marching before a wel earned cup of tea in the summit cafe,( Thanks Jonathan!)

After a refuel it was off over too Cryb Y Ddysgl/Garneddd Ugain, tthen down diagonally to the Snowdon Ranger descent and the steep leg busting climb upto Moel cynghorion, before the classic descent down to the top of Bwlch Maesgwm and then down to Llanberis, legs feeling great and my Adidas Adizero XT4;s feeling great all the way. A great day out again  and a fine week of exercise..

A brief run down of where what and how we stayed in Cederberg

I am back at work now and just reflecting on what a great holiday I have just had with Helen and Cori, and ultimately on my own for a few days too.

Trail running wise, Cederberg has been brilliant and I will endeavour to impart a bit of useful information about how to get there and where to stay etc ( based on our own experiences of course) before giving a bit of a run down on the trails and terrain:-

The place is awesome, from Hot thermal springs and accommodation in old Victorian Spa houses to cottages in the middle of nowhere, it is an area maybe 3 times the size of Snowdonia with only a handful of gravel roads running through it and so empty of people….

Helen and I stayed here for a few days mountain biking , running and horse riding

An Oasis of green in the midst of the rocky landscape, a cool place to stay with a lake for a swim too!!

The landscape is made up of  mountainous ridges ancient heavily weathered sandstone it seems with amazing rock formations on a grand and a small scale- myriad shapes abound and make for a stunning landscape, as all the hills and mountains bristle with these shapes. Cast in between are Oasies of green and water where private farms are part of the reserve management team and provide accomodation and camping in great surroundings

We spent a total of around 2.5 weeks in the area and could have spent many more here, as  the scenery lures you on to see what is round each corner. The variety in the place is huge too, some areas remind me of Balochistan in Western Pakistan, or Omani jebels with grass on, and others look like limestone pavement areas in the Yorkshire dales (only grander).

Fresh water in pools and streams are unexpected in this dry looking place, but seem to pop up out of nowhere when least expected although I suspect these dry up as summer pushes on.  During my runs I drank many mountain streams big or small, as long as the water was flowing as the crystal cool water was tooood to pass up and in the heat I was draining my Salomon SLAB bag quickly. ( Although caution should be advised – I am not recommending this just in case I develop a case of worms later, but I was sure the waters were clean…)

How to get there:-

Well the area is a designated wilderness area 200km North of Cape Town, the terrain rising from around 600 metres up to 2000m in places and remote and unspoilt. The nearest town you would pass is Citrusdal, a strange place – a one road town with a good Spar Supermarket for provisions. Picketberg about 30km before this is also good for stocking up. Don’t rely on Citrusdal Tourism office for good information, they seemed a bit out of touch when we visited it.

The Cederberg website has plenty of info as has Cape Nature, and generally from all the tourist camps there are many trails accessible for bikes or walks / runs etc up into the hills. I also booked some accommodation through Cape Nature, who own cottages in and around Algeria, some with and some without electricity but all in great locations. There is also a

We had a car to get in and out , which gave us a lot of freedom, we stayed in a number of areas and didn’t waste time getting about. From the Baths, South of Citrusdal to Kromsrivier and Algeria in the middle of the park we got a good flavour of the place and really enjoyed our time there.

If you want direct access to the trails and reduce travelling time, then it is worth staying inside the area as outside the area the number of trails are limited due to private land issues and there is not the same history of paths and access that there is in the UK and Europe. I do recommend a trip to the Baths, such a cool place to chill out in hot springs under the sun or stars… either before or after a trip into the area.

Allow about 3 hours to drive into the Cedeberg Wilderness from Capetown, and maybe an extra hour to account for shopping on the way. Cost of accomodation ranged from around £19 pp per night for 3 of us in a self catering apartment at the Baths, to around £40 per night for 2 in a cottage in the reserve areas themselves – kromsrivier/ Algeria etc etc. The Algeria house cost about £44 per night but could accomodate 4 people comfortably..

The parks raise money through a permit system for using the paths and trails. Usually if you are staying one particular area, the trails / park fee is included for that particular area, but if you go to another zone you will have to pay, usually around £5 to £8 per day maximum to access trails . A bit different to the UK but it seems to work, as a lot of conservation management work goes on in the areas, for wildife and plants , and the area is a world heritage site….

Whilst in the area with Helen and Cori ( my wife and stepdaughter) we walked , looked at San rock art, saw great rock formations, cool waterfalls, rode mountain bikes and horses and generally had an awesome time.

I am looking forward to writing about the running bit next but wanted to put the place into context for any would be visitors because in my opinion the lonely planet is a bit hard to follow for the area and doesnt do it justice.

(By the way a 1:50 000 map can be purchased from the permit offices in the park  ( Algeria/ Kromsrivier / Dwarsrivier  or from Cape nature  in Clanwilliam..

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