Bit of walk bit o run

Things are starting to look up – Ran/walked 7 miles down the beach on saturday with no apparent repercussions and then went for a walk up the Brecon beacons on sunday with no ill effects either.  I’ll continue to ease back gently though just in case.

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Wild ponies – Murph has to go on lead around them. I dont think he could bring one down but Im not letting the sod try
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The view from the head of the Cwm
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More of the way we came
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We went up there – til it got too steep and came back down. 
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Waterfalls
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Murph and Tilly playing
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Not sure what was going on here …..
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Love this photo – running free makes him so happy

No fear, no heights just miles

Ok going back in time …. these two runs were the friday and saturday before the Fan Brycheiniog hike.  Around 10 miles each time and incorporating a nice little loop I’ve found which tacks on as many miles and hills as I like.  Along with the hike thats over 30 miles in 3 days so today is most definitely a rest day.

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This is the close to home training hill of Witches Point – Currently at 3 repeats

Google finally synched all my photos to the cloud so I don’t have to manually drag them here like the last post so have some more fan brycheiniog hike photos

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Yeah we go up there!
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Pretty steep
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This was after I stopped having panic attacks and could go nearer the edge again
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Just stunning
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The path is the line running diagonally
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Snow at the peak!
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Tea break in the saddle
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Gore-tex dog
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Fell running time

Brecon wander

Went up the Brecon beacons yesterday.  Out into the bits people don’t tend to go and just hiked around a bit with the dog.  It was pretty cold, then hot, then windy then not. Hey im a poet! We didn’t follow the paths mainly as there weren’t any. Its quite liberating and definitely fun to just go where you please. This did mean we spent a few hours or so falling in bogs, marshes and swamps (we havnt worked out which is which yet) but wet feet is a given these days.  Plus Tilly the dog loved every minute of it even if she couldnt see over the grass much of the time I guess.

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Pro tip – Park the car by a big obvious mountain like this one so you dont lose it
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Technically we should have been over there but I cannot tell a lie – my directions are shit
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Standing stone doing what it does best
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Waterfall – slightly on the wonk
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Frozen “waterfall” / trickle
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Is that the mountain by the car? Oh …
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Look I CAN take photos – Tilly in her snazzy coat
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Ok we put the dog with short legs on the rock for a photo shoot, she didnt leap there – tiny legs and all that. Though she did exceptionally well seeing as its not really short dog terrain
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Reservoir points to car (backup in case of loss of mountain)
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“Over there is bog…. over there is marsh ….. over there is swamp” ( I fell in most of them)

Frozen dog stops play

Couple of days ago I went up to the Brecon Beacons with a friend and her mums dog to find some snow.  We appear to be missing out on the fun down here in the South but I guess one of the beauties of living in Wales is that there are always mountains a few hours away at most.

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Short dog and deep snow issues

Tilly aka ratdog did actually do quite well and had a whale of a time in the snow. But after a while it was clear she was getting pretty cold ….

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So this is me doing an impression of a South American paramilitary holding a frozen dog hostage

So after thawing her out we heaed home where I realised I was technically in my running gear anyway and so it would have been amiss to not get down the beach too so go to knock out seven miles as well.

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How much warmer does this look?  (It wasn’t though)

Summited – Just don’t know where

Took a jaunt up to the Brecon Beacons today to have a run up Pen Y Fan again. Closest we get to mountains in South Wales.  I took a different route this time from the south .  I parked up, got changed and headed off with a pack full of food, water and actual safety items such as a whistle and foil blanket.  I knew the weather was supposed to turn early afternoon so this was an up and downer fairly rapidly.

The best laid plans and all that.  My navigational skills are sketchy at best and the thing about the brecon beacons is that eveything looks the same, no wonder the SAS die out here in training.

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I give you exhibit A – mountains are in there somewhere amongst the clouds

After a false start and sinking up to my calves in mud in a forest I found the route to the mountains – in the cloud somewhere. So I had a minds eye picture of where I was and where everything else was but it was meaningless if everything else was shrouded in mist.

Ok I think its that way ————>

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Its uphill!

Following the sheep tracks was fun up the side of a mountain. Ocassionally my brain would say “ummm you dont know where you’re going” but I shut it off and ran a bit more. I figure there are two important directions on a mountain – up and down. So I followed what I could make out as a ridgeline upwards.

The wind was really picking up now and I packed on some more layers and kept going up and up and up. And then …. The summit!  Only it definitely wasn’t Pen Y Fan – I’d have recognised that even in fog but it was somewhere I’ve never been before.

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It had one of these though and it was the highest point I could see (that being all of 30 feet) so I’m calling it a summit!

The view was …… well

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If you look carefully you can see clouds

I had a choice now to either follow a path off the top but this would mean I was getting really, really lost now instead of just lost and I knew the weather would worsen so I took the sensible option of coming back down the way I came.

Once down in the visibility zone as I shall now call it I followed the tracks wherever they went as long as they headed in the vague direction of the car.  Which took me past the skunk sheep!

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Weirdest looking sheep I ever saw

And then to a fantastic waterfall where I stopped to eat something. The whole run was only around 8 miles but I brought food so I was damn well eating it.

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Back through the forest

And looking back on a great morning getting cold, wet, lost and tired.  I may not have found the mountain I was looking for but I found what I wanted in the end.

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My first year of running ends on a high (literally)

Yep by my admittedly vague calculations I’ve been running a year. I’ve gone from not being able to run 2 fields in a row to the beach to this……

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Yep I woke up this morning and thought do something diffent today. So I ran up South Wales’ highest mountain Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons …. the hard way.

I did a bit of googling and found a few routes up it – the “motorway” as its known is an easier path from the A470 which is used by hundreds of walkers … not for me so I ended up at Cwm Gwdi on the other side of the mountain as it promised a much quieter and steeper route with more rugged terrain.  Never ever take the easy option!

So after getting lost in the car as per usual (I’m quite used to this by now) I got there around half eleven and got changed. Chucked my hydration pack on with my nutrition and necessities (I actually took a whistle and foil blanket as I wasn’t sure exactly where I was headed except for up) and set off. Luckily they provide a route map!

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I took note of the general direction and then promptly forgot about it. Up is up right?

The first climbs were brutal …  I was immediately in the red and wondering what I was doing.

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The view back towards Brecon. The forest in the middle was my starting point. The scenery was pretty amazing though even if I was blowing out of my ass at this point.

I had to settle into a powerhike for some of the next bit as it was virtually unrunnable for me without putting myself so far into the red I probably wouldn’t recover. Perhaps I’ve learned a few tricks in the last year and one is to hold back, this isn’t a race.

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Its steeper in reality than it looks
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Sheep leading the way.

There were a series of false peaks at this poinmt which allowed some running in between but then as I reached the last of these I hit the ridgeline!

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Target acquired! Nope not the one on the left – Pen Y Fan is the one to the right covered in cloud.

This was now runnable so off I set at a less than fearsome pace!

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View from the ridge to the right.
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Now I could see the peak and the cloud was clearing – Looking pretty steep there though.
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Ohhhh cool I get to do some mountaineering too! I forgot my crampons, at the top of this it’s literally rock climbing for the last 50 yards or so. I was wondering why I’d literally not seen a soul on this route …..
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The views from the top were worth it though!
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So yeah …. I ran up there.

From Pen Y Fan its a short trip across the saddle to Corn Du – slightly lower but just as scenic.

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The saddle to Corn Du
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View from Corn Du …  Note clouds ….

I started descending on the other ridge and was enjoying the technical bits of the descent. There were only a few walkers who seemed to enjoy watching me hurtle past to my inevitable doom.

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I was skirting this lake on the left hand side ridge.
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In fact the trail I was on wound right past it – You can see it above the lake in this photo

And then it started raining – just like that I was soaked, I went for my jacket from my pack and found I’d left it in the car …. Nevermind a bit of water never hurt anyone but I wanted to get down lower out of the wind.

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A sad moment as I passed the obelisk for Tommy Jones
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The view back to the two peaks. Basically I ran this ridge right across the photo.

At this point the rain stopped and although soaked through I was low enough to feel warm again just through running.

The descent continued a few miles down the valley and i was sure I would pop out near the carpark ….. which clearly wasn’t the case. I’d completely forgotten about the map I’d not so carefully studied at the start but luckily my trusty phone’s GPS told me I was in the wrong valley and a few miles away across another huge climb. Being the sensible being I am I declined freestyle rock climbing and simply followed the path down until I hit a road. From here it was a matter of a few miles up some nasty sodding hills to get back to my starting point.

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I came out here – Cwm Llwch – In Wales we don’t believe in vowels.

I was wondering if it was worth a 120 mile round trip to do this but It was a great run of around 8 miles of constant climbing and descending with superb views. I was really pleased with how I felt throughout it and that I could even do it at all is something I’m proud of.

EDIT: Just wanted to add this panorama

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