Monday, 28 May 2007

Cambrian Way

Catching up with Chris Cowell's blog across at Hike Wales. Cambrian Way? I'd never heard of it before. It isn't a national trail, so wasn't in TGO's special on them.

441km, 274 miles. Cardiff to Conwy.

It looks more my cup of tea, away from the farmlands along Offa's Dyke. I'll get some investigating done. Thanks for the inspiration, Chris.


Chris Cowell said...

The Cambrian Way was devised by a chap called Tony Drake and you can find his 'official' guide, 'Cambrian Way - The Mountain Connoisseur's Walk' on Amazon.
It's not a particularly fun read as Mr Drake is a very bitter man, as his life's work is not recognised by WAG, Visit Wales, NFU or any of the 'friends' you need to create a new national trail. They say it's too dangerous!
That being said, the book is incredibly thorough and I managed to plot the whole route into Memory Map from his sketch maps and descriptions. It really does take in the best of high Wales.
We used the Gower Way to get up to the Brecon Beacons as I didn't have time to do the Cardiff to Black Mountain stretch, but we are going to cover that later by doing the Beacons Way - a fantastic 100 trail from Abergavenny to Bethlehem (Wales!). I don't fancy the Cardiff bit anyway!
The most important thing is we dipped our boots in at the bottom Wales and will do the same in Conwy. You have to do that on a C2C!

AktoMan said...

Trails are strange - you'd think that people would be in favour of attracting tourists to an area.

In Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods", his description of the AT attracting businesses to set up waystations, etc, reminded me of the Roman roads with their stops, and no doubt the same on the Silk Road(s). But people seem to be too insular these days. Wanting the money to come in, but not wanting to see hikers in the countryside.

For quiet, dying villages, no doubt a few extra visitor to the shop a week would please the shopkeeper. So, who are the people who object? Should they not be named and shamed in the magazines?

Ian Walker said...

I just came back from walking the northern (hardest) section of this route - there's a brief blog entry about it here.

As I describe on that post, my feeling now I've walked the trail is that it probably is best left unofficial. It is a tough walk - the terrain, navigation and isolation are much more intense than the similarly long Pennine Way - and official status would probably get people onto the route who don't have the necessary experience. It's probably best saved as a route to "graduate" to once you've learnt the ropes elsewhere.

By the way, Tony Drake's book is a masterpiece of dry understated British writing. When that man describes a section as "tough" or "airy", you know you'd better have your will in order...!

AktoMan said...

Thanks, Ian. I didn't get any long distance walks done in the summer. So many thoughts disappear into the aether.

I like isolation.