During Lockdown it’s nice to reminisce over previous adventures. We thought you might enjoy reading this guest post from a loyal blog follower about his favourite long distance walk. On his recommendation Glyndwrs Way is on our to do list!
L & R
The UK is blessed with wonderful walks – many just the right length between incredible views and reasonable places for overnight stops. We’ve met visitors from Australia and USA who come to the UK just because such walks are not possible with their huge distances between centres of habitation. So which walk to do – mountains, or coastal paths or perhaps moorland? Having done many long distance trails, the favourite so far has been the 135 mile horseshoe shaped walk “Glyndwr’s Way” which is perhaps the least known of the 15 National Trails of England and Wales. The walk commemorates the rebellion against the English by Owain Glyndwr, proclaimed Prince of Wales in the early 15th century, and passes through much of the countryside where he fought the English.
As it is in Wales, the walk is inevitably full of hard-to-pronounce place names and comes with the continual fear of rain (although apart from one spectacular display of thunder and lightning while we were very exposed on the top of a hill, nervously holding our (conducting?) walking sticks, that fear was unfounded). You are unlikely to see many other hikers on the route and I’m afraid there aren’t many tea shops but there are plenty of sheep (Wales has 10 million sheep and only some 3 million people)!
It has varied, beautiful scenery between the charming mid-Wales towns. The trail is clearly signposted (we only got a bit lost once!) starting in Knighton literally on the Wales – England border, going all the way to Machynlleth which is not far from the Irish Sea coast, and then makes its way back to Welshpool. In fact, there are only four small towns on the entire route: Knighton, Llanidloes, Machynlleth and Welshpool.
With reasonable fitness it can be done in nine or ten days. According to the guide book the total ascent is 23,556ft and one or two bits are really quite steep!
For me the highlights were probably the reservoir Llyn Clywedog and the beautiful Lake Vyrnwy (below) with its wonderful, many arched viaduct and dam but you spend much time on the walk with spectacular scenery while crossing open moorland (with sheep), working farmland (with sheep), river valleys (with sheep) and woodlands (yes, even some sheep there!).
We took a day off at Machynlleth to visit the Dyfi Osprey Project which is well run and worth visiting.
From a practical perspective, it is worth noting that some of the campsites, pubs and B&Bs in our guidebook were no longer open so careful research is vital. However, everyone we met on the trip was friendly and helpful.