Newsletter - July 2007 Editorial

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					Newsletter - July 2007 Editorial
Well, it's been an interesting summer so far, weatherwise. During June, it never seemed to stop raining; At least not for more than 24 hours at a time – I just haven't been able to finish painting the last three sections of my new garden fence yet! A few weeks ago I went along to the Tuesday night run from Tintern. Right on cue at 6:30pm, a storm blew over and we were surrounded by thunder, lightning and heavy rain. After sitting in the back of Tom's van for 15 minutes or so to let it pass, we gave up waiting and ran anyway. I have to say, that it must've been some of the heaviest rain I've ever been out in. I was almost scooping the water out of my eyes so that I could see as we ran along. The forest tracks and roads were all raging torrents of muddy water and as we returned to Tintern (the rain having now stopped after an hour or so), the village was busy with people out sandbagging to keep the flash flooding at bay. Back in the safe refuge of The Cherry Tree, the barman had a message for Tom that he should return home immediately as his house was about to flood, but that's another story… At the end of May, on the bank holiday weekend, Jules Carter and I attempted the Paddy Buckley Round. It was a fairly low key affair with just my wife Mandie as road support. We left Capel Curig at about 11:30am on the Saturday and went really well over the first half in some fanstastic weather – clear and sunny, but not too hot. On to the Snowdon section, finding Craig Wen just after it got dark slowed us down a bit and the weather worsened so we probably lost a little bit of time there. When we got through Llanberis and up on to Elidir Fawr the weather had got even worse - windy, wet and really cold! Eventually, as we got towards the top of Glyder Fawr in a heavy blizzard with the snow settling, we decided to retreat back to the Devil's Kitchen and down to Ogwen to meet Mandie; with the Glyders unfinished, the Carneddau still to still go and fifty-odd miles in the mountains under our belts. The conditions were really poor for the time of year and we stood little chance of completing in under 24 hours in the end. It was pretty frustrating as we'd gone so well early on and were so close! We both felt pretty good and strong too. The weather had been forecast to turn bad on the Sunday so we were expecting it, however, if it'd arrived a couple of hours later we would've got away with it. Hopefully we'll try again next year, we just don't seem to be able to fit it in at the moment and I probably need a bit of a rest – the dead flat 4 mile Rose Inn road race near Magor a few weeks after the attempt nearly killed me! We went to the Saunders Lakeleand Mountain Marathon last weekend and after some showers on Saturday morning, it turned into a scorcher. Maybe the weather is improving. It was a shame we’d left the suncream in the car in disgust at the early Saturday weather! Finally; In the April newsletter I warned that this one would be my last and that a new Editor would need to come forward. So far, nobody has. So, please please, somebody volunteer so that we can keep the newsletter going – get in touch with me or one of the committee members. I'll help the new editor getting set up as much as I can. Well, that's it from me - I've enjoyed doing it. See you on the mountains. Rhys

Contents: Editorial Results Brecon Fans race weekend The Dragon’s Back

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 3

Editor: for this issue only
Rhys Williams Holne Parc Parc Seymour Penhow NEWPORT NP26 3AE 01633 400337

Deadline for next issue: not known yet - Mynyddwyr De Cymru - July 2007 Newsletter 1

Note: only runners entered as MDC listed in the results tables here. For full results, consult the internet or the race organiser.

Ras y Moelwyn AM 10.5miles/2800feet. Saturday 21st April 2007 Moelwyns results
Posn. 34 56 106 finishers Name Rhys Williams Neil Lewis Cat. SM SM Time 01:44:39 01:51:50

Sugar Loaf BM 7miles/1725feet. Saturday 28 April 2007 Sugarloaf results
Posn. 5 22 26 Name Mark Saunders Gareth Griffiths Andrew Blackmore Cat. Time M40 58:10 1st M40 M40 66:05 M40 67:35 M50 78:18


Pentyrch Hill Race BM 6.5miles/1600feet. th Tuesday 24 April 2007 Pentyrch results
Posn. 16 25 36 37 42 60 64 71 85 104 finishers Name Mark Saunders Rhys Williams Alan Stone Gareth Griffiths Martin Lucas Peter Burne Haydn Griffiths Alice Bedwell Dave Gilbert Cat. M45 SM M45 M40 M50 SM M45 F45 M55 Time 52:45 56:27 58:04 58:14 59:21 61:10 61:36 63:05 70:16

43 Martyn Rosser 45 finishers

Llangynhafal Loop AS 4.5miles/1500feet. Sunday th 6 May 2007 Llangynhafal loop men's results
Posn. 114 153 154 170 finishers Name Neil Lewis Andrew Blackmore Gareth Griffiths Cat. SM SM M40 Time 44:46 50:05 50:23

Mynydd Troed AM 7miles/2700feet. Sunday 27 May 2007 The second running of this elongated version of the old Llangorse Loop suffered from high winds and persistent rain, but the virgin fell runners from Tring in darkest Hertfordshire and from Chepstow Harriers weren’t daunted. Nor were the would-be entrants who arrived an hour late due to confusion about the start time for which the race organiser apologises humbly. Ian Wellock, a Hunters Bog Trotter based in Somerset, did well to keep his feet and break the hour despite the conditions. Good times too from Kevin Harding, first M40, and Harry Matthews from just down the hill in Talgarth. First woman was also a local, Emma Bayliss, 80 seconds ahead of another Tringer, Alison Harding (how often do husband and wife both come second?). Another minute or so behind was Chepstow’s Club Champion Sue Ashton, who coincidentally was born in Hertfordshire (as was the organiser – but why would you want to know


that?). One more Hertfordshire family snippet – Mandy Bonthrone beat her teenage son Callum by 81 seconds. Many thanks to cold and wet marshals John Sweeting – who also flagged the second mountain – and Andy Stott. And to John Darby who marked the first mountain and also finished the race as third M50. And thanks to the Tring kids who helped the miserable organiser at the finish. Mynydd Troed Results
Posn. 15 16 25 26 27 52 finishers Name Martin Groves Neil Lewis Gareth Griffiths John Darby Andy Blackmore Cat. SM M40 M40 M50 SM Time 72:06 73:09 77:07 79:18 79:30

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Coity race BS 5miles/1000feet. Wednesday 20 June 2007 Coity results
Posn. 1 14 16 18 21 23 24 26 28 30 36 43 finishers Name Matthew Collins Mark Saunders John Syms Neil Lewis Peter Williams John Darby Gareth Griffiths Andrew Blackmore Andy Stott Norman Jones Leslie Pugh Cat. MS M40 MS M40 M40 M50 M40 MS M40 M40 M60 Time 35:58 42:56 43:19 44:18 45:13 47:26 47:51 48:02 48:52 50:19 67:20 1st man


Upcoming events
Crispin Flower has asked me to promote the Brecon Fans Race Weekend. There’s a discount for entering both races. Sounds like fun to me. Go on; SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RACES! Brief details are given below, and full information can be found at

SAT. 21st JULY. PEN Y FAN. AS. 11:00. 3.5m/1730’ from Cwm Llwch nr Brecon (GR006245). £4.00 on day (£5.00 unaffiliated, combined entry with Fan y Big Horseshoe £8/£10). ER/LK/NS. Details: Crispin/Naomi SUN. 22nd JULY. FAN Y BIG HORSESHOE. 14:00. 10.1m/2200’ from Llanfrynach Village Hall nr Brecon. £5.00 on day (£6.00 unaffiliated, combined entry with Pen y Fan £8/£10). ER/LK/NS. Details: Adrian Orringe

Dragon's Back 2007 - Alan "Falling" Stone
The Idiot’s Guide to Wales – Running from Snowdon to Pen y Fan
On a hot day in May, 5 runners and support crew gathered at Pen y Pass to try to re-run a modified Dragon's Back route. We chose to avoid the roads where possible and take in the principal summits, plus an added twist at the end, the Transfan thrown in for fun. It would be 160 miles with 44,000 feet of climb spread over 5 days. We were going to run, walk, limp, hobble or crawl every inch of the way. We would be crossing some of the most isolated, but also the most beautiful, parts of Wales. The only qualifications required to be there that bright and sunny morning on Day 1 were a frontal lobotomy and a pair of muddy daps. To show the world really was surreal we witnessed a cloud bank flowing down off Moel Berfedd as a torrent of “white water” to fill an inversion layer below. This was a spectacle of nature which we could never hope to match. Before any of the wives could shout “divorce” we were off. - Mynyddwyr De Cymru - July 2007 Newsletter


We stuck to “Ruddle’s Rules” – run the downs and flats and walk the ups. This was not going to be a sprint. The youngest member of this motley crew was 40 (Doug Adlam) and the oldest 52 (Mathew "Moley" Hand). The combined ages of all the runners exceeded the combined IQ. The run over Snowdon was despatched in 2 hours and 15 minutes. The only navigational error of the 5 days occurred on this stretch when we missed the motorway trod by umpteen thousand tourists a day and descended on the railway! The first day was meant to be a gentle introduction and included Snowdon, Cnicht, Moelwyn Mawr, Moelwyn Bach and Moel Ysgyfarnogod. The latter is known as Moel “Oh my God” for a reason. This has to be the most miserable part of this planet. No paths, just rock and heather. We left a trail of blood to mark our passage. We would have made faster progress as ants swimming through treacle. We made Cwm Bychan dripping with sweat and expletives. Alan "my body is a temple" Stone abandoned his vow of temperance and immediately necked the first cold beer offered to him. Thanks to Andy Mullett for the use of his cottage to stay in and his fine knowledge of the local eating establishments. Day 2 was going to be the make or break stage and we knew it. We were starting with the two Rhinogs, then Y Llethr, Diffwys and down to Barmouth. After crossing the railway bridge we were going to ascend Cadair Idris, Waun Oer, Cribin Fawr and Maen Du before finishing in the mighty metropolis of Dinas Mawddwy. Over 60km of difficult terrain. An argument occurred over exactly where the summit of Cribin Fawr is. This was only resolved when comparing the 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 maps which show the summit in different places! Honour was even, both sides had won the argument and we did go to a top!

Day 3 was a doddle after that and we even took in the short road section left over from the previous day and were able to knock off a short section scheduled for day 4. The highlight was Cemmaes wind farm in the mist, Martin Lucas being able to lay a ghost to rest from a previous bad experience on that hill top. Local knowledge paid off here and Moley steered us through the short cuts. We were kept entertained here by glorious descriptions of the various bowel diseases suffered by Chris "Toffer" Gildersleve and Simon "Wheeze" Blease. I don’t know why, but the non-medics in the crew weren’t cheered by these gutsy stories. This was a psychological low point on the trip with a long plod along endless fence lines across Pumlumon.

Day 4 was to prove inspiring, perspiring, despairing and finally expiring. We were dropped off by the bus at the point where the path indicated on the map did not exist in reality. We waved the bus a cheery good

4 - Mynyddwyr De Cymru - July 2007 Newsletter

bye and set off into thick mist. 3 yards later we noticed that we didn’t have a map and no one knew the way. A hasty phone call to recall the van was the obvious solution. This being uninhabited, mid Wales and sheep not yet having worked out how to use a mobile phone, there was of course no signal. We set out with only the track plot of a GPS to follow. We hoped that the Americans weren’t going to choose this moment to bomb Iran and turn the signal off. A short cut through a farmer's field proved to be a long cut when the farmer spotted us and headed us off at the pass in his 4x4 Abrahams Tank. I was staring at its radiator inches from my chest when I spotted my brave compadres 50 yards behind staring at their feet pretending they weren’t really with me. I did my usual impersonation of a cross between an imbecile and an innocent abroad and smoothed my way past his front wheel. He kindly directed us off his land and we were off again into the mist and the bad lands of “the moon” and trig point 593 (it has no name) towards the Teifi pools and Strata Florida. We now headed for the Doethie valley and the long road section down to Llandovery. Beautiful countryside, but the miles were taking the toll on mind and body. Moley was beginning to flag as his body wouldn’t do what he told it to. He made a tremendously brave effort and kept on going, only stopping to vomit, hallucinate or stagger. Kay Lucas was an inspiration cycling alongside us and supplying drinks and encouragement. Moley finally staggered into Llandovery before collapsing on the pavement outside the hotel. A really fine effort. He barely had time to cuddle the pavement before he was hauled to his feet and propped in the bar of the hotel nursing a drink.

reception and a trip to the pub for a pint or five. Total running time 47 hours and 57 minutes.

An excellent adventure, excellent company, really good “crack” – and I don’t mean the cocaine variety – and a superb supporting crew made this one of the memorable moments of life. A big thank you to Kay, Martin, Sarah and Andy who helped with the logistics and support. Without them it would not have been possible. Thanks are also due to Toffer and Wheeze for dreaming the dream up. When I tell the grandchildren about how I ran from Snowdon to Pen y Fan – they’ll look into my misty, forgetful, greying eyes and say, “Muummm, Granddad’s telling fibs again”.

I need a Chicken curry with half ‘n’ half after that!

Day 5 and we were joined by Daleside and Dominion from the FRA forum who had come to see if it was really true what these Welsh nutters were doing. They ran parts of this leg with us and had a taste of the countryside. There being a lady present the bowel stories finally subsided. Sarah on our support team was beginning to burn up with a fever and started looking worse than the runners. Her only consolation was that she didn’t smell worse! The final day was an 8 mile road section followed by the Transfan! Moley felt revived enough to join the 4 full timers for the final run over Pen y Fan. We finally descended into Cwm Llwch to a champagne - Mynyddwyr De Cymru - July 2007 Newsletter


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