Welcome to Distance Hiker Trail Snapshots, where members of our community share a Q&A snapshot of a trail they love!
In this article Matthew shares a snapshot of his hike along the Glyndŵr’s Way National Trail which stretches from Knighton to Welshpool – 135.3 miles in length.
What made you choose the Glyndŵr’s Way?
I’m working my way through the National Trails, plus I was keen to go to Wales as it was ages since I’d last been, and this trail was a nice length. It won out over doing the Wye Valley Walk (which I’ll do someday though).
What were the highlights of the trail for you?
Day 4 was easily the best day. I walked from Llanidloes to Llyn Clywedog and through the Hafren Forest to climb up the north end end of the Plynlimon range. Easily the most stunning scenery. I topped it off with a camp on the summit of Foel Fadian – although that did then become a bit nasty when I found myself on the edge of Storm Evert.
Can you tell us about some great overnight spots you found, whether it’s a wild camp, B&B, or campsite.
I had one really nice wild camp just before the forest north of Cerrig y Tan – just one of those nice peaceful spots to chill out. Night 4 on Foel Fadian would have been awesome apart if it hadn’t coincided with a storm! I used campsites increasingly towards the end of the trail, opting for very basic ones – the one behind the pub in Meifod was spot on.
Were there any parts of the trail you didn’t enjoy?
Nothing I didn’t enjoy, but there were definitely parts that got a bit samey. The bracken was really high in places (especially alongside Llyn Clywedog) bringing concerns about ticks, as well as soaking me through very quickly. There were a few stretches of road walking, but I used these as moments to record my vlog updates as I was walking to reduce the tedium. I did the after not having done anything big for some time (ie due to COVID), so simply being out in the countryside for an extended walk was joyful in itself.
What would you do differently if you were to walk it again, and what advice would you have for anyone else looking to walk the trail?
The key issue I faced was water: it was July and many of the streams were dry. I wasn’t prepared to take water from lowland rivers due to the risk of agricultural run-off, so water became the main limiting factor. Add to this that a lot of the shops, pubs and cafes weren’t open – many weren’t yet open again post-COVID, some were only open certain days of the week, and some had quite short hours. The number of such places was pretty sparse to start with too. This was the main reason that I didn’t wild camp as much as I’d hoped – without being able to get water, I fell back on more certain arrangements, booking campsites etc. I would suggest doing the walk a little earlier or later so that it is cooler and the rivers might be flowing more.
Where is your next long-distance hike?
I’m setting off today to do the TGO Challenge – my route is 344km from Lochailort on the west coast of Scotland to Dunnottar Castle on the east coast. This will take 15 days. After that I have more National Trails to work through – high on the list for this year are the Yorkshire Wolds Way, Speyside Way and finishing the SWCP. I am also looking to tie in a re-walk of the North Downs Way (for which I’m one of the trail ambassadors), with the Kent Pilgrimage Festival in September, possibly helping to lead a multi-day pilgrimage along part of the NDW.
You can learn more about Alex and see some of her previous hiking, travel and long distance hiking photos on her Instagram @alibongo_
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