Bob Smith Traverse, 11th January 2003

And another letter to the Westies:

A beautiful epic Bob Smith Traverse (all six 800m summits of S Wales), in bright sun snow and ice on saturday. 20 miles run, 25 miles bike, with 2635m ascent. Decided and planned late friday evening!

Some bits very difficult, plenty slides and falls, all quite slow. For those with maps (Chris) … Started at the last farm N of Llyn y Fan Fach, over Fan Brycheiniog to road at 854 222, then across the bogs and tussocks to Crai dam 889 219. Coffee, chat and shoe change, onto bike, over to Heol Senni then long climb up to Storey Arms toilets 987 198 for hot rice pudding and coffee. Then up to the three Beacons summits, Duwynt, Corn Du and Pen Y Fan, and down to Cwm Gwdi 023 247, for pizza, via the most dangerous descent ever with huge sheets of sloping ice – sore arse and elbows. The lanes were too icy for my cunning shortcuts, so went down to the Brecon bypass, then via Llanfihangel Talyllyn across to Pengenfford and then Cwmfforest 186 289. Totally shagged, and having to get off to walk up icy steep hills. This is the longest bike ride I’ve done for at least 8 years!

Munching whole nurseries of my little jelly baby friends on the climb up Waun Fach, with deep snow and dead cold feet. Then as the sun started to set behind Mynydd Troed and the Beacons behind me, the snow all started to go orange and pink, the sky deep blue and a big half moon and it all felt great. The athmosphere disturbed only by my mobile phone going – Naomi nipping the ear, and after a 5 minute chat I realised I’d dropped my glove when hauling the phone out of my pocket – 300m back down the hill but too cold to go on without.

From Pen Y Gader Fawr, I couldn’t drop down quickly into Grwyne Fawr (usual BST finish) because Jon my support couldn’t drive all the way round. So I had to retrace my steps back over Waun Fach, and down the steep slopes to Cwmfforest again, almost dark now, plenty big cats about…

Total time 7 hours 35 mins.

Huge thanks to Jon, for agreeing on friday night without any idea what we were going to do, driving 110 miles to all the right places, and cooking the best tinned rice pudding ever.