South Wales Traverse

posted 1 Dec 2013, 04:40 by Dave Austin   [ updated 29 Mar 2014, 07:47 ]
Category: Ultra/Personal Challenge
Distance: 118km / 73miles
Ascent: 5300m / 17,000ft

This 24-hour challenge involves 73 miles and some 17,000 feet of ascent. It was launched in 1984 having been completed by Derek Fisher and Andy Lewsley the year before.
It traverses 31 summits in the Carmathen Fan, Fforest Fawr, Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains areas and may be completed in either direction. The mountains selected are from the 2000 foot (610m) summit tables compiled by George Bridge in his book - The Mountains of England and Wales.

The men's record (as of 2013 and to the best of my knowledge) was set by Mark Hartell in 1993 in a time of 14 hours 42 minutes.
The women's record was set by Katie Roby in 2013 in a time of 19 hours 53 minutes and 29s.


Kit Requirements:



Route Card:
SummitDescriptionGrid referenceAltitude(m)
StartPen Rhiw-wen - A4069SN 730184495
1Garreg LwydSN 740179616
2Garreg LasSN 777203635
3Bannau Sir GaerSN 811218749
4Fan BrycheiniogSN 825218802
5Fan HirSN 830209761
Trecastell roadSN 853203369
A4067 (Stage 2 Start)SN 870195387
6Fan GyhirychSN 880190725
7Fan NeddSN 913184663
Sarn Helen/road junctionSN 924183400
8Fan LliaSN 938186632
9Fan FrynychSN 957227629
10Rhos Dringarth (Craig Cerrig-gleisiad)SN 960217629
11Fan FawrSN 969193734
Storey Arms (Stage 3 Start)SN 982203445
12Y GyrnSN 988215619
13DuwyntSO 005207824
14Corn DuSO 007213873
15Pen y FanSO 012215886
16CribynSO 023213795
17Waun RyddSO 062205769
18Allt LwydSO 078189654
Abercynafon (Stage 4 Start)SO 080174212
19Cefn yr YstradSO 086137607
PyrgadSO 100159260
Llangynidr, The Coach & HorsesSO 145198127
Cwm-gu (Stage 5 Start)SO 199209190
20Pen Cerrig-calchSO 217223701
21Pen Allt-mawrSO 206243719
22Mynydd LlysiauSO 207279663
23Waun FachSO 215299811
24Pen y Gadair FawrSO 229287800
25Pen Twyn MawrSO 242267658
Grwyne Fawr car park (Stage 6 Start)SO 252284407
26Chwarel y FanSO 258294670
27Rhos DirionSO 211334713
28Twmpa (Lord Hereford's Knob)SO 224350690
Gospel Pass (Stage 6B Start)SO 235352550
29Hay BluffSO 244366677
30Black MountainSO 255350703
31Pen y Garn FawrSO 277310616
FinishLlanthony PriorySO 287279241

My route deviates from the conventional route in a couple of places. The most significant is my route through Llangynidr to Cwm-gu as noted here.
My route goes through the west side of Llangynidr passing The Coach & Horses Inn (SO145198) and uses public rights of way to Tretower (SO186213) and onto Cwm-gu (SO199209). The traditional route passes through the east side of Llangynidr, passing the Red Lion Pub (SO155195) and eventually goes across the private Glenusk Estate where permission to access is required. I have investigated both routes and found there to be little between the two. My route is approximately 400m longer with an additional 10m of ascent but without requiring any permission for access.
I take a different approach to Garreg Las running below the ridge (to the west of it) along a nice, runnable trod before taking a steep climb to the summit once you pass the big boulder.
I drop straight off Fan Hir rather than back-tracking to the zig-zag path. It's  not too steep for it.
And I follow the arched line, following a trod and then a lightly defined track from Y Gryn to Duwynt to save some ascent at the cost of a little distance. I find it's quite gently runnable to stretch the legs in a good way.

GPS File:
Available (see bottom of the post to download)

Route Map:

Route Profile:
South Wales Traverse Elevation Profile

Dave Austin,
1 Dec 2013, 04:40