Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Walking The Severn Way: Stage 1

Source at Plynlimon to Rhyd-y-benwch

Hi everyone - thanks for following me on my 210 mile walk from the source of the River Severn high up on the moors in Mid Wales at Plynlimon right down to the point where it opens into the Bristol Channel and out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, May 18 was the day I set out to locate the source of the river and follow it down as far as the car park in the Hafren Forest. The only sensible way to get to the source is to follow the path that leads from the car park and then back again but my dislike for doing a walk from A to B returning on the same path led me to a slightly insensible way which kind of got me just a little lost amongst the trees. I'd picked out a circular (actually more elliptical) route in order to avoid returning exactly the same way. It was only a total distance of 7.5 miles which means that out of the 210 miles I've actually only covered 3.5 miles so far! But it was spent amongst beautiful scenery albeit a little wet.

For those not familiar with Wales - the country seems to be able to hold an inordinate amount of rain in its hills and valleys which is why it is always so green and lush of course but it does mean that there are probably more wet days than dry but being well prepared the rain doesn't really bother me - which is just as well as it hardly stopped all day and quite a lot of the clear wet stuff was dropped in huge torrential cloud-fulls!

Here I am at the source of the river in the rain and just managing to steady the camera set on self-timer before the wind knocked it off its perch.

And just to prove it; a close up of the post marker...

The actual source of the Severn, the very start of this enormous river which winds its way through Wales and England is just a small puddle atop of an enormous peat bog complete with groughs as far as the eye can see.

It's not that impressive - it certainly can't be called stunning but it is the start of the river and the start of The Severn Way.

And here it is...

I warned you it's not that impressive but if you're doing this walk in the time-honoured way from start to finish you have to go and find the exact start!

So this is the start of the walk proper - a bleak, remote and open vista, coupled on this day with buckets of rain. And you know what? I didn't see one single person all day long. Not one! Until my return to the car park when a guy pulled up in a 4 x 4 to walk his dogs.

The path down from the source is an enchantment. You follow a trickle of water from the 'puddle' which slowly gathers momentum, widening all the time until you see a fast running stream tumbling forcefully over the weathered rocks on its way to the valley about a 1000' below.

A pleasant walk amidst fine scenery and it wasn't long before I was back at the car for my return home.

I've decided in order to do the next stage of 8 miles to leave the car at home and do a true linear leg by using train, bus and taxi - an adventure in itself - I'm off in just a few days so I'll catch you later - don't forget to leave a comment below, help, advice, silly banter, words of encouragement are all very much welcomed and I know then that you're definitely following me!

Please click this link for the Stage 1 Slideshow



Rob Daniel (Danny) said...

ah you puddle jumper you!
Looks like a great adventure Paula. We're over from Australia on a schools and theatre tour, and we're driving back from Spain next week. Spent a bit of time in Wales a COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO, LOVED IT STILL, LAND OF MY FATHERS IT IS!
Might call in and see you along the way. It's a small country, cant miss you :o)

Pete Lovick said...

Well Done Paul! Great adventure trail and the start of a stunning slideshow.

Two of my brothers have just done (March 09) the 190 mile Coast to Coast you mention and it was tough goin. Years of road racing have knackered my achilles makin it a no go for me so it's really great to tag along with you through the lens...

Take it easy bud! Long long way to go yet.


Robert P said...

Great idea Paul, I'll follow you (seated here) with interest.
I'll be doing some walking in Scotland in July - Ben More (the one on Mull) is calling me.
Hope you have some dry days!

Chris Wigg said...

Well done for persisting through the rain, Paul. Let's hope the weather is better for the next leg.

Paul e Watts said...

Thanks Danny, Pete, Robert & Chris for your valued comments, words of encouragement and for following me.

wudbskibum said...

Brill photos Paul.
Looks a great area for walking.
Will have to get down there sometime

Debs said...

I love your photo slideshow, I rarely get homesick but seeing all that greenery and the cascades was quite poignant :) when are you doing the next leg?

Anonymous said...

Alrite mate - your tiny red spider looks like a tick who's had a little munch!
They can pass on Lyme's disease so look out for them!

All the best

Anonymous said...

Wow looks like your having a great time. Cool pics, hope to see more.
Its always great to see new places weither its by vehicle or walking.
thanks fr Heather