Wales, A Walk Around a Country

24th August 2015

With the opening of the Wales Coast Path back in May 2012, a new challenge walking route presented itself and by linking to the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail, we had the first continuous walking route around a country in the world. In all, 1047 miles of walking to discover the shape of a nation and a true challenge to the keenest of walkers and runners.

The first person to take on this challenge was Arry Beresford-Webb, who actually ran it. She started on the 24th March 2012 and finished on the 5th May 2012 in Cardiff Bay for the official opening of the Wales Coast Path. Completing the run in 41 days, the equivalent of 40 back to back trail marathons she set a target for others to try and beat. Arry’s run raised £10,000 for the charities, Velindre Cancer Centre and Gozo CCU Foundation.

Since then a number of other walkers have taken up the challenge of walking around Wales, some have posted their stories on the Wales Coast Path Hall of Fame page on the website.

Rob Dingle, the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail Officer said this year the challenge seems to have attracted more walkers and he has been following their progress via social media, on Twitter. Four walkers in particular have all been walking over the last couple of months and it has been great to follow their progress via social media and the daily blogs they write. 

Recently I was able to catch up with two of them on the same day, as they were doing the Offa’s Dyke Path section heading south in the Brecon Beacons below Hay Bluff. It was again their posts on twitter that alerted me to the fact that they were both ending up in Hay on Wye on the same day, and I met them as they headed towards Hatterrall Ridge. It was strange that the two of them have been a day or two apart over various sections of their journey but had never met, on the day I met them, they missed each other again by a couple of hours, but were eventually planning to meet on the other side of The Black Mountains at Pandy.

For me it was great to actually meet up with them in person after following the exploits and progress over about the last 50 days.

I met Owen Doel first on day 51 of his walk, after introducing myself, his first words were, “its hard going”.He had just walked 4 miles up hill out of Hay and had the steep climb up onto Hatterrall Ridge in front of him, that was just showing out of the low clouds. Owen from Rhoose, near Cardiff  started his journey at his doorstep, so was actually doing a door to door walk around Wales. I first picked up on Owen’s journey via twiter on @trefforfiji. His walk was to raise funds to build a training centre for young people in Fiji, and when I saw him he had already raised £6000.00 of his £10,000 target.


Gareth Axenderrie, was next to appear out of the mist heading over the common towards me, after taking a rest day in Hay on Wye. Gareth was also on about the 50th day of his journey, and as well as walking around Wales, he was also climbing  3 peaks in Wales, the last of these was to be Pen Y Fan, on his journey south. Gareth was raising money for the Velindre Cancer Centre. Gareth has also been writing a great daily blog via facebook, and tweeting regularly @garethswelshwalk.

I have already heard from a New Zealand ultra marathon runner who's planning to come over in May 2016, and complete the whole route in 25 days, running over 70km a day.


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