Fastpacking in Wales and the UK

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07/07/2012 at 19:11

Hi everyone. I recently fell in love with the idea of doing fastpacking, and I want to plan a solo adventure, running through some nice, wild places and staying overnight. I do a lot of trail running here in Wales, and would like to know if any among you has done this before and what places you would recommend to start fastpacking. For the moment I am gathering a general knowledge about light equipment to carry, including a small tent, sleeping bag and the bare essentials. I've been searching the Internet but the info about this type of backpacking+running in the UK seems to be rather scarce. Maybe you know a good website or blog that I can start with? Many thanks!

GKD
07/07/2012 at 19:13
Wtf is fast packing? Is that an Americanism for hiking quickly?
GKD
07/07/2012 at 21:36
Maybe he means 'fudge packing?' he does spend a lot of time in Whales after all?
08/07/2012 at 12:35

Hmmm - I think I've probably done this (that's fastpacking rather than fudge packing) even if we never used the term. Certainly for the last 10 years or so a few of us have headed up to Scotland each May and (at least one some occassions), carried light weight mountain Marathon kit and run/walked 1-2 night trips at speed. 

There are a lots of options for leaving the car at a station then getting a train onward and runnning back over a few days. My best recollection was a 3 day 2 night trip we did, parking at Muir of Ord and getting the train accross to Attadale on the West Coast, then running back wild camping along the way. Its wild stuff, far from roads, we stayed high on the hills - lonely on your own if you lack confidence in these circumstances.

Ron Turnbull has written Across Scotland on Foot that might give some idea. Obviously closer to home there are also lots of ideas on our long distance paths, but they are not so wild and inspiring as Scotland 

08/07/2012 at 19:26

Have you tried the OMM ?  ( Original Mountain Marathon ) Or looked at Adventure Racing ?  

A friend and i did a two day race across the Elan Valley (carrying all kit & camping the night in between ) We did the easiest option which was 2 x half marathons back to back but there were lunatics that did 2 x full marathons across the hills !

Was great fun but up there as one of the hardest things ever done.

09/07/2012 at 01:16

Excellent. Thanks for the info guys!

09/07/2012 at 14:11

Whats the Elan Marathon one?

09/07/2012 at 22:15

The OMM was held in the Elan Valley recently, to be honest they didn't do the area any favours in terms of running potential, there is some great trail but they managed to miss most of it.

I / We do a lot of trail running / wild camping in Wales, depends how much space you want. For two days the Black Mountains is great and easy to avoid the crowds compared to the Brecon Beacons, beyond that look at Elan and slightly further North but stick to Mid Wales to again avoid the crowds. Outside Scotland Mid Wales is as empty as you will get IMHO.

There are a few boothy's out there as well but you will need to do your research to find them

Have fun...

10/07/2012 at 12:34

Many thanks frenchy232!

GKD
10/07/2012 at 12:46
El you may want to consider whether you need a tent or not in the summer ( hah!) months, a bivvy bag would probably do you just as well and be considerably light
GKD
10/07/2012 at 15:23

Some serious consideration, thanks Lirish. Somehow I try to fool myself believing that I'll be less exposed to the elements using a tent. Anyway I don't think I'll be ready to tackle that adventure until next year, provided it´s dry enough. First in the list is Barcelona Marató, in 2013

11/07/2012 at 08:03

The Cape Wrath trail in NW Scotland - amazing!! There are a few hotels on the way, but mostly self sufficient. Check the bombing ranging is safe & ensure the ferry is running. You did say adventure! This is as about as wild & remote as you will get in UK, its a very serious challenge & needs serious planning

Here a link: http://capewrathtrailguide.org

There are a fair few ultra light tents that weigh less than a bivvi bag. Take a look at Terra Nova

12/07/2012 at 20:43

Looks really inspiring UltraMonkey - I've run some parts of it (like the Fisherfield Forest for example. It would be a fantastic project.

08/07/2014 at 14:51

This is a topic that's close to my heart.  I love camping and running, so I do both together whenever possible.  I've started a blog about this topic specifically, and hopefully it's of some interest.

I'm not a huge fan of racing, but like to cover as much ground on a trip as I can, so it's ideal for me.  Plus the OCD nature of choosing kit for different routes appeals to me.  Here's my site!

http://outdoorguyuk.tumblr.com/

08/07/2014 at 15:05

You might want to track down the book called "Wild Running"

08/07/2014 at 16:00

Thanks Steve!  I've seen that book before and it's definitely on my to read list, although it is more about trail/fell/cross country running in the UK from what I remember.  There is little about the camping element that fastpacking includes.

YiddBarmy - I'd say that fastpacking is quite different to ultra running although there is obviously a lot of cross over.  Ultra running is about running long distances, whereas fastpacking focuses on being entirely (or almost entirely) self sufficient whilst travelling long distances.  Most 'self supported' ultra races still don't expect you to contain all of your kit and regularly have aid stations and a tent waiting for you at the end of a leg.

I'm not a competitive runner myself so am not drawn to racing, however I love running long distance, camping and having to be extremely thorough when planning a trip, so fastpacking was a natural progression for me.

08/07/2014 at 16:41

You didn't come across as disparaging at all!

I'd agree with you that fastpacking would suit a lot of people more, as it's about the enjoyment and less about the grind.  I rarely worry about personal bests.  Maybe competitive wasn't the right word, but driven.  I'm not motivated enough to 'be the best' and push myself to that extent, but each to their own.  I'm a little jealous of the motivation some people have maybe, but I'm happy with my lot.

One thing I would say is that the kit definitely can get expensive, although doing it on a shoestring requires a lot more finesse!

 

 

08/07/2014 at 16:41

You didn't come across as disparaging at all!

I'd agree with you that fastpacking would suit a lot of people more, as it's about the enjoyment and less about the grind.  I rarely worry about personal bests.  Maybe competitive wasn't the right word, but driven.  I'm not motivated enough to 'be the best' and push myself to that extent, but each to their own.  I'm a little jealous of the motivation some people have maybe, but I'm happy with my lot.

One thing I would say is that the kit definitely can get expensive, although doing it on a shoestring requires a lot more finesse!

10/07/2014 at 09:18

A great route to do in Wales is the Beacons Way, 95 miles from Abergavenny to Bethlehem (!) Some info on this site - http://www.breconbeaconsparksociety.org/national-park/the-beacons-way/ 

10/07/2014 at 11:52

You know, Bartholomew, that is something I'd love to do.  I'm organising a trip we're doing in just over a week in the Brecon Beacons which is shaping up to be a whole load of fun and we'll be covering a small part of the Beacons Way, along with where it meets up on the Taff Trail.  

You've given me the idea to do both of those trails from start to finish.  I'm so easily peer pressured.  

I've done a write up of our planned route if you're interested http://outdoorguyuk.tumblr.com/post/91141055979/fastpacking-trip-in-the-brecon-beacons-pt-2-planning  

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