18th July 2009
12.5 miles 5,700 feet
The Meiryionnydd round was devised and completed by Yiannis Tridimas in May 1998. The round covers 73 miles of very rough ground in the south of the Snowdonia National park, and includes 25,000 feet of climbing. It has never been repeated in 24 hours. I think this is down to the fact that it covers rough ground that most walkers and fell runners tend to avoid, and partly down to the fact that it is a very tough challenge.
Rob decided that he would have a go and intended to go for it in May – whilst the vegetation fern, bracken, brambles, heather etc – was less established, but injury forced him to have a go on the 18th July. Due to a bad forecast he moved the start point to the South side of Barmouth bridge. We got out of the car at 02:29 and by 02:31 Rob was off sprinting across the bridge, eventually David and I caught him on the north side. We then hacked our way up the roughest ascent I have ever made on any hill. Slipping in the dark on the bracken covered rocks and scraping your legs was followed by the delight of putting your hands on some prickly little bushes. In the 4 hours that followed of dark or misty gloom or both. We were bashing through heather, climbing at a fast rate, or running fast on good ground. All this time Rob was micro navigating with a GPS. This was impressive as neither David nor I could offer any navigation help.
After the Rhinogs I left David and Rob to continue. I walked out with the mid section support crew. I have never felt so attacked by the Flora in all my life. It was Ironic that on the walk out to the car, unaware to me Ian Roberts’s rucksack snagged a branch as he leant forward; it pinged off his backpack and smashed me in the face. I admitted defeat the vegetation had beaten me. But I will return in spring for revenge.
Rob continued on at an impressively fast pace up to the start of his last leg. He was now understandably tired and slightly slowing, but still on schedule. The weather had closed in and he decided that it would be unlikely that he could complete in 24 hours in the impending bad weather. So he gave up after Dyfi Forrest. It was a fantastic effort, and in spring it will be an easier task. Roll on May 2010.