Day 140 Mile 140: Conwy Rivers Project #2/10 – Afon Conwy

Day 140 Mile 140: Conwy Rivers Project #2/10 – Afon Conwy. Today I headed out to Conwy to do the parkrun and to tick off another stage in the Conwy Rivers Project (see below for info) and maintain running at least a mile everyday for charity. As part of my warm-up I went around the town itself, taking in the castle and historic quay and getting to be a bit of a tourist taking photos from the battlements along the town walls.

Today it is raining, proper Welsh rain with big drops that soak you in seconds. In spite of this it is not too cold and the wind has died so as far as running goes once the initial shock is over it’s almost pleasant!

It’s great to run along the river with a big bunch of friends with a renewed appreciation of its geology and history having been delving into it. It helps to remind you to value the brief time we have.

On the flip side if anyone does want to go and verify that this is real if forgot my parkrun barcode today, so, even though I unofficially did my 2nd fastest ever time it probably won’t show on their website… bother!

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 5027.7 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!


Some background on the Conwy Rivers Project first published 16/5/17.

In early May I discovered a book on the shelf at the Bridge Inn in Conwy, entitled ‘Walk in the Beautiful Conwy Valley’ by Ralph Maddern. It is a wonderfully written book, with an inspiring enthusiasm for the landscape and culture of the valley: at whose head I was currently nursing a pint, while overlooking the castle.IMG_0855The book was illustrated with pen and ink sketches, which not only provided a fun insight into the concerns and imaginations of the author and illustrator, but also no doubt kept production costs down. I suspect that photos, even black and white ones my have been prohibitively expensive with the technology available in 1970 for such a small run book. Viewed through a 2017 lens where photos are two a penny the book almost seems better by their absence.

Hidden amoung these sketches and maps was a simple diagram outlining the Afon (River) Conwy and its major tributaries. I have lived near this river for a large part of my life and have never seen it described so clearly. As a result of this inspiration, and possibly the fine locally brewed ale I was supping I decided to run a section of each of these tributaries over the next few months.

IMG_0854There has been a River Conwy for millennia. The valley floor has been made rich and fertile by the deposits left behind by the retreating ice sheets of the Pleistocene era, but the river and the valley were forming long before then. Way before the ice came that water had already found a natural line of weakness between the Silurian bedrock to the east and the older, harder Cambrian rocks found to the west.

There is still evidence of Stone Age settlements in the hills and a written history dating back to the Roman settlement of Britain. Salmon and Sea Trout can still be found in its waters and in 1991 Elizabeth II opened a tunnel crossing under the estuary.

We stand in the narrowest slice of time trying to find context in a framework which in itself is still altogether insignificant in the massive arch of geological chronology.


On the next sunny day I took a few minutes out and sat on the roof where there was space to layout the gargantuan and iconic paper map that is OL17 Snowdon and Conwy Valley along with a pen and paper and a cup of tea. I would try to tick off the 9 different tributaries and something from the main river itself as an ongoing sub project to running at least a mile everyday this year. There would only be a few rules:

  1. I would have to try and run as close to the course of the river as possible gullies and bramble bushes etc. permitting for at least 1/2 mile before looping around to make a minimum 1 mile run.
  2. I would have to physically make contact with the water at least once per run. The ceremonial sploshing of a digit would be preferable to accidental full body immersion!
  3. Only 1 river per day, no binge-ing.
  4. Avoid specific trips out to locations, try to make it fit in with another reason for going to that area, in order to save on time and petrol, also see rule 3.
  5. Complete the challenge before 31/12/17.
  6. Avoid mosquitoes if at all possible.

18527347_1718199914861152_8087519642734209188_oP.S. 22/5/17 You know you get those days when it is really wet and nasty and you refuse to be overtaken by someone who is so overwhelmingly happy. Well that’s what it looks like! I’m pretty sure I didn’t mean to look that grumpy 🙂 Photo courtesy of SJ Photography.


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