Day 263 Mile 263: Conwy Rivers Project 9/10 Afon Porth-Llwyd. Today has been dramatic; a combination of helping-out vulnerable individuals starting a new life at university, and looking after a great friend who has recently fallen ill. As a result some downhill therapy was called for.
As part of running a mile daily this year, I have tried to trace the river Conwy and its tributaries (see below), and a romp down the mountain following the river fitted the bill admirably.
For reasons of expedience, I left my car at the bottom of the hill in the village of Dolgarog, and walk-jogged up to ‘sight’ my route down. This took a couple of attempts, as paths disappeared into dense brambles and angry farm dogs urged me in no uncertain terms to consider alternative routes. As it happened the route I finally found exceeded all expectations (and enabled me to run very quickly downhill past the fierce dogs on my way back down before they realised I was there!)
Starting on the bridge over the river where it exits the mountain plateau, the route followed the road north for ten tarmacadamed meters before breaking off over a stile into a field; occupied by sheep and sedge and mud lubricated rock. Barreling across the ffridd as the gradient sharpened and the river dropped into a gorge on the right the land became an abode of moss and some incredible lichen.
As the path dropped precipitously into the woods, huge waterfalls opened up; prompting a sense of awe, and a strong desire not to slip in (or over) into the crackle-static of the cataract below. N.B. The falls in the cover photo are a tiny part of the section which has drops of around 90ft. but are hard to photo due to lots of leaves!
Winding on, the path snakes downhill; a hellish, wonderful, mix of; water, exposed rock and moss. The result is slower than running on road or track, in-spite of a massive downhill bias, and is certainly more likely to get you hurt, but, in this wet September evening it is SO much fun.
In sight of the tarmac of the bottom road I finally turned my left ankle, a good match for my right shoulder which I had pulled jumping a stile towards the start. Luckily neither of these were major, and the final run down to the village and the other end of the river, dovetailed an absolute gem of a route.
The village is partially named after a flying dragon called Garrog. This mythical beast preyed on sheep and “Dolgarrog” (The Garrog’s meadow) was the favourite field on which it swooped down from the heights above to carry off its dinner.
So serious were the losses that the farmers went on a dragon hunt armed with bows, arrows and spears. One farmer, Nico Ifan, refused to go, claiming a dream had forewarned him that the Garrog would cause his death. The other farmers laid a poisoned sheep’s carcass across a river in the heights above Eglwysbach a few miles away. The unsuspecting Garrog devoured the bait, and thus weakened, was caught and beaten to death.
Ifan finally came to gloat over the dead dragon, and in his joy at tricking fate kicked the corpse, whereupon the poisoned barbed wing of the Garrog pierced his leg thus fulfilling the warning in his dream.
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: 1762.6 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!
P.S. Get well soon m8.