The Hiraethog Trail – Run Challenge is a 1 day, fully guided and supported ‘run’ following the 42.4 mile linear trail, from Pentrefoelas on the outskirts of Snowdonia, to Bodfari in the Vale of Clwyd. The route involves 5325ft of ascent and represents an exhilarating, challenging excursion for those that take it on. The scenery is beautiful along the way – you’ll cover ground that isn’t very well trodden, and cross the high ground of Mynydd Hireathog, following the way marked trail through Clocaenog Forest, past hidden reservoirs and crossing really wild, remote land that gives some of the very best views Westwards, towards Northern Snowdonia and Eastwards towards the Clwydian Hills.
We are offering a limited number of spaces for this challenge, and will be providing the following, over the course of the day, to make your journey along the trail, as safe, stress free and enjoyable as possible:
Fully Qualified Guides – Leading you every step of the way – you’ll have no worries about getting lost, just relax and enjoy your surroundings and the challenge!
Checkpoint support – The day is split into 6 sections – approximately 6-9 miles in length, and at the end of each one we’ll meet you with your spare gear should you wish to change clothing, first aid provision and lots of food and drink to keep you going!
Safety and first aid cover – your in safe hands, your guide will be fully qualified when it comes to outdoor first aid, in addition we will have all the necassary skills and equipment to look after you if something goes wrong, at the end of each section.
Replenishment – Whilst it’s recommended that you carry some snacks and water on sections yourself, we’ll both provide and transport suitable foodstuffs and water/energy drinks and will have them waiting for you at the end of each section throughout the day.
Transport – It’s a linear route, we’ll meet for the start in Pentrefoelas and at the end of the day a coach will transport you back to your car, after some optional refreshment at the Dinorben Arms Inn, Bodfari. If the worst happens and you can’t continue, through injury or fatigue – we’ll take care of getting you back to where you need to be. We’ll also carry any spare clothing/footwear or anything else (within reason!) that you may want at some point during the day.
We will be averaging around 3.7mph moving time – a brisk walking pace for most, with rest stops at each CP, so the emphasis is on keeping going, not speed! Think of walking briskly the climbs, jogging the flat sections and running the descents and you’ll end up with this average pace, or thereabouts. The pace will be dictated by the Run Leaders.
The Hiraethog Way - one for the connoisseur! Hiraethog is a large upland area, made up mostly of high moorland, and is often overlooked as a place to visit in favour of the more spectacular Snowdonian landscape to the West, and the more friendly and accessible landscape of the Clwydians to the East. However, for those that get to know this area, I believe the rewards are great. The landscape is full of atmosphere and interest - and the views to be had are spectacular...as we head East along the trail, you'll see all around you rolling hills, backed by higher, more rugged mountains and you'll get a sense of really 'being away from it all' - it is certainly different to more popular areas in North Wales, but it definitely has a charm of it's own - and if you are willing to get your feet wet and muddy, pick your knees up to deal with occasionally high heather and have to take extra care on the odd broken stile - you'll be rewarded with a fantastic experience, and it's one we are really excited to share with you.
Pentrefoelas to Cerrigydrudion
We kick off with this fairly gentle section, in terms of terrain and ascent. For most of it we run parallel with the A5, and this is the leg with most tarmac involved, so think of this when choosing your footwear for leg 1. We climb to the North out of the village, then take to moorland tracks to the East, passing beneath the multi-cairned hill of Mwdwl Eithin, which rises to 532m above us. We stay at around 300m above sea level for much of the way, before the descent to Cerrigydrudion, the last couple of miles being on the road. Checkpoint 1 is located by the Saracen Hotel, were you'll find spare kit and refreshment waiting for you.
Cerrigydrudion to Llanfihangel - 13.1km/432m ascent
This section is a loop, split into 2 by the A5. First up, we head South out of Cerrig, and take in the unfrequented land on this side of the main road, towards the village of Llangwm. Feel Goch (2000ft) and it's associated hills rise above you as you get your feet wet on 'paths' that dont see too many footsteps, but they do have a charm all of their own! After Llangwm, we climb over the shoulder of Mwdwl Eithin (another one!), crossing the 400m contour in the process, before a delightful descent down into CP 2 at Llanfinhangel, where the van will be waiting for you in a very pretty spot beside the Alwen river!
Llanfihangel to Clocaenog - 15km/393m ascent
The longest leg of the day - you'll spend much of the time here within the large expanse of Clocaenog Forest - where the trails are quiet and atmospheric, and you may even come across a Red Squirrel or two! There is nearly 400m of ascent on this leg, but it's generally all pretty gradual, time to keep the legs ticking over, get into a steady rhythm and stay there, it's that type of leg. It's a section of milestones - you'll pass the halfway point of the route, and also reach the highest point of the day - at 502m on Craig Bron Banog. Legs will be getting tired, and fatigue becoming more of a factor - here's where the group dynamic helps, you'll need your fellow participants more and more from now on! CP 3 is at Clocaenog, after 15km of really enjoyable trail running.
Clocaenog to Llanrheadr - 13.7km/459m ascent
The hilliest section, and, no doubt, all things considered - the toughest. The crux of the day - get this done on tired legs, and it's almost in the bag. It is a beautiful section though, you'll start climbing immediately from the CP at Clocaenog on a gently rising track that skirts beneath Pincyn Llys - a right turn as we join the Brenig Way, takes us to the top of this wonderful viewpoint at 414m above sea level. Still on the Brenig Way, a fabulous descent to the pretty village of Cyfylliog follows and I'm confident you'll love it! As the Brenig Way heads West towards the reservoir of the same name, we hit the tarmac on a steep climb North out of the village, but things soon flatten out as a mixture of minor road and a great mixture of trail terrain eventually drops you down to the final CP, at Llanrheadr.
SECTION 5 Llanrheadr to Bodfari - 12.1km/85m ascent
The last leg! Good job it's as flat as a pancake (almost!). Here, we leave Llanrheadr and climb ever so gently climb through pleasant farmland, up to the Ystrad Road on the outskirts of Denbigh - good views of Denbigh Castle here, luckily for you we won't be climbing up to it today. We head East towards the Afon Clwyd - and pick up a delightful riverside path which inches us ever closer to our finish. Great views of the Clwydian Range here, and we go through the small village of Aberwheeler, join up with Offas Dyke Path and, after crossing the River Wheeler, we hit the road and reach the end of a long, and very productive day! Optional refreshment at the Dinorben Arms, before the journey back to the car!