13/6/17 – Tour de Calch – NP8 1RU

13/6/17 – Tour de Calch – NP8 1RU

12.7km, 780m ascent

A long relentless climb followed by a tour of the summit, a visit to some rocks and a fun a fast descent.  A proper fell running route.

This is a recce of the race route. The race proper takes place on Sunday 25th June, find out more about it here.


Run Start: Farmer’s Arms, Cwmdu NP8 1RU

Grid Ref: SO181236

Pub: Farmer’s Arms, Cwmdu NP8 1RU

Farmer's Arms, Cwmdu

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Farmer\'s Arms, Cwmdu 51.904896, -3.191870




Here’s Andy’s description of the route:

The route will be marked from the car park field by the church in Cwm Du, to the Start/Finish

From the start, a succession of paths and sheep trods work their way through bilberry and up the side of a vague ridge, before popping out at the rocky first Checkpoint on the edge of the ‘Calch’ plateaux. This is Pen Gloch y pibwr, and the runner will also visit this as the last Checkpoint before descending to the Finish. This section is one of only two marked sections on the course. A runnable, peaty path then works its way eventually north, to the summit of Allt Mawr. The second Checkpoint.

Going around the Trig point at Allt Mawr and heading SSE, the runner soon hits a path that becomes increasingly rocky, as it approaches the bottom of the climb to Cerrig Calch. Experienced fell runners shouldn’t find this a hindrance, but the rocks are nonetheless mildly irritating. There are some more peaty alternatives here and there, best identified on a recce. Immediately after the summit of Cerrig Calch, (Checkpoint three) the path is indistinct for 50m or so, but, keeping right of the boulders, a peaty path leads to the cairn that signifies the drop down towards checkpoint four. Past the cairn, the path becomes technical and time will be lost by some, before the path loses its boulders and enters a grassy and less well defined section. The technical section is rocky and will be unlikely to forgive a fall. Care is required on getting to the grassy section, not to go off route. Soon a more defined grassy path is reached, and Checkpoint four.

Going sharp right at checkpoint four, and by being observant, it is possible to link a succession of sheep trods and make your way towards Checkpoint five. You will need to look both left and right to find them.

At Checkpoint five, clearly visible (on the day) above and to the east of a line of crags, the runner picks up the second marked (flagged) route on the course. It is at this point that southern softies may well wish to burst into tears. The runner is presented with a marvellous boulder field of ‘in yer face’ proportions. There is a taped route across it. This will be the ‘line of least resistance’ as I perceive it to be. How you cross this is down to you. However, you must stay within 4m of the flags. This sort of technical challenge is not unusual up north but is not to be seen in our steep, grassy ‘Beacons’. This will afford an excellent opportunity for some. However, please take care. The A + E dept at Neville Hall Hospital won’t take kindly to you interrupting them watching afternoon TV. The flagged route brings the runner out at the bottom of a short, last climb which eases off, on its way to the final Checkpoint, which you also visited first. A dash down the flagged route through the Bilberry ends the race. You are not obliged to follow the flagged route to the Finish, after final Checkpoint.



Pub: Farmer's Arms, Cwmdu Map