Friday, 26 June 2015

Gary's walk for greyhounds written by Gary Lewis

Should someone with an arthritis carry out exercise?
Contrary to popular belief, the answer is usually "yes"; it's often a case of "use it or lose it", I have certainly felt better since carrying out exercise in addition to keeping and gaining muscle tone, it also helps with bone loss. In addition to Psoriatic Arthritis, I also have Osteopenia, which is a precursor to Osteoporosis.
Following on from Kilimanjaro in August, I left things slip, I'd picked up an injury which pretty much put the kybosh on doing exercise for a month or so, my motivation to do exercise had disappeared. On New Year's day, I decided to try and get back onto Pen-y-fan, the highest peak in the southern half of the United Kingdom. I got up ok, a little out of puff, but I got up.
In the next few months I was joined by my Brother-in-Law, along with his two Black Labs. Just a straight up and down, although, the last time we went up together we came down via, Corn du, and down to Storey Arms.
I also completed the "Walk for Al" which is a local, annual charity even walking from Maesteg Golf Club to Afan Argoed and back.
Last year, someone posted on Facebook that they wanted to do the Taff Trail to raise funds for Greyhound Rescue Wales. I thought "I'm up for that!" so I made enquiries, and as it turns out, there were a few people interested in walking the Taff Trail.  Various meetings took place, and training exercises took place also, in preparation for walking the Taff Trail. 
It was decided that the walk would take place over the weekend of the 19th to the 21st of June, to be joined in Bute Park Cardiff, by other greyhound owners and their dogs in a walk which is held as part of the "Great British Greyhound Walk" (GBGW). 
Friday, 19th June: This stretch was from Brecon to Merthyr Tydfil. We set of at around 9am, starting at the Theatre in Brecon, Powys, right next to the Brecon and Radnor Canal, we walked some six miles along the canal bank to Talybont, here was our first stop, I popped into the pub (the White Hart) for Liquid Carbohydrates.  The next part of the walk was up hill along the two major reservoirs, the first being the Talybont reservoir, followed by the Pontsticill reservoir. Very picturesque!
Following on from this the forest track became tarmac, and pretty much remained tarmac for the rest of the Taff Trail. The group then continued on to Merthyr Tydfil.  Spending the night in a Travelodge. Some 24 miles were completed this day, taking the group some 12 hour to complete.
Saturday, 20th June: This stretch was from Merthyr to Nantgarw, just north of the M4. We set off to start at the place we finished the previous evening. Then started back on the Taff Trail. An hour's worth of walking, and we passed the motel we spend the previous night. Through Merthyr, seeing some of the landmarks of the industrial revolution which pretty much started in this little corner of South Wales. The day progressed and we met a couple with their camper van who provided much needed support and sustenance throughout the day. We passed Aberfan, the site of the 1966 disaster when on the 21st of October a primary school was engulfed in slurry from a coal spoil tip on the mountain behind it, killing some 116 children and 28 adults.
We also passed a number of industrial units, and one very, very large sewage treatment works! With the trail also shadowing the A470, we also went through a couple of very dubious underpasses, complete with "street art", graffiti in other words.
Towards the end of the day, we passed through Pontypridd, a lot of the trail was through streets! However, the trail also went through Ynys Anghard park, a rare oasis in the urban jungle. The day finished in Nantgarw, some 21 miles later and some 11 hours walking. This days walking and the previous days walking was starting to have serious effects on the participants feet!!!
Sunday, 21st June: This was to be the last day of the walk, covering some 10 to 11 miles. We started where we left off from the previous day, in Nantgarw and started the walk down to Cardiff Bay. Once we actually got into Cardiff we did manage to walk through a number of Parks, first through Long Wood Nature reserve, then Hailey Park, Pontcanna Fields, Sophia Gardens. 
In Sophia gardens we met up with the Great British Greyhound Walk, these being greyhounds and their owners, a national event to publicise greyhound ownership. We then continued through Riverside area of Cardiff to Roald Dahl Plass, more famous for being the entrance to the "Torchwood" establishment! We, those who went along the whole length of the Taff Trail regrouped to walk to the finish together, greeted like conquering heroes at the end of the Taff Trail, 55 to 56 miles completed over three days.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic Gary! It was a fabulous weekend with fabulous people and one of the hounds who came to join us at Cardiff Bay now has a new home. Huge result!