Running

In Search of Chartist Cave

12th April 2017

The running club meets on a Tuesday and Thursday for training runs but due to living in Newport it’s a bit far to attend regularly but with the prospect of running off-road and on a beautiful I couldn’t resist heading up for a post-work run. The plan was to head out onto Llangynidr Moor and discover the Chartist Cave.

The Chartist Cave is located high on the Llangynidr moors just north of Trefil. The cave was used by Chartist rebels in 1839 to prepare and stockpile weapons for the uprising in the same year.

Being located off main paths, some members had unsuccessfully tried to locate the cave in the past whilst others had had more success. This was going to be a first visit for me and with my trusty OS Map iPhone app handy, I was determined to find it.

Starting at Dukestown, a stony track ascends out onto open ground and yet more climbing along tracks and a dismantled railway. The original plan was to continue more or less in a straight line towards the area of the cave but instead we headed via Trefil Quarries and approach from a different angle.

Climbing around the rear of the quarries one part of our group decided to head more directly towards the cave using the OS Map as a guide whilst the others continued to follow a feint path. Our route turned out to be extremely difficult to run across. The large clumps of heather made the ground uneven and boggy in places so quite often we were reduced to walking, jumping and dodging.

It took the best part of 20 minutes to cover less than 1.5 miles of terrain. We’d come to far along this route to turn back so continued trudging through the difficult terrain. In the summer when the heather is in full bloom this route would be impossible to navigate through.

The marker on the map was showing us getting closer and closer to the cave until we got close enough to seek it out without the map. There was a sense of elation amongst, particularly those that had been unsuccessful in finding it on a last attempt. An obligatory team photo and a quick peek around the entrance to the cave and then it was time to head back down before it got dark.

The route back was all downhill which meant some fast-as-you-like technical descents all with the sun setting behind the Brecon Beacons in the distance. A rookie navigation error (enjoying the run too much and not looking at the map) meant myself and another runner overshot a final turning to the start so we had to navigate through some muddy terrain back to the path we needed.

Had we stuck to the original route the total distance would have been around 7 miles.

Sometimes you can’t plan a perfect evening for running. Quite often the weather changes for the worse and the running into the sunset just doesn’t happen but we were so fortunate on this occasion. It was clear throughout the entire run and not particularly cold or windy. A perfect run.

Route Map

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