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CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales

Destination: Cardiff, Wales

Discover the essence of Wales on our hiking trip to all three of Wales' National Parks. Although a small country, it is second to none in its fascinating history, varied and stunning topography, and a warm and welcoming tradition of hospitality, and our hiking trip is a perfect mixture of hiking in stunning landscapes, interwoven with cultural encounters and experiences. We begin our adventure in the vibrant capital city of Cardiff before heading off to the wild windswept escarpments of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Then it's on to the coast of Pembrokeshire, widely regarded as the spiritual heartland of Wales. Finally we head North to the rugged mountains of Snowdonia, a stronghold of Welsh culture. Castles and fortresses dot the landscape, a reflection of its turbulent history. And while a part of Great Britain, Welsh culture has survived largely intact, as demonstrated by the bilingualism we'll find everywhere. Croeso I Gymru!

Highlights

  • Hiking in Wales three National Parks: Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire, and Snowdon
  • Going to the top of Mt Snowdon by historic train.
  • Visiting some of Wales' famous historical castles, churches, and ruins
  • Learning about Welsh culture and its tumultuous history

Departures and Prices

Inclusions

  • Two local Welsh guides (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will be 1 Welsh guide)
  • Ten nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals including beverages from dinner on August 17 to breakfast on August 27 except for one lunch and dinner
  • Ground transportation in Wales, including airport transfer on the last day
  • All activities on the itinerary,

Not included: Travel to and from Wales, transportation to the hotel on day 1, one lunch and dinner, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, optional activities, and travel insurance.

Details

This trip is for women who have some experience hiking and want to combine hiking with immersion in the history and culture of the area. We spend 3-6 hours hiking on most days at elevations ranging from sea level to 3560' (Mt. Snowdon). Hiking in Wales is quite varied from good mountain footpaths to uneven ground. Rating: 1 2 [3]4 5 . A rating of 3 requires aerobic conditioning for a minimum of 30 - 45 minutes 3 to 4 days a week.

On this trip we combine hiking in Wales' three very different National Parks with learning about its history and culture. In addition to hiking we'll visit two of Wales most famous castles, visit a farm and have sheepdog demonstration, have a home-hosted dinner, and visit St Davids, one of the highlights of any Welsh visit.

We'll be staying in locally owned inns and lodges, in double occupancy rooms with en suite bathrooms. Please note: Not all lodgings will have elevators (lifts). It is essential that you following the packing list closely, pack light and be able to handle your own luggage - including carrying up multiple stairs.

    9/17: The Angel Hotel https://www.thecairncollection.co.uk/hotels/the-angel/ +44 29 2064 9200 9/18, 9/19, 9/20: The Fourcroft Hotel https://www.whisperhotelscollection.com/our-hotels/fourcroft-hotel-tenby/ Tel: +44 1834 842 886 9/21, 9/22: The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny http://angelabergavenny.com/ Tel: +44 1873 857 121 9/23, 9/24, 9/25, 9/26: Black Boy, Caernafon https://www.black-boy-inn.com/ Tel: +44 1286 673604

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Arrive Cardiff any time before 4 pm today. We'll gather at our hotel at 4:30pm for welcome and introductions, followed by a trip orientation. Our Welsh guide will then take us on a brief walking tour of Cardiff on our way to dinner. Those of us who just arrived will undoubtedly be jetlagged so we'll make sure we get to bed early. Overnight Angel Hotel, Cardiff
DAY 2
From Cardiff, we will drive for about an hour through the South Wales Valleys. This area once fueled the Industrial Revolution with her coal, leaving behind only scars in the mountainside and the faded glory of the architecture to remind us. Leaving the coal valleys behind, we enter Brecon Beacons National Park, the first of 3 National Park on our adventure. Our first walk will be along the tranquil Brecon and Monmouthshire canal. In the past, horses pulled the barges and we will follow their trail along the ancient towpath. By its very nature this is level walking and a superb walk for our first day. The pace is slow, allowing us to ease into the rhythms of rural Wales and enjoy our first lunch in a cozy pub. Hiking: 5 miles, 120 feet elevation gain Overnight Abergavenny at Angel Hotel at Abergavenny (2 nights)
DAY 3
Now that we've recovered from jet lag, we're ready for some more serious hiking. After picking up a picnic lunch from the local bakery, we set off from our hotel along the Offa's Dyke footpath. This is one of Wales' National trails. Offa was a 9th century Saxon king who built a stone and earth barrier to delineate his kingdom from that of the troublesome Celts in the west. Our walk will take us from the lush Wye valley up onto the wild and windswept tops of the Black mountains, where we climb to the top of Hay Bluff (2220 feet). This is border country; the views here stretch out over and beyond Wales, to the English counties of Herford and Gloucestershire. Our bus will pick us up at Gospel pass and drive us down to the romantic ruins of LLananthony Abbey. Rebuilt in the 13th century, what stands today are the picturesque remains. Hiking: 5 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain. Overnight: Angel Hotel in Abergavenny.
DAY 5
National Geographic magazine called Pembrokeshire the world's second best coastal destination and ranked the Pembrokeshire coast second in the world's top ten long-distance paths. We'll hike today on the All Wales Coast Path, with spectacular cliff top views. We'll keep our eyes open for gannets fishing and playful choughs catching the updrafts. Barafundle Bay is surely one of the loveliest beaches in the world and an inviting place for a swim. You might think coastal paths are flat and easy hiking, but you would be wrong, and a break at the Boat House tearoom at Stack pole quay to sample the local wares will be most welcome.

We then continue onwards to the freshwater Bosherton Lakes, famous for their lilies and resident otters. This landscape, designed by the Cawdor family as a setting for their country house, is a lovely contrast to the dramatic clifftops. Today the main house is gone, but the estate is an internationally important nature reserve and a listed designed landscape. Our coach will then take us back to Tenby for dinner. Hiking: 8 - 10 miles. Overnight: Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby
DAY 6
Today we are heading to the spiritual center of Wales and the birthplace of its patron saint, St David. According to tradition, David was born in a lightning storm on the headland, less than a mile away from where the village's cathedral stands today. Tucked away on a river and out of sight from marauding Vikings, the cathedral became one of the most important shrines of medieval Christendom, when two pilgrimages to St. David's was equal to one to Rome. Inside we will see St. David's shrine, as well as the sarcophagus of Edmund Tudur, Henry VII's father. After lunch on your own with some time to explore the village, in the afternoon we'll walk another section of the Wales Coast Path. We'll go from St David's to St. Non's Bay, where David was born, and then to Porthclais before returning to St David on another path. Before driving back to Tenby, we might call in at Solva Woollen Mill, Pembrokeshire's oldest working woolen mill. Overnight: Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby
DAY 8
The village of Beddgelert is blessed: it lies on the confluence of two mountain rivers and is surrounded by wooded hills in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. The quarrymen's cottages that make up the village are prettily decorated with window boxes, and the village often wins prizes for its joyful floral displays. We set off on the banks of the river Glaslyn. Our first stop is at 'Gelert's Grave'. Gelert was a brave legendary dog, from which the village takes its name. Wales is a land of myth and legend, and there are still a few to tell today.
The river gathers speed as it narrows into a gorge, and we will negotiate the fisherman's path. We will soon turn up into a secret valley, with contrasting landscape. The mountain views will be amazing today (weather permitting): Cnicht (The Welsh Matterhorn), Snowdon, and Dinas Emrys, where legend has it the Welsh Red Dragon fought the English White Dragon and reigned supreme. DInner is on your own tonight so you'll have time to explore the town. Overnight: Celtic Royal Inn in Caernarfon.
DAY 9
In just a fifteen-minute drive to Llanberis we are at the foot of Snowdon. Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the highest mountain south of the Scottish highlands. At 3560 feet, it is not high in terms of mountains of the world, but it is still one cracker of a mountain. Shaped by glaciers, this majestic mountain is reminiscent of a starfish from above, with magnificent ridges radiating from the central pyramidal peak. We have several choices today: you may choose to ride up and back to the summit on the historic Snowdon mountain railway; ride up and then walk back down; or, if you're looking for a challenge, hike to the summit and back. In addition to your energy level, the weather is also an important factor. Whatever option you decide on, we will all undoubtedly have earned a pint-sized mug of tea at the famous climber's cafe, Pete's Eats. Or perhaps a pint of something stronger at The Heights pub! Tonight we'll enjoy a home-hosted dinner with a local Welsh family in the comfort of their home. Hiking: 4.5 miles up and 4.5 miles down, 3024 feet elevation gain/loss Overnight: Celtic Royal Inn in Caernarfon.
DAY 10
After our hearty Scottish breakfast we drive to the magnificent seaside town of Conwy, known for its UNESCO designated medieval castles and churches and particularly for Conwy Castle. We'll have a guided tour of it, and then head to the village of LLanafairfechan for the start of our hike. On our hike we will stop for lunch at the mountain farm of Rhian Jones, known for her artistic Blacksmith work. As well as stunning coastal scenery and perhaps even views of the Isle of Man on a clear day, this upland hike over heathery moorlands offers up a wealth of archaeology, from stone circles to Iron Age forts. Hiking 10 miles, 960 feet elevation gain

Tonight we share one final farewell dinner at the charming Royal Welsh Yacht Club, in the heart of Caernarfon. It's a fitting end to our time in this most amazing country. Overnight: Celtic Royal Inn in Caernarfon.
DAY 11
After breakfast, it's unfortunately time to leave. We'll arrive first at the Bangor railway station at 9:30 and then continue on to Manchester airport, arriving approximately 11:30 am for flights or connections to other trains. Hwyl fawr!

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

Loved the cultural exposure as well as the hiking and venues. It was great visiting the sheep farm for an educational tour with the farmer and a picnic lunch. Also enjoyed the opportunity to hear a Welch men’s choir and have lunch at the interesting home or a charming artist and dinner with a Welch family.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


The highlights included Wales and what a beautiful surprise the country was, but especially our guides who made the country come alive.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


Loved the coastal walk and the mix of cultural and historical experiences.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


Wales is beautiful, the hike very doable and the local guides were fabulous!!

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


The hiking, the scenery, the cultural experiences, as well as our guides and driver were outstanding.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


We had hiked in Scotland a few years ago and most of us felt that it was one of our least favorite trips. Not much to see. We never saw a castle or a man in a kilt or heard a bagpipe. We could have been any where in the world. More moors every day. My expectations of Wales were about the same of what Scotland was. Was I delightfully surprised. The hiking and scenery were interestingly varied. We learned so much history, trivia, geology. It was one of the best adventures we have had as a group. Loved the walk along the canal and locks; was in awe of all the castles and charming towns.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


Highlights were exceptional beauty of Wales, incredible guides, and side trips to organic farm, Tenby men's choir, and dinners in homes of Welsh families. There were no failures of expectations - only exceeding of expectations

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


1. Our two Welsh guides! 2. The hiking. 3. Interactions, including meals, with several native Welsh people.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


Our guides!! The offering of additional cultural experiences (i.e. Tenby Mens chorus concert, storyteller and tour, visit to organic farm, dinner in private homes, dinner at the Yacht Club) made everything extra special.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


Loved the guides and bus driver and the country and the itinerary! Would have liked a little more hiking and to have gone up Snowdon.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


Hiking in a beautiful country with varied terrain and fantastic local guides who were very knowledgeable of the history of Wales and various extras and points of interest.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


CHAMPS leader selected this hike but I always wanted to go to Wales. The highlight was our guides!! Donna and Amanda were excellent: the best we have had in 31 years of hiking! The van driver, Joel, was equally exceptional. The special mixture of Welsh hikers leading us and the specific cultural options e.g.,(men's choir, visit with Welsh people}gave me a sense of the entire country of Wales. It close to the top of my list of favorite trips in 31 years of hiking.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


Wales was wonderful! Our AGC guides (Donna and Mandy) were knowledgeable, efficient and lots of fun. The hikes were just challenging enough and covered lovely, varied terrain. Plus there were visits to private homes and farms that enabled us to learn more about the people and country than we would have otherwise. Wales seems beautifully unspoiled ...frankly there were not many foreign tourists around so I hope tourism grows a bit for Wales’ sake - but not too much.

CHAMPS MEMBERS ONLY - Hiking Wales 8/17/2019-8/27/2019


  1. Where do we eat?

    Breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where we're staying. Dinner is in restaurants; sometimes you'll order off the menu, other times you'll have a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian entree. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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