Land’s End to John o’ Groats is undoubtedly the most famous ‘end to end’ walk in Britain, a long-distance challenge that many walkers (and cyclists) undertake every year.
There are various routes, some meandering along the Wales border on Offa’s Dyke; however, the vast majority of the miles are walked through Scotland and England.
Wales does, of course, boast three National Trails – the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Glyndŵr’s Way and Offa’s Dyke (which runs along the England/Wales border). It is also the only country in Europe to have a dedicated footpath around its entire coastline, i.e. the 870-mile (1,400 km) Wales Coast Path.
What Wales didn’t have was a long-distance walk which linked its two traditional ‘ends’ – a route which would capture people’s imagination and direct hikers through the most stunning landscapes Wales has to offer.
Most importantly, it should be a walk that anyone of average fitness could undertake in normal weather conditions.
We hope O Fôn i Fynwy will fill that gap, by providing a long-distance route that is walkable by someone of reasonable fitness in normal weather conditions (in Wales, that probably means some rain and mist) without undue difficulty or danger.
Our approach replaces a strict geographical definition of Wales’s extremities with the less accurate but more vividly imagined map of Wales carried around in people’s heads.
The traditional Welsh expression ‘O Fôn i Fynwy’ literally means from Anglesey (Ynys Môn) to Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy) but is also used figuratively to mean the whole of Wales, in the same way that ‘From Malin to Mizen’ is used in Ireland.
The two obvious trailheads are Holyhead (Caergybi) in the far north-west of Wales and Chepstow (Cas-gwent) in the south-east, both readily accessible by road and rail (and also ferry in the case of Holyhead).
The route passes through Wales’s most stunning landscapes, including the Anglesey AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), Snowdonia National Park, the Cambrian Mountains, the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Wye Valley AONB.
As well as linking the two traditional ‘ends’ of Wales, O Fôn i Fynwy will truly be a walk to remember.
For photographs of the highlights of the route visit The Walker’s Wife O Fôn i Fynwy board on Pinterest.
‘Never too old to backpack: O Fôn i Fynwy: a 364-mile walk through Wales’ is available from Amazon’s Kindle Store priced at £2.99.