FKT: Sanna Duthie, Henry Drake - Ceredigion Coastal Path (United Kingdom) - 2023-04-29

Route variation
Standard point-to-point
Gender category
Mixed-gender team
Start date
Finish date
Total time
12h 33m 54s

Sanna Duthie and I set of at 0854 from Ynyslas Estuary beach after restarting an initial attempt at 0823 when in our excitement to get going we'd charged off for a mile along the wrong starting path! Now we had our eye in, we progressed well making the correct entry into Borth and thereafter the navigation proceeded smoothly.

We had decided to undertake the attempt unsupported, as both of us were used to carrying everything we needed for long days on the trails. We carried food, medical kit and spare clothing and calculated that the only resupply we'd need along the way were water, cold drinks and on what was a very warm and windless day, the odd ice cream. And with several towns and a lot of beaches along the way we were confident we'd easily find enough water stops.

The climb out from Borth followed old routes I'd taken in my university days, so it all felt like a bit of a nostalgia trip in the early stages as I tried to spot houses I'd used to live in as a student. When Aberystwyth appeared quite suddenly over a hill brow, laid out in the sunshine below we really felt like we were on the way. It was a becoming a hot morning but it seemed too early to restock with cold drinks in Aber, so instead we pushed on. 

The next section was one of the remoter parts of the route and it wasn't until a caravan park at Llanrhystud that we were able to refill our bottles with cold water, just in the nick of time. Feeling refreshed we made good progress, passing Aberarth without realising and when Aberaeron appeared around the bend we assumed that was Aberarth and that New Quay - now visible in the distance - was Aberaeron. So when we realised were were in fact already in Aberaeron it was a huge boost. By this stage we'd built up a good lead on the 14 hours we were hoping to beat and from here on we held at a pace around an hour and 10 minutes ahead of 14 hours until our final push after Aberporth.

Aberaeron was our only stop longer than a quick bottle refill or loo break at beach toilets. It was lunchtime now and quite warm so we each bought about 2 litres of cold drinks and ice lollies as a treat. We restocked and reordered our bags and Sanna changed into fresh socks while sitting on the dockside. Probably around a 20 minute break in all.

Refreshed we moved on well to New Quay, enjoying the beach section which was full of people playing on the sand and in the sea. The climb out of New Quay was tough but it felt like we were really making progress now, well over half way and we'd made back our hour's advantage after Aberaeron with a good strong section.

The next section to Llangrannog was definitely one of the toughest and the climbs and falls seemed almost continuous so it was a welcome sight to reach one of the prettiest little towns on the route tucked in between the inevitable hills. The friendly staff at the fish and chip shop refilled our water bottles for us and we bought some more cold drinks.

The shortish section to Aberporth was tough for me as it was at this point that I started to get trouble from an old shin injury. Sanna was still very strong though so I asked her not to slow down, set the pace and I'd cling on as best I could. Things improved once we got to Aberporth and I reached the only section of the trail I'd run before. Here there was just a half marathon or so to go, my shin had eased and we were still holding onto around 75 minutes under the 14 hours.

Once we'd climbed out of Aberporth passing the MOD base, the going became a lot easier the rise and falls were still there but undulating rather than being extreme drops and climbs in and out of beaches. We reached pretty Mwnt Church with an outside chance of getting under 12hrs 30mins so pretty much ran it in non-stop from there as best and as hard we could. 

The dark came with around 20 minutes to go and a couple of tricky sections around farmers fields put paid to the 12-30, but feeling good on the final run through Cardigan and the Saturday night pub goers we raced through to squeeze out every second we could, touching the Otter's paws on the statue marking the end/start of the trail in a time of 12 hours 33 minutes and 54 seconds.

It was an immensely enjoyable day, incredibly tough at times but we were always surrounded by beautiful scenery and we were lucky to have sunny weather almost all day with little wind and just a couple of misty patches towards the end, although they never quite seemed to reach us. Conditions were definitely in our favour with very little in the way of mud or difficult undergrowth but we worked very hard for a good time and it felt amazing to reach the end with a time under 13 hours, which had been our main target.