September 8, 2022: Conwy, Wales. The morning rain had passed, and blue skies began to peek through the clouds. Conwy Mountain was calling; time for a run!
“And we run because we like it, through the broad bright land”
― Charles Hamilton Sorley, “Song of the Ungirt Runner“
We have been in North Wales for about a week, and it is more lovely than I’d imagined. Cliffs hang high over the Irish Sea, with sandy beaches and river estuaries dotting the rocky coast. High green hills are above, with white sheep strewn like dandelion fluff.
Our base is the small town of Conwy (pronounced “Conway” or “Conwee”), population of ~4,000. A 750-year-old medieval wall extends from Conwy Castle to surround the city proper. Four pubs stand within two blocks of our stay, and we can attest that the locals are all friendly and fun. The town is within an easy drive of Mount Snowdon and Angelsey Island, so ideal for hiking and exploring.
My favorite hike, though, is right here. This morning I started along the harbor near the castle and then ran up to the peak of Conwy Mountain. The first half of the backside trail was a slog, but it gradually opened to long valley views. Then, finally, the trees gave way to heather and prickly gorse. I climbed, breathless, through the bramble to crest the ridge. Spectacular views greeted me – the coast ahead, endless green valleys behind, and a carpet of green, purple and yellow about my feet.
I caught that elusive runner’s high on the rocky downhill trail, and it carried me all the way back to the castle. After a quick shower, I was off to meet my love for a post-run pint. This is why I run!