The Paddy Buckley Round
Epic trip, not for the faint hearted!
Route Start Location:
|106.49 km||7761 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Summits and Places on this Route
The Paddy Buckley Round
The Paddy Buckley Round (PBR) in Snowdonia along with the Ramsay Round in Lochaber and the Bob Graham Round in the Lakes make up the UK Big 3 Rounds. Basically, the Big 3 are the toughest 24 hour fell running challenges in the UK, or at least the toughest formalised and/or popular ones!
It was devised by Paddy Buckley, no surprises there, but the first completion was by Wendy Dodds in 1983 in 25 hrs 38mins and so there isn’t a 24 hour time limit for the PBR like for the other Big 3 Rounds. The current record is 17 hours 42 minutes set by Tim Higginbottom in July 2009.
The Paddy Buckley Round takes in most of the significant peaks surrounding Snowdon, with Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd being the most notable omissions. It nominally starts in Llanberis, but you can choose any starting point you wish and complete it either clock-wise or anti-clockwise meaning you can make your completion your own in many respects. Considering there’s over 100km of distance (depending on the line you take) and 8300m of ascent* – only 500m shy of Everest – and 47 summits of varying significance. That’s a lot to pack into one day.
If you’re tackling this as a day challenge then it’s a given that you’ll either need to train for it or be super-fit to begin with. You need to plan ahead and organise a support team. You’ll also need to run through the night, a serious proposition on any section of the PBR considering the toughness of the terrain and it would be wise to recce the route beforehand. Once you’re off the usual Glyderau/Carneddau then the going becomes boggy and difficult to follow, with many of the approaches being off path. Many of the summits are also unclear – being spot heights only on the OS maps, and probably off whatever path you’ve managed to find yourself on!
The fence helps with navigation, but this is tough terrain in good weather, let alone in the mist or at night!
Mere mortals can plan to backpack this over four or five days, which is still a considerable challenge! It splits nicely into five backpacking days, with some of Snowdonia’s best wild camping spots being on the route.
For anyone looking for a 24 hour itinerary – then follow this link for a downloadable Excel spreadsheet – http://www.gofar.eclipse.co.uk/paddybuckleyround.html
For an informative account of running the route – including tips on nutrition and what kit to take – http://www.fellrunningguide.co.uk/paddy-buckley-round/
Finally, another, brief, description – http://bobwightman.co.uk/run_pb/paddy_buckley_round.php
* This is the figure given in Tracklogs, which is more reliable than the count given in the route summary underneath the map.
Note – route given is a suggested route plan, using rights of way and avoiding ‘fence climbing’ and for information only. The route via Ogwen is unclear – with some sources stating Llyn Ogwen as a point while others stating Ogwen Cottage. As the peaks seem to be the checkpoints, we’ve gone for the far end of Llyn Ogwen as this then avoids the nasty ascent up PYOW from Ogwen Cottage.