Elton

Elton Angle-Smith is an experienced fell runner who for the last year has been documenting his daily adventures on Instagram. He talks to us about running around the awe inspiring Welsh landscape and the buzz he gets from a big ascent

Describe yourself and your outdoor adventures

“I’m from York and originally with a military background. I guess after leaving the Army, I got involved with York Mountaineering Club and started climbing and going on trips to the Lake District, so my outdoor adventures never really began as a ‘civvy’ until I was about 20 and then I was hooked! I got into road cycling in the late nineties after a stint racing mountain bikes, with some success.

These days I’m a freelance outdoor instructor/guide, with my own guiding business, ‘Two Feet, Two Wheels’ based in beautiful Northern Snowdonia. As well as this, I also assist in leading groups in our local slate mines, which is fantastic fun, unless you’re scared of the dark and huge heights!”

When did you start fell running?

“It was a natural progression from walking the mountains. I’d often run down in my heavy boots and rucksack, taking the occasional fall, destroying expensive Oakley sunglasses in the process! No broken bones…yet. So really, I’ve only been running the fells and mountains for about 2 years, but have been running on and off since my mid-twenties, I’m 40 now!”

What drew you to it?

“I wanted that feeling of moving ‘fast and light’ over rough ground. The fact I could cover large distances in a short time was quite appealing and that absolutely buzzing feeling when you’re bouncing along across rocks with your mind and vision focused – the feeling of achievement after negotiating tough sections without taking a flyer! Fell running requires a lot of concentration, unlike road running, but every now and again, on descents for example, you just have to switch your brain off and go for it. So I like the element of risk and danger too, but I’m always aware of that risk so don’t take too many chances.”

Do you have a favourite route?

“I have a favourite low-level route. It’s about 11km and it takes in the beautiful Cwm Bychan and Aberglaslyn Pass around Beddgelert, with stunning views of the Snowdon Horseshoe to the north and the Moelwyns to the east and south. It’s very technical with a nasty, steep climb pretty much from the start; a real lung and leg-buster! If I want peace with few people, a mid-week high-level run around the Carneddau mountains is just wonderful.”

We love how you capture the raw beauty of the welsh landscape in your photographs- do you have a favourite shot?

“Wow this is a very tough question! There is so much beauty here and the same view can differ so much, depending on the weather and light. The view from Yr Aran looking north into the maw of Cwm Tregallan on Snowdon’s south side is very impressive and awe-inspiring, with Y Lliwedd sloping up to the east, but the view from the south whilst running in the Moelwyns towards Snowdon is beautiful.”

What is the longest/ most challenging run you have done so far?

“Another tough question! The longest was the Snowdonia Trail Marathon in 2015 at just short of 29 miles and 1,800 metres of ascent, but I found this easier than the local Ras Pedol Peris arranged by my running club, Eryri Harriers, an absolute killer of a race at 18 miles with 2,590 metres of ascent! Taking in the Glyders, Y Lliwedd and Snowdon this is not for the faint-hearted; I managed to get around in 4 hours 59 minutes!”

Have you got any other challenges in the pipeline?

“A few actually. I’d like to run the Yorkshire Three Peaks, having walked it and worked it a few times. I’m also now looking at doing recces for the Paddy Buckley round (61 miles, 47 mountains with 28,000 feet of ascent) here in Snowdonia. I’m running the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of May, as well as the Snowdonia Trail Marathon in July and the Glencoe Marathon in October. After that, well, just training for ultras. I’m toying with running the Coast to Coast, self-sufficient. I’d certainly be keen on the Dragon’s Back Race before too long… watch this space!”

Elton runs guided fell running experiences, if you are interested in trying fell running for yourself click here

All photos are Elton’s own. For more pictures from Elton’s Instagram click here