Amalie, 9, Walks Welsh 3000s in 16.5 Hours

On Saturday 4th June, nine-year-old Amalie Smith Jarman from Lewes completed the Welsh 3000-ers in just 16 hours 35 minutes. Though we can't establish whether this is a record for a child, it is certainly a very impressive time for such a tough route.

Amalie and Dad Richard ready to start on Snowdon, 113 kb
Amalie and Dad Richard ready to start on Snowdon
© Richard Smith

The classic 24-mile-odd route over all 15 Welsh 3000-foot peaks is famously tackled as a sub-24-hour challenge, and while a time of about 12 hours between the first summit and the last is feasible for the strongest walkers, and the route has been run in as little as 4 hours 20 minutes, Amelie's time of 16:35 would be a major achievement for many of the adults who take on the route.

Amalie tells us that she'd dreamed of doing the Welsh 3000s in a day ever since she first walked them over 3.5 days, aged just four. 

'I have such happy memories of the adventure of it' she says.

She put in no training as such, but enjoys a lot of dance and sport at school. And crucially, she sounds hugely motivated and enthusiastic about the hills.

'My favourite part of hillwalking is the views, and the achievement at the end' she says. 

'I already have a UKC logbook and really enjoy scrambling, mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing.' 

'I've seconded up to to Severe [grade rock climbing], done loads of bouldering and soloed the Ledge Route (II) & Gully Three (I) last Easter in winter conditions.'  

On Crib Goch, 79 kb
On Crib Goch
© Richard Smith
A bit tired on the Glyderau, 80 kb
A bit tired on the Glyderau
© Richard Smith
Come on Dad..., 126 kb
Come on Dad...
© Richard Smith

Accompanied by her father Richard Smith, she set off from Pen y Pass in the early hours, climbing the Pyg Track to Snowdon's summit.

'This was hard' she says, 'because I don't like waking up in the morning.'

Once on top of Snowdon, they started the clock at 5:43am. 

'I shot up Garnedd Ugain and skipped along Crib Goch' says Amalie, 'then struggled down the scree on the North ridge off Grib Goch. A quick run down the road to Nant Peris, then the massive slog up Elidir Fawr.'

'I then decided to out pace my Dad up Y Garn. I didn't run much, only at the beginning, but I soared down Y Garn and zoomed up Glyder Fawr. I started to get tired at Castell y Gwynt, but trekked on to Glyder Fach. The big scree descent to Tryfan was really hard.'

Dad's not going to be able to keep up with her next time, 136 kb
Dad's not going to be able to keep up with her next time
© Richard Smith

But fuelled on her Grandma's out-of-date chocolates and pistachio nuts, she kept up the pace.

'The Carneddau range was another slog up and then a long, long walk along Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn and Yr Elen. I should have done Yr Elen before Carnedd Llewelyn, and I'll remember this when I do it next time.'

'Foel Grach, Carnedd Gwenllian and Foel-fras were hard as it was thick mist and cloud and Dad had to navigate off a map & compass in the dark.'

Amalie, who wants to inspire other kids, and especially girls, to get out in the hills, has already said that she'd like to do the Welsh 3000s again. Dad Richard thinks he'll need to find someone fitter and faster to accompany her next time...

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