Visit Southern Wales

Visit Southern Wales Blog

Archive for tag: Sport

The Christmas Pudding Run

This is the village of Merthyr Mawr near Bridgend.  It's an idyllic little settlement, as picturesque as they come, with an outstanding collection of thatched cottages positioned around an old village green.

Despite being a relatively small village, there's plenty of interesting places to visit.  The 'Dipping Bridge' was built in the 15th century, the holes in the sides allowed farmers to push their sheep into the River Ogmore for a seasonal dip!

Just down the lane lie the remains of Candleston Castle, once a 15th century fortified mansion house, whilst nearby Ogmore Castle is probably the most picturesque castle in Wales.

Just beyond the castle is one of the biggest sand dune systems in Europe.  It once stretched for miles, right around Swansea Bay and some of the dunes are as big as small mountains.  The dunes are an important wildlife habitat and site of scientific interest, which shelters a rich variety of plants. Parts of the Hollywood blockbuster 'Lawrence of Arabia' were filmed here.

Every year, just before Christmas, hundreds of amateur athletes descend on the village for the annual Christmas Pudding Run.

The race is a challenging multi-terrain, six mile run that winds its way through the sand dune system.  The route starts with an ascent of the highest single sand dune in Europe - the fearsome Big Dipper. 

But it doesn't end there, the race then continues with even more climbs, over rough moorland and through several streams before eventually the runners get to the finish line.

And the prize for completing this gruelling course……a Christmas pudding of course!

Wales Open Golf

Continuing to build on the success of hosting the 2010 Ryder Cup, the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport will find itself back in the golfing spotlight this week as it hosts the 2014 Wales Open.

First held in 2000 the tournament is now firmly established on the European Tour and attracts some of the biggest names in golf.  This year's competitors include Lee Westwood, Jamie Donaldson and Thomas Bjorn.

More information is available on the website

Historic Newport

Don't be fooled by the name.  Whilst it has plenty of modern features, NEWport has an abundance of historic attractions.

In fact, you can trace the area's history all the way back to Roman times.  Just to the north of Newport City Centre lies Caerleon.  A pretty, quiet town today, but 2000 years ago it was one of the furthest outposts of the might Roman Empire. 

And you don't have to look far to find traces of its past.  The remains of the amphitheatre, once the site of blood thirsty "entertainment" and the barracks, once home to 5000 soldiers are prominent, whilst the baths and National Roman Legion Museum are also well worth a visit.

Elsewhere, the area's history encompasses a medieval ship discovered beneath the mud of the River Usk, a 17th century mansion, once home to some rather eccentric aristocrats, and one of only eight Transporter Bridges still operating anywhere in the world.

It's not all about the history though.  The area does contemporary too.  It boasts some of the best and most luxurious hotels and resorts in the Southern Wales region. 

For instance, the Celtic Manor can be found here - you can stay in one of their five star bedrooms, enjoy a sumptuous meal in one of the restaurants, relax and unwind in the spa or enjoy a round of golf on one of their three courses - just like some of the world's best golfers did when the Ryder Cup was hosted here in 2010.

To find out more about visiting Newport, click on the link

Tour de Cymru

Event - Tour of Britain
Location - The Tumble, Abergavenny
Date - 9 September 2014
For more information visit the website

Fresh from hosting the British National Road Race Championships in June, top class cycling returns to Abergavenny this September as the town hosts the finish of the 3rd stage of the 2014 Tour of Britain.

The race has finished in Caerphilly for the past three years and has seen tens of thousands of people flock to the town and nearby Caerphilly Mountain to catch a glimpse of the action and create a superb party atmosphere.

The fans are sure to be out in force this year as well, with the riders taking on a route that will see them start out in the Mid Wales town of Newtown. 

The peleton will continue south with the road taking them through Knighton, Builth Wells and Brecon and over some tough climbs in the Brecon Beacons National Park.  The action will then culminate with a climb to the top of the Tumble Mountain above Abergavenny, a route that could suit local favourite Geraint Thomas.

The cyclists taking part will be confirmed nearer the time, but previous participants have included former world champions Thor Hushovd and Mark Cavendish, current Giro d'Italia champion Nairo Quintana  and ex-Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

Seniors Get in the Swing

Event - Seniors Open Golf
Location - Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

Date - 24-27 July 2014
For more information visit the website

The biggest sporting event of the year in South East Wales is almost upon us.  Golf's senior British Open gets underway at the Royal Porthcawl golf course next Thursday.  It will be the first time that Wales hosts a major championship.

Some of the sport's legendary figures are due to take part including Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie.  They'll all be competing to follow in the footsteps of 2013 champion, Mark Wiebe, and claim first prize in what promises to be an exciting weekend of top golf action.

For more information on the tournament, including how to secure tickets, please visit the website.

Survival of the Fittest

Event - Celts Survival Run
Location - Kenfig National Nature Reserve, Porthcawl
Date - 23 August 2014
For more information visit the website

This is most definitely not a gentle fun run.  It's not even a marathon with a few gentle challenges thrown in along the way.  Oh, no. This is the Celts Survival Run - an International Extreme Endurance Event.

At 50km long the course would be tough enough on its own, but this is not a straight forward race.  As well as running that extreme distance, competitors will be expected to overcome a series of brutal obstacles.

The route takes the competitors through the stunning scenery of the Kenfig National Nature Reserve and along the South Wales coast to the huge Merthyr Mawr sand dunes before finishing at Ogmore Castle, not that the runners will have a chance to appreciate their surroundings.

The race will put competitors in true survival mode and challenges along the route may include carrying, climbing, throwing, digging, building and swimming.  Not many people will finish the course; fewer still will have completed all the obstacles along the way.

Most of the challenges will not be revealed until the day of the race, so competitors will have to be ready for anything.

Are you tough enough to give it a go?

(Please note, this is an extremely tough and dangerous race.  It is only for very fit and very experienced ultra-marathon runners.  If that's not you, then do not enter)

Seniors Open Comes to Porthcawl

Event - Seniors Open Golf
Location - Royal Porthcawl Golf Club
Date - 24-27 July 2014
For more information visit the website

The biggest sporting event of the year in South East Wales is rapidly approaching.  Golf's senior British Open is coming to the Royal Porthcawl golf course, meaning that Wales is set to host a major championship for the first time.

Some of the sport's legendary figures are due to take part including Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie.  They'll all be competing to follow in the footsteps of 2013 champion, Mark Wiebe, and claim first prize in what promises to be an exciting weekend of top golf action.

For more information on the tournament, including how to secure tickets, please visit the website.

Newport 360

Roman CaerleonStanding on the banks of the River Usk, the city of Newport and the surrounding area is packed with things to see and do.

And now to help you find your way about, a new tourism guide has been launched.  Called Newport 360, the guide hears from local people about what visitors can expect to find on a visit to the city and the wider region.

Amongst the highlights you can expect to find on a visit is the iconic Transporter Bridge.  It is one of only eight such bridges remaining in the world.  Built in 1906, the elaborate design was needed in order to allow tall ships to pass up the river to Newport Docks.  Today visitors can cross the river on the suspended gondola or the brave can climb the stairs and cross the high level walkway, a mere 177 feet above the ground.  Enjoy the view.

From the top of the Transporter Bridge, you should be able to spot Tredegar House on the outskirts of the city.  Standing in 90 acres of glorious parkland, the estate was once the home of the aristocratic and somewhat eccentric Morgan family.  Visitors can explore this National Trust property and discover how both the masters and their servants lived and worked.

Newport's history goes back even further.  All the way back to Roman times in fact.  The small town of Caerleon to the north of the city was once the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire and home to hundreds of soldiers.  Today, visitors can explore the remains of the legion's amphitheatre, barracks and baths whilst the National Roman Legion Museum tells the town's story.

Head from Roman times up to the 21st century, and 2010 in particular.  The  eyes of the sporting world focused on Newport when Golf's Ryder Cup was staged at the Celtic Manor Resort.  The tournament put this world class resort firmly in the spotlight and it now boasts 3 world class golf courses including the famous 2010 course which saw Europe triumph in dramatic circumstances.

It's not only the golf that makes a visit to the Celtic Manor worthwhile.  The resort boasts a luxurious 400 room hotel together with fine dining restaurants and spa facilities. 

There's plenty of other accommodation available in the area with high quality accommodation available from the like of Hilton and Holiday Inn whilst for something a little bit different you can stay in a lighthouse overlooking the Severn Estuary.

To download your copy of the Newport 360 visitor guide, please click here

Extreme Sailing Comes to Cardiff

Event - Extreme Sailing & Harbour Festival
Location - Cardiff Bay
Date - 22-25 August 2014
For more information please visit the website
Extreme sailing returns to Cardiff Bay as part of the annual Harbour Festival.

The confines of the bay provide a natural viewing platform for the public to watch the sporting entertainment unfold.  With the boats hitting high speeds, crashes, capsizes and near misses are all common place and add to the excitement of the day.

Back on dry land, the annual Cardiff Bay Harbour Festival will be in full swing. The Cardiff Bay beach will be open as will the ever popular continental market.  There'll also be plenty of live music and fun and games for all the family.

Take a look at the video to see what happened at last year's event.

Speedway Comes to Town

SpeedwayEvent - FIM British Speedway GP 2014
Location - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Date -12th July 2014
Millennium Stadium Website
Speedway Grand Prix Website

For the 14th year in succession, the Millennium Stadium will come alive to the roar of motorbike engines as the FIM British Speedway GP races into the capital city.

The world's top riders will fight it out to be number one in this exciting, adrenaline fuelled event for the whole family.

For those that have never been to speedway the rules are simple. Four riders keep turning left over four laps of an oval track with each race lasting less than a minute.

Seems simple enough. Except that the riders race 500cc, single geared machines with no breaks!

Hold on tight