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 AGSD-UK Conference,
 Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre,  Bedfordshire. 
 20-21 October 2018


 GSD Camp (click here)

 Whitemoor Lakes

 Lichfield, Staffs.

 28-30 September 2018



Walking with McArdle's - Wales 2014

Back for the fourth year running: North Wales, 16th-23rd July and 1st-8th August 2014

Following the huge success of the course in 2013 (when there were 14 of us – the largest group ever), we are back again with the same format for another great opportunity to experience walking with other people who have McArdle's, to learn from others all about the techniques which make walking safe and enjoyable. You can do this in a holiday atmosphere, with a friendly and understanding group and in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park in North Wales.

This year we have a week for McArdle people only AND a week for McArdle people plus a partner (coukd be partner, friend, spouse, parent). We will offer a choice of two walks on most days - one at an easier grade with level and downhill walking, and the other at a more advanced grade with some challenging climbs. So each day you can choose the grade that suits you, or of course just have a rest day.

Previous courses: Get a good idea of the courses - see some of the photos and comments from last year here. See the bottom of the page a link to Siobhan Murray’s blog of last year and links to past courses – read about the experiences of participants.

We can help guide you in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, with no worries about embarrassment or competition.

The Leader
‘Walking with McArdle’s’ is organised and led by Andrew Wakelin who led the Walk over Wales' in 2010. (You can read about WoW here.) Andrew has McArdle's himself (two copies of the common R50X mutation) so he knows exactly what you go through. Andrew, 64, has walked in Wales for many years and knows the area well. He is the AGSD-UK's Type V Coordinator.

What you will gain
We have set out here hints and tips which we shared with others on the walking courses in past years. The participants found that walking with fellow McArdle's people was a real joy with a lot of laughs and had the benefit of true understanding from fellow walkers, making the walks relaxed, enjoyable, confidence boosting and hugely rewarding. Also, having plenty of time to discuss our condition was a blessing. We hope you will join us and feel the same.

We aim to teach you the best techniques for walking with McArdle's, so that you can gain in confidence. We will help you to improve your aerobic fitness and reduce the risk of muscle injury. You will gain confidence in managing your need for rests, without embarrassment. You are likely to improve your motivation to undertake regular exercise - with all its well proven physical and mental health benefits. Past participants have gone home feeling confident that they can exercise safely and with the desire to expand their McArdle's boundaries, inspired by what they achieved during the week.


The programme
This is a training course but with an accent on having fun and enjoying ourselves in a beautiful setting. The walks will be enjoyable in their own right as well as providing the opportunity to compare notes with other people with McArdle's and gain practical experience of the subjects we cover.

We will be running a series of not too formal theory sessions plus there will be plenty of opportunity for discussions. The programme will include: aerobic versus anaerobic, the aerobic to anaerobic continuum, second wind, the six second rule, starting on the flat, effect of terrain and surface, slow and steady, regular rests, headwinds, benefit of walking poles, correct use of walking poles, walking with non-McArdle people, route planning, eating on walks, hypoglycaemia, hydration, zig-zag technique, stepping up, bad pain versus good pain, etc. We hope that we will be joined on at least one day by a member of staff from the the UK McArdle Clinic.

Rules of the road
We have some simple 'rules of the road' here for walking in a McArdle's group. These ensure that everyone is looked after and so we ask all participants to agree to follow them.

The walking
We have an extensive schedule of pre-planned walks available, all geared to the needs of people with McArdle's. There is no need to feel worried - we plan walks to suit the participants and we all have McArdle's. Our location in the centre of the National Park gives us many choices of wonderful walking. The options range from level walks around lakes, canal towpaths, old railway lines, valley walks and coastal walks. For those who wish to go higher and have a greater challenge, there will be that option on most days - when we will split into two groups, one for a level walk and one for a harder grade and more committing walk. For those that wish there will be the opportunity to summit a peak, weather permitting.

We will decide on each day's walk to suit the capabilities of the members of the group, and the weather. Walks are planned to provide (wherever possible) opt-out points along the way, so that if anyone feels not up to completing the walk they can be collected by car. You will be fully briefed at the outset of the walk so you know what to expect. The early walks will have opt-out points no more than 1 to 2 miles apart, in order that you can be confident to join the walk. We will start with shorter walks and gradually build up during the week.

Our list of walks to choose from is endless, but includes (L=Level, D=Downhill, S-Slight inclines, H=Higher grade):
L - Mawddach Trail - old railway line down estuary and across railway viaduct to Barmouth
D - Aberglaslyn Pass - level valley walk folllowed then down a gorge.
L - Menai Bridges - along the shore of the Menai Straits.
L - Horseshoe Falls to Pontcysllte - along the canal towpath and over the aquaduct.
L - North Wales Coast Path - part of the old railway and coastal walk from Bangor towards Prestatyn.
H - Moel Siabod - the peak right next to our base, views of mountains all around.
D - Nant Francon - down the old lane from Ogwen Cottage to Bethesda.
H - Cadair Idris - transit of this icon range.
S - Ynys Llanddwyn - forest trail, beach, low tide crossing to island.
S - Precipice Walk - circular route around a hilside with views down to the sea.
H - Summit Snowdon - a choice of routes to the highest point in Wales.
H - Cnicht - a circuit of Cwm Croesor taking in "the Matterhorn of Wales".
D - Down Snowdon - take the rack and pinion railway to the summit and walk down the Pyg Track to Pen-y-pass.
L - Bangor - follow the old railway line down the valley into Bangor.

Our accommodation
These are both self-catering accommodations and everyone will join in helping to make breakfasts and packed lunches. We will prepare some evening meals and on other evenings will eat out at local pubs or restaurants. Whilst we will all muck in, we have a supporter who will plan menus, buy the food and organise us in the kitchen.

For the July week we will be returning to the accommodation we used in 2013, which was well received by all course members. Bryn Engan is a converted farmhouse near Capel Curig in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. The farmhouse is owned by Plas-y-Brenin, the national mountaineering centre. The accommodation is in single rooms, all en-suite. Details and photos of the farmhouse are available by clicking here.  



For the August week we will be at Plas Colwyn in the heart of the village of Beddgelert. This is a comfortable famiy-style home. The accommodation is in a range of family, double, twin and single rooms, some en-suite. Details and photos of Plas Colwyn are available by clicking here.



Who can join in
Anyone with a confirmed diagnosis of McArdle disease, wherever in the world you live. In order to fully participate in the opportunity you will need to be able to achieve 'second wind'. You should be able to walk on the flat (slowly, at you own pace and with whatever rests you need) for about a mile (1.5 km). If you are not yet able to do that, we have available some notes on starting an exercise programme which should help you to get to that level.

The cost
The cost of the course will be £300 GB Sterling (approx. $450 US) per person to include all accommodation, food, transport and activities for the week. This is based on a group of approx. 14 people. Concessions available for those in full time education, unemployed, retired, etc. Please contact us for details of concessions.

Travel to Wales
You will need to organise your own transport to Wales - we will organise collecting you from train or bus stations. Llandudno Junction is the nearest train station and is on the main line from London to Holyhead. If you come by car there is a car park available next to the farmhouse (accessed via a forestry track) and we will car-share with 3 or 4 cars during the week. For international travellers, we will advise you whether we can organise lifts from airports, or we will tell you how to get closer to our location by train. Please just get in touch and let us know your requirements.

What you need to bring
Please note that you will need to have lightweight walking boots or shoes with good grip soles, a waterproof jacket and a pair of telescopic walking poles. We have 5 sets of walking poles available for loan - please ask. We have prepared a suggested kit list available here.

The dates of the course are: Wednesday 16th to Wednesday 23rd July 2014

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Please use our on-line booking form here. Once your place is confirmed you will be asked to pay a deposit of £100 or the full amount. If you pay only the deposit the balance will be payable one month before the course.

For any further information and questions please email Andrew Wakelin on


All the links you need, and more, in one place:


Our base and Snowdonia


Background information


Reference to past events