Snowdonia April 2012

April 9th to 13th

Monday

Set off a bit late and had to return to collect my phone charging lead. Eventually got going and stopped at Morrisons in Oldham for diesel and a few supplies. Stopped at the services for a coffee and landed in Llanberis about 2 pm. It was so very wet that I decided to drive to Betws y Coed but it was so busy there I went on up to Dolwyddelan and walked across the bridge and back. Still very wet so back to Betws where the rain stopped for a bit. A quick spurt into Rock Bottom to buy cards, a book and some boot proofer.
Then it was time for the YH so I drove round to Idwal Cottage which is one of the very first four YHs that were set up and is next to Lynn Ogwen nestled into the mountains. It’s a four star hostel and does seem nice. No meals are provided here so it’s all self cookers which is how the YHA used to describe us. The warden is Damian and I’ve arranged to give him my route plan each day.
I then self cooked  chicken curry and rice and peas which was nice and have chatted to a couple, he American, she Portuguese and a family from Cornwall mum dad and two teenage girls.
No signal so rang home on pay phone.
It’s gone very quiet in the sitting room!
Dolwyddelan in the rain

Tuesday

Last night turned into a farce. Sarah the Portuguese and somewhat sulky madam it has to be said although perhaps just very tired and Michael the American skipped off so I gave S 15 mins and went to room 6.  I was just brushing my teeth when Michael came in. We worked out I had been allocated the wrong key and room as his card had a little m for man on it. I suggested he could go in with S if he wanted but we decided to stick with the status quo as S was already asleep and neither M nor I wanted to remake beds. M skipped into bed v quick and I went and changed in the loo. If you don’t move when sitting on loo the light goes out so you have to wave.
I don’t think either M or I slept very well.
Today I let Damian know what had happened and it turned out I needed to be in the right room as tonight room 6 is full of men! He was most apologetic but I said M and I thought it was funny and how the YH originators would be turning in their bunks!
D said he would move my things to room 7. M was quite nice but had a beard which is not my fave thing! Of course my actual friends with beards are different (just in case Nigel reading this).
Breakfast of coffee muesli and yoghurt. Gave route to D and set off.
Start of walk up Pen yr Ole Wen is very steep involving clambering up big outcrop and so it continued. The book I have just read said this is one of hardest ascents in Snowdon land! And it was. Wish I had read that bit before I started out. It’s 1 in 2 most of the way. Lots of scrambly bits and hard to keep on path. I reached the snow and kept on for a while but it got slippery and after a few slides and some hailstones and having strayed off the path a bit I decided to return. I got to 820m which was still not bad. After I’d got past the snow section tracking my own footsteps in proper Ray Mears style, I stopped for lunch in a rocky hollow looking over to Cwm Idwal and the Glyders. Finding the path on the way down was easy apart from some sections where I had to go down on my bum. It made me realise I had not actually used the path for a lot of the ascent which had made it harder.
Nearing the end I came across a group of people being assessed for ML using a confidence rope. They were from Bedfordshire and I wished them well.
Back to the YH by 3 and D said I could go in so had benefit of early shower.
Self cooked a dinner of mutton stew, rice and peas. Very nice. Drank a bottle of beer working my way through the range from Conwy brewery. Read books in the peaceful sitting room and went to bed about 10. Big sneezes and feel v snuffly.  No more bedroom farce as I now have a girls’ dormitory and 4 bunks to myself.
Llyn Ogwen
Helicopter over on Tryfan
Weather coming
Down to Llyn Ogwen
Across to Llyn Ogwen with Llyn Bochlyd behind left and Llyn Idwal behind right
Bridges over outflow of Llyn Ogwen

Wednesday

Slept much better although  wake feeling  like I have a cold. Take 2 paracetamols. Usual breakfast but the kitchen is organised chaos with the females of the party of 11 who arrived last evening making a regimented set of packed lunches. I sort of hate them but I’m a bit grizzly today. I manage a loathing of grandfather who boils both kettles at once until I ask him if he needs both. Perhaps he did as so many of them. Also loathe big man who just does nothing but get in the way.
I can only cope with self cooking if don’t talk to anyone as easy to be distracted with so many people moving about.
I drive to Bethesda on the old single track road and get paracetamols, Welsh whisky, a newspaper and a box of tissues in Spar.
Back at the hostel I give Damian my route plan and he will move my bag into 3rd and last room of my stay. This is a single room.
I set off to Llyn Idwal so named because Idwal was pushed in by his step brother and drowned. The brother inhabits the Twll Du or Devil’s Kitchen. I take the right hand path and meet a fellow hosteller who has been up and down the kitchen in 2 hours. It takes me 2 hours to get to Llyn Cwn (dog lake) at the top of the kitchen! The steps are giant sized and near the top it starts to hail, the devil is serving up a very chilly meal. I meet a man and boy. Man is wearing a leather biker jacket and jeans. I remember wearing the same in Blackpool during a torrential downpour. We then went to Flamingoes club and my jacket was so heavy when I took it off and it dripped into pools on the floor. At the lake I have a short break and then turn right.  The hail comes hard and fast but I am dry, it’s just noisy. Up to Y Garn for lunch. Chat to man and 2 sons who are doing huge long walk. Poor boys. Then to  family of mum,  dad and 2 boys who are doing my route in reverse. Dad is wearing a lot of money! Haglofs and Arcteryx.
I find the path down which is steep at first but once that’s over it’s an easy and pleasant walk down and the sun comes out.
Back at the YH at 3.30 for a shower and my new single room which is small and has a divan bed in it! Damian has kindly made up my bed again.
I read the paper and realise that I have not much idea of what is going on in the world. This is mainly because of Terry Wogan. When he retired from breakfast on Radio 2 I started listening to Today on Radio 4 but this just made me cross and I need something nice to listen to on my drive to work. So I forked out for a digital radio and this is great I now have Radio 4 Extra in the morning but the downside is no 2 min snippets of news so any that does drift my way is usually a surprise. Suspect it’s actually fine not to clutter head up. There’s enough going on in our lives anyway.
Suddenly remembered I’d not checked back in with Damian. He is very helpful and suggesting good routes for me.
Had the kitchen to myself mostly which was nice. Tonight beef and veg casserole with carrots and pasta. I am eating camping food so the mains are Look What We Found meals then pasta and rice in ready cooked in pouches plus extra veg is tinned. All working out well for me. I wanted food that would be easy and not stress me out in the communal kitchen madness.
For me using my own cutlery etc. works well too as don’t have to think about other people’s hygiene or rather their total lack of it.
Tonight will have a Celebration beer.
I went to bed early as the head cold is gripping me.
YH Idwal Cottage
Gate leading to Tryfan and the Glyders
Llyn Idwal and Cwm Idwal
Part of the Devil’s Kitchen
Across to another big mountain
East ridge of Y Garn
Big ‘un, will check to see what it is
I just liked the clouds
Army helicopter

Thursday

Woke up at 7 trying to decide whether or not to walk because being full of cold. In the end took Damian’s suggestion which was for a less high circuit than the Glyders.
I set off at 10 and got to Llyn Bochlyd before 11. Then it’s a short and stunning ascent to the Bwlch or col. At this point it would have been straightforward to climb up to Tryfan but I decided not to as this was not the plan. I continued to sneeze my way round Tryfan, heading towards the N.
I climbed up and got onto the Heather Terrace. This is not at all like the quiet suburban terrace that it made me think of.  Well it was quiet.  it’s a path that winds round the base of the flanks of the rock giant of Tryfan. My walk was more interesting rock wise now that I’ve been learning about the geology and I could actually identify volcanic tuff, an odd name. The Heather Terrace is well named, at times it’s very lofty and you know you are high but it’s not too airy and not exposed as Tryfan provides good shelter.
I lunched on the Terrace, this sounds ridiculous now. I lunched perched at a great height overlooking Cwm Tryfan. For Kate – every day I have had garlic pitta filled with salami, Emmenthal cheese, spring onion and cherry tomatoes. And fruit and a thick slice of malt loaf.
I kept going along the terrace which was hard work requiring much concentration. Some climbers dangled but I only met one other walker who overtook me.
Took various photos of rocks as these have now more interest as I’ve been reading about geology. I think I’ve more hope of observing the rocks than birds that disappear before I’ve even focussed on them or small yellow plants and mosses and lichen that all look much the same.
I carried on gently mostly dropping down until Tryfan spits you out of a chute. I cut across the flattish bit to the road surprising some goats.
Then instead of going straight back along the road I crossed over and up behind a farm to go the whole length of Llyn Ogwen on the far side. It was a bit boggy but ok with care. I passed an old WW2 pill box and was a bit surprised that it was there as would be hard for the Nazis to reach it, there must have been an expectation that they would come that far but I wonder what they would have been aiming for? I saw another one on the Llanberis Pass too, memo must ask Mr Mel Jones about these. Then back to Idwal Cottage. There was a car parked next to mine filled with chavs and I didn’t like the look of them and hoped they weren’t hostellers although I was also trying to be open minded, I tried but failed. It was 4 pm so I went in the YH with the key code and watched the chavs from my window and they then drove off. I’m sure I stopped them before they were up to no good, and probably no good with my car.
Shower this time in the middle one which only has the pinprick setting on the head, no place for gel and not vv hot. The other showers were better and have place for gel etc. the showers and loos all have lights which go off if you don’t move which is a little distracting.
Tip for hostelliing stay in a base, go out early and come back early then you get first showers and first use of kitchen.
My friends, the family from Cornwall came in and we had some laughs. They are very nice and dad gave me a walk to do. The youngest one has an infected ingrowing toenail so can’t walk.
Dinner of pasta, beef bolognese and sweet corn.
Got D to give me a stamp to paste in my YH booklet and am now drinking Conwy Celebration beer as it was a great mountain day with no wet stuff and sunny.
I used GNSS on my iPhone with Memory Map to record the route. Surprisingly efficient.
Musings
My skin is dry and have splits on fingers. Need NuSkin.
Great not to drive and rely on feet, this has been excellent base.
Bruce said lots of things that made sense to me and my life for a good 10 years or so but then he lost me for about the last 10 years and the last 3 or 4 albums. Drivel and Dust being the nadir.  Wrecking Ball is back with me. I know this because I can hear the songs in my head although have not heard them all week plus he’s making sense again for me. Travelling over Rocky Ground in more than one way.  Hot  Damn! Looking forward to playing the album in the car.
I have now learnt more about the Girl Guide movement than I ever wanted to. Enough to drive me to drink. Had half litre of Jennings Lakes beer too.
Llyn Bochlyd
Back to Y Garn
I think this is some Pitts Head Tuff with a quartzite banding
Towards the sea
Back to Llyn Bochlyd
At the top of the Tryfan col
Across to some of the Carneddau, I think
Blue ridge mountains of Wales
Across huge Cwm Tryfan
Climbers on Tryfan
And another one
The A5
This is flow-banding
Heading down
A dear baby goatlet, running away!
Catching some rays
Llyn Ogwen
Tryfan, sadly photo not level
Cwm Ogwen
Pill box

Friday

Got up early and said goodbye to family from Cornwall. Finally exchanged names. They are Sarah, Steven, Danny and Lauren. They have been referring to me as the little lady. Little I can understand as they are all very tall. Thankfully they omitted the word old. As for the last bit they must be visually challenged.
Damian not in reception and am sorry not to thank him and say goodbye. Send my wishes to him via Jeroen who is standing in.
Steve takes photo of the little old lady.
Cold streaming today and feel crap with it.
Set off for Beddgelert and go to see his grave. Buy some cards to torment Chris with. I went in the church and a man was hoovering in there. He said something to me and I had to ask him to repeat it several times on account of the deafness. He said it was ok for me to come in and I’m afraid in my best snottiness I said “I should think it is, it’s a church.” That really was my mother speaking….
I went to a recommended ice cream cafe Cafe Glandwr on grounds they probably would do nice coffee if Italians. Cafe is nice and I am right.
Catch sight of steam train at station but decide not to travel on it.
Then set off for home stopping for lunch on the way. Arrived home about 4.30. Damian later sent me an email, he’s a very nice guy and really helped to make my walks interesting.
Outside Idwal Cottage
Paraglider at Beddgelert
Beddgelert church
All lies here!
Poor poor Gelert!
All aboard!

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Author: Jak

Mountain Leader.

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