Snowdonia October 2019

Monday 14th

I booked this short break when Carol was still alive. Arrived at Craflwyn Hall mid afternoon, staying in the stables again, a different stall from the last time I was there. That time I sustained an injury to my elbow and Carol looked after me from a distance, sorted out a GP appointment for me. Dinner was tapas which I enjoyed but some of the other guests didn’t. Some people are so gobby! Entertainment was a word square game. The team I was in won.

Tuesday 15th

Drove to Trawsfynydd which is mostly known for its ex nuclear power station. It was opened in 1965 after 6 years of building. Remained in operation until 1991. It will take 100 years to decommission. Just above it is Tomen y Mur Roman fort and small amphitheatre which was built in the first century and in operation for at least a hundred years and is still very evident on the ground but a hell of a lot less poisonous. After climbing the Norman motte and bimbling about I drove south from Talsarnau up tiny roads with green down the middle and branches hitting the car, out and in for a gate, continuing until the road stopped. Walked roughly 3 km along a fairly good level path, soggy and squelchy in places, to reach Bryn Cader Faner stone circle which was a delight. Back the same way. This time I met a farm truck and a van coming up so I had to reverse quite a way. The evening entertainment was Benjie and Mev who are local birds of prey experts, not a C&W duo. They were knowledgeable and interesting.

Wednesday 16th

Car free day. Walked from the house straight up the hill behind, which is the lower slopes of Yr Aran, a sub peak of Snowdon. A nice mountain walk without going very high. Passed old mine. Some boggy bits. Eventually joined up with the Watkin path. Stopped in Caffi Gwynant for a coffee and a scone. Walked back to the house along the east side of Llyn Dinas on a very good well made path. Only one heavy shower early on. Sunny mostly. Unfortunately the best photos of the walk past Llyn Dinas were corrupted. Another very irritating woman staying here. I’m getting good at walking away. Entertainment was the quiz. My team came second. There are 31 guests in the house, some of whom are Brexiteers, some think it’s ok to make “jokes” about sexual violence, one thinks bereavement is the same as divorce and at least 7 who are decent human beings with respect for others and a developed sense of right and wrong. I have trouble with those who lack self awareness. I don’t expect everyone to be emotionally tip top all the time but I do think people could develop their interpersonal skills before letting themselves out of the house. My best shirt is wasted on them.

Thursday 17th

Leisurely breakfast. Heavy rain expected so I drove quite a way to a National Trust property, Plas yn Rhiw. I’ve really had my money’s worth out of the NT membership fee this year, at least twice over, if not more. Makes up for the years when all I did was park the car. It was a nice little house previously owned by the 3 Keating sisters who were an interesting bunch and rebuilt this house in a stunning location looking out across the bay. Then the rain came, on and off. Had my lunch in the car. Went and looked out over to Bardsey island. Through a torrential downpour to Betws y Coed to see if there were any outdoor kit bargains, there weren’t. The rain settled in heavily. The mental and emotional toll of grief is obvious but I hadn’t even considered the physical aspects, the sapping of energy, lethargy, continued poor sleep, fatigue, reduced muscle strength, low stamina. I am working on all of these. Feels like slow progress. At least my left leg muscles match the right leg, 6 months later.

Friday 18th

To Llannymawddwy through more downpours. However they more or less stopped as I parked up. This is a place Carol and I went to several times (misnamed by me as Pennant in that blog post) when we used to stay at Llanfechain. Carol liked it because we could be in the mountains without having to actually climb one. It’s a gentle walk up to a col, about 100m of up to 1 km of length. We never saw anyone else and I didn’t today. We last went there in March 2015, after getting our civil partnership upgrade. I buried some more of Carol’s ashes at the col overlooking the east valley. It’s such a lovely spot, with valleys east and west. Constant sound of tumbling waterfalls. Back at the car, the rain came on again. I decided it would be ok to do the mountain road and it was though I was cautious through the flooded bits. The really scary bit of road has had big new barriers put up which I was grateful for. Round Lake Vyrnwy and then to Oswestry to get some veg. On the spur of the moment I stopped at Chirk Castle, knocking up yet another National Trust property visited this year. I got wet because I’d failed to take my brolly. It took a long time to get home because of the terrible weather.

Cader Idris from the north side 30th May 2016

After leaving Borth I bought a salami, Emmenthal and coleslaw baguette from Matt’s (excellent) Deli in Bow Street. Had an espresso there too.

Got to Ty Nant car park near Dolgellau at about 10.30. I parked in the last space but was not happy as the vehicles either side had both parked really greedily. Then I saw there was an overflow car park so I took the motor in there. I went to buy a parking ticket. The machine took my money, failed to issue a ticket and failed to return my money. Cross! Went back to car and wrote a notice to this effect. All this buggering about meant I only started walking at 11.00.

Beautiful day, sunny and hot. Memo, must remember sun screen, P20. Managed ok with Bron’s sun screen on the way up and then I just covered up for the descent which was hot but better hot than burnt.

It’s a fairly steady and easy ascent most of the way. It took me 2.5 hours to reach the top. I had my lunch there once I’d got away from the crowds.

Descended using the same route and got back to the car just after 3.30 so only 1.5 hours down. About 750m of ascent.

P1050253

P1050226
Llyn y Gader

P1050238

P1050222

Towards Barmouth
Towards Barmouth

P1050220

IMG_0911

 

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

MAPandCOMPASS

Archaeology of North Wales – Mountain Leader CPD

Saturday 19th September

I arrived at Cefn Cae campsite in Rowen at 6.50, it only took 2 hours and 20 mins to get there. I had just enough time and light to get the tent up and my dinner cooked. I had a Look What We Found meal with rice cooked up in my Jetboil. The campsite cost £13 for the night and was a newly certificated Caravan and Camping Club site, it was very clean and well looked after. They operate an honesty system for buying quite an extensive range of supplies and I didn’t have to pay extra for a shower.

After dark, I read my book for a while. The stars were amazing and I could see the Milky Way.

Moon on Tay y Fan
Moon on Tal y Fan

IMG_0877 IMG_0878

Dawn on Tal y Fan
Dawn on Tal y Fan

Sunday 20th September

I’ve never really managed to sleep properly in a tent but this wasn’t too bad. I was warm enough especially with my little blanket. It was cold in the night and there was a heavy dew when I gave up sleep about 5.30. I had a cup of tea and then 2 cups of coffee and my breakfast of granola and yoghurt. I got to see the red dawn on Tal y Fan which was wonderful.

I packed up and drove up to Caer Rhun Roman fort (Canovium). There’s not a right lot to see, don’t be misled by the photo on the website, but the church is nice although it wasn’t open.

Then I met up with the group in the lay-by down the road. Jane Kenney is a senior archaeologist from the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. The workshop is part of the CPD made available to members of the Mountain Training Association. The requirement is for 5 CPD points over 5 years and this is my second point since gaining the ML.

10 of us in the group. We got into 3 cars and drove up to a small car park some way above Rowen. We set off and the first thing to look at was the Roman road.

We then looked at long huts (rectangular), cairns with cists, hut circles, standing stones, a burnt mound and then a very good stone circle where we stopped for lunch. Jane was very good at getting us to look more closely at the structures and how to interpret them. She also didn’t try to give us all the answers as there is a lot that is not known and subjective but she clearly has a great breadth of knowledge. We then moved on past a reservoir and up to a slate quarry which is hidden away. Then it was time to head back passing 2 very prominent burial chambers, back onto the Roman road again and another stone circle just near the car park.

Fabulous, informative day with an expert. And a bargain to boot!

Last year’s walk.

We got back to lay-by around 5.15 and I got home at 7.45.

Burial chamber
Maen y bardd burial chamber

Church at Caerhun, sitting on the Roman fort
Church at Caerhun, sitting on the Roman fort

I think this is a green man
I think this is a green man

Big standing stone
Big standing stone

And another, not quite so huge
And another, not quite so huge

A cist
A cist

Very cheeky pony
Very cheeky pony

Stone circle
Stone circle

Another big standing stone
Another big standing stone

A peat house for storing peat
A peat house for storing peat

Burial chamber, marked on map as such
Burial chamber, marked on map as such

Burial chamber but not prominently marked on map
Maen y bardd burial chamber

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

MAPandCOMPASS

Mountain Leader Assessment 2014

Day 1 Saturday May 3rd

Met up with Paul (assessor), Sue and Kev (fellow candidates) in Cafe Siabod. After a briefing we set off towards Moel Siabod and basically spent the day on micro nav on the lower reaches. I did some legs ok and some needed more attention. Quite an intense day of concentration.

Day 2 Sunday May 4th

Met up with all at Cafe Siabod. Paul introduced us to the assessor for the day who took us to Ogwen Cottage and we set off towards the lake and the same rocks I had been on the weekend before. It was hard for all of us to know when to bring the rope out as the rocks were all quite scoot up able. But we did and then we were asked to cross the scree and went back down to the path. We took another route up and did some more belaying. Also did confidence roping, abseil discussion. I had a difficult day and knew this would mean a deferral on the rope work.

Trying not to look provoked
Trying not to look provoked

How it should be done
How it should be done

IMG_2085

 

Day 3 Friday May 16th

We met up at Cafe Siabod towards mid morning. After a briefing we set off in 2 vehicles and parked up at the start of the Watkin path. We walked the first part and then veered off to the right to commence our circuit of Snowdon. An early lunch and then on individual  navigation legs. Towards late afternoon we arrived descended the Miners’ track to Llyn Llydaw and then went up to meet the PYG track which we crossed. We contoured round the start of Crib Goch and round to Llyn Glas which is a lovely lake nestled under Crib Goch. We set up camp, ate our boil in the bag meals and waited for the light to go. Sometime around 11pm, we set off for our night nav expedition. I really enjoyed this, so different from when I did this on the ML training. It was dry and clear and we pootled around quite near to the camp. To bed around 2am.

Lunch time
Lunch time

IMG_2097

Why Crib Goch is so called
Why Crib Goch is so called

Camp site
Camp site

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

 

Day 4 Saturday May 17th

After such a long day we all slept very badly, except Paul. The sea birds who live on the island in the lake were awful noisy all night long it seemed. We had a quick look to see the start of the cycle race, it looked a bit scary as they have to race with the traffic trying to get past them. Breakfast and then up towards the Llanberis path. We were now on the 1:50,000 maps. Discussion of route choice. Discussion of first aid scenarios. We crossed the path and moved over towards the Snowdon Ranger path. I was given another chance to demonstrate my rope skills on the cliff but was very nervous about it and made some errors again. We went down the path a bit and crossed to the Rhyd Ddu path. We contoured round and ended up next to a lake where we camped. This night we all rested well. It had been a good long trek round the mountain.

Paul on island in Llyn Glas
Paul on island in Llyn Glas

IMG_2117 IMG_2118

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

Paul Poole photo
Paul Poole photo

 

Day 5 Sunday May 18th

It was a short step round to the Watkin path from our campsite. We stopped to discuss river crossings and use of GPS. On getting back to the vehicles, Paul’s battery was completely flat so we went back in Kev’s car to Cafe Siabod. Debriefing, the other 2 passed (congrats both!) and I got a deferral to work on my rope work. Everything else was fine, just the rope work needing more attention. This was no surprise and I came away feeling really pleased as I only need to do 4 more hours of assessment on the rope. I have to wait 3 months before re-assessment.

Day 6 Friday September 26th

I stayed the previous night at Pen-y-Gwryd hotel where I’m now a regular. I met Paul at Cafe Siabod and we set off smartly to park up at Ogwen Cottage and then went up and round to the lake.

I did 2 pitches of ascent and the rock was wet so slippery and greasy which was good because it made me concentrate. We then moved over to descend to the north and I lowered Paul to a ledge where there was a sheep who was in danger of falling off if we frightened it so we beat a retreat. Paul soon found me a pitch to descend by. I got all my anchors ok and could talk about the choices I made, my knots were fine and my belaying technique was fine, using both hands (because being a leftie, I wanted to do be able to as had learnt it for right hand).

That was it, I’m now a Mountain Leader. It’s taken me a while to achieve this and I am now immensely pleased that I’ve got the award. I’m hugely grateful to my family and friends for all their love and support, especially the practical bits dangling off ropes in the wet and dark! And also to the professionals who have shared their love and passion for our native mountains with me. What’s next? watch this space!

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

MAPandCOMPASS

 

Mountain Leader refresher

Friday 25th April

Drove to the Pen y Gwryd hotel arriving just after 9pm. I unpacked and went to the residents’ bar for a couple of halves of beer. I met 3 brothers and their father and some others who were staying.

Saturday 26th April

I had the full Welsh breakfast and got to Capel Curig on time to meet up with Paul (trainer), Chris, Adam and Branwen at the cafe.

Walked out behind Moel Siabod cafe and basically did hours of intense navigation practice on quite lumpy and bumpy terrain with lots of little knobbles and nipples! The Clogwyn and Crimpiau area.

I found at one point that my compass wasn’t working properly which could have been because of the big iron stanchion I was next to but on further testing it was affected by my magnifier.

So I know now to keep my magnifier well away from the compass. I’ve also tested all my jewellery against the compass and my necklaces are ok but some of my bracelets are a bit suspect so I won’t wear them when I’m out with the compass.

This was a very active day running up and down hills and I felt pretty tired at the end of it but also reasonably confident that I do know what I’m doing and am not too bad at interpreting contours.

I went to Cobden’s hotel for my supper and had a risotto which was a bit greasy but tasty and inexpensive. I was later told this was not the best place to eat and it’s true the place is a bit neglected but my meal was actually quite ok and I didn’t suffer after eating it. There were lots of photos of Dylan Thomas and although I’ve looked, I haven’t worked out why.

Back at Pen y Gwryd, I met up with the 3 brothers and their lifelong friend and their dad and had a nice time drinking beer with them (these brothers were just here for the weekend, and not the brothers who run the hotel) and also with a lawyer called Nigel from London.

My wash basin can be hidden behind discreet curtain!
My wash basin can be hidden behind discreet curtain!

Wally the MR bear looking towards Snowdon
Wally the MR bear looking towards Snowdon

On the nav day
On the nav day

P1020798

Tryfan the stegosaurus
Tryfan the stegosaurus

Sunday 27th April

Back to the cafe to meet Paul, also Chris, Tim, Dan, Ken and Branwen. We set off to the Ogwen cottage, parking up on the road, and walked up to Llyn Idwal with helmets and ropes. We practised indirect belays, direct belays and the 3 types of descent methods – angel wings, traditional abseil and South African abseil. I felt much more confident about doing all of these and Paul reminded me that there is no need to rush anything on the assessment.

We then did some confidence roping and tried this across different sorts of terrain. This was useful as this is something I can imagine doing if a member of the party was injured or needed help.

We then went back down. Branwen and I went to Idwal Cottage for refreshments and I used the new facilities before heading off home. I got home in 2 hours and 20 minutes which was great as it took me nearly 3 hours to get there so am definitely sticking with the A55 as far as possible route for the future.

Practise, practise, practise now!

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

Practising on steep ground
Practising on steep ground

This was the rock we went up and down
This was the rock we went up and down

Long Welsh Weekend September 2013

IMG_1613
All alone at Dol Einion

P1020211
I didn’t put these in my dinner

P1020218
The old road

P1020212
Tal y Llyn

Friday 20th September
It took me just over 3 hours to reach Dol Einion camp site which is right at the foot of Cadair Idris. The path up the mountain leads out of the field.
When I got to the site there was no one around so I put the tent up in about 5 mins. I found Marian and gave her £8 plus £2 so I could leave the car on the site the following day.
I walked along the old road to Tal y Llyn which goes alongside Llyn Mwyngil. There were a lot of gates and I looked at some gravestones next to a church marked private. It was definitely warmer than the rest of the week but it was cloudy and dull and I felt a bit gloomy.
Back at the camp another vehicle had arrived so just me and them.
The site was flat but needed a tidy up and the loos and shower needed ripping out and starting again. Thank goodness for anti bacterial gel.
I cooked my supper before it got dark, Simon Rimmer lentil tikka masala. Hot spicy and actually not bad for dried food. I was testing it as dry food is so much lighter to carry when wild camping. It took 20 mins to cook and the pan was hard to wash out in the cold water sink in the field so not ideal. I had some cheese and pitta bread with it. I ate in the car because there were midges, I was camped next to the river that comes off the mountain plus the grass was long and damp. The anti midge spray did at least work.
Marian, the site owner told me the 16C church I tried to go in was sold off by Church of Wales and the villagers were upset. Even the churchyard which is still in use was sold off. The National Park didn’t help and the council awarded retrospective planning permission. Marian runs a heritage centre in the tiny chapel next door to the camp site and she does talks. I missed the last one today.
I got a minuscule phone signal at just a certain angle in just a certain spot on the car seat so had little text chat with C who I was missing.

Saturday 21st September
I was cold at first in the tent but threw everything off by the morning. I actually slept quite well for me in a tent.
Got up at 7.30 and had breakfast of muesli, yoghurt and jam (a Rachel’s corner pot) also some horrible old fruit tea and some old instant coffee which was not much better.
I waited for the low cloud and mist and drizzle to go but decided to head up anyway. I packed up everything except the tent in the hope it would be dry upon my return.
I set off at 9.45, straight away it’s a stiff climb up steps. I started to leap frog with a group of 5 Londoners and we did this most of the day. They were ok although I did try to leave them behind! Sometimes they were a little bit faster than me and it was nice to see the slow girl of the party ahead of me in the gloom. The mist kept up all the way to the top. I never saw the lake all day. At the top another path joins in and a very old lady thought I was in her party so we had a mad conversation with neither of us understanding what the other was on about although I did think she would get it when I said I was on my own and not in her group. There is a shelter at the top with a roof. It is the old tea shop from Victorian times when poor ponies dragged up the customers. Today it was soggy and crowded so I opted for soggy outside to eat my lunch and was rewarded with the sun burning off the cloud and showing me the cloud inversions and the route ahead.
I went off along big grassy bit to Mynydd Moel. Had a quick chat with the man from London and set off down the fence. Stopped for another chat with 2 men in jeans. Probably poofs. One of London girls was gay. We are everywhere! Then down, down through sun and cloud and back to the tent by 3.30.
The tent was nearly dry so I shoved it in the car and headed off to Dolgellau then Blaenau Festiniog through lots of low cloud. But after the mountain it was sun again all way to Betws y Coed and along to Capel Curig then a short bit of the A5.
Gwern Gof Isaf camp site is on the left just before Tryfan. It is cleaner and cheaper and more busy but I found a spot away from the rest. £5 for night.
I bought 2 shower tokens so 10 mins for £1.
After getting the tent up I went for my shower. The shower room is mixed gender so I took some outer layers off and reckoned that when the tokens went in I would still have some control as in an on off switch of some sort. The token machines were outside the cubicles and I wasn’t in the mood to be naked in front of 2 boys and a girl, so I had to rush in, take the rest of my kit off with the shower running. Luckily I had taken my clean clothes in a large strong plastic bag so it was ok but a bit annoying to have to choose between public nudity and wet clothes. Still it was a nice hot shower and I felt much better after it. I must remember flip flops next time!
Then back to tent to cook up Look What We Found meatballs and pasta. I did these as boil in the bag to reduce washing up.
I sat in the car to eat my supper. Then watched the flaming sun go down behind Tryfan and watched the clouds from inside the tent until it was dark. I treated myself to hot chocolate with rum, yum yum!! It was very windy so I put more pegs in.

IMG_1621
Roche moutonee, caused by glacial action on the bedrock

IMG_1622
Sun just appearing on summit of Cadair Idris

IMG_1626
Blazing fire behind farmhouse

P1020221
Mynydd Moel

P1020229
Back towards Cadair Idris

P1020231
Mynydd Moel onwards

P1020237
Llyn Cau tantalisingly out of sight

P1020243
River from Llyn Cau all the way to my camp site and Tal y Llyn

P1020244
Alpine

P1020246
Gwern Gof Isaf camp site

P1020247
Tryfan

P1020232

Sunday 22nd September
Not a good night. I’d been thinking of late that my shoulder injury was better but I couldn’t sleep on either one of my shoulders without it hurting and I was too tired to get up for painkillers. I went to sleep at 9.30 which is incredibly early for me and sort of slept on and off rolling around until 6.45.
It was windy overnight even lifting the floor of the tent at one point but I kept it in place and didn’t blow away!
Had my breakfast watching the sun rise in the lovely calm and warm with another river trickling past.
I packed up and struck camp. This always seems to take a while despite high levels of organisation. I guess having the car as an extra room inevitably means more clutter and more to keep in the right place.
10 mins to Capel Curig to Siabod cafe where the facilities were a bit better than the camp site although at least the site 2 had soap if not light in the loo. Site 1 had light but no soap and a big pong.
After accosting a range of men I found Paul Poole and a small group: Gary, Kirk, Viv and Bill. They had done refresher navigation the day before.
Paul showed us lots of books which I liked and most of which I’ve got. Then we set off towards Llanberis. We parked up opposite the big quarry and headed up with ropes and helmets. We practised anchor selection – tapping, kicking, checking for movement. Practised tying simple knots. Flaking the rope. Care of the rope. Indirect belay. I eventually got the hang of this by the end of the day. Anchor Belay Climber. ABC. Direct belay. Threading. Ascending using belays. Descending using belays. Descending using abseil to get self down only. Classic abseil. South African abseil. Confidence roping.
Still feel I need to practise all this a lot more but definitely felt more confident about it all than before.
It was a great day and I learnt a lot. Paul does modular assessments for ML as in 2 weekends, one a 3 day which is only a day off work. Not sure how much more I need to do in my log book but he will advise on this.
Off to Pen y Gwryd hotel. Nice old fashioned hotel. No keys for the locks, it operates on trust and has done for 75 years! I sat in the residents’ lounge supping a large glass of beer to celebrate having done a mini abseil and loved doing it. I was joined by David and later Gloria. The gong was banged and we had a good time talking so they invited me to join them to eat and gave me some wine.
I had melon with Parma ham, ok but in my heart of hearts I think this is an odd combination. I just ate it separately. Chicken, leek, mushroom with pastry rounds, new spuds, creamed celeriac and green beans. Lemon crusty sponge with jam.
In lounge again with John, Pam and Frank for coffee as well as Gloria and David.
Late to bed at 10.30. It was lovely to be in bed but I had to take all the heavy covers off.

IMG_1631
Moon over Tryfan

IMG_1632
Towards Pen y Pass

IMG_1635
Fiddling with ropes

IMG_1639
Instructor

IMG_1643
So happy!

IMG_1646
Small abseil but huge leap for me

IMG_1651
Welsh mountain goat

P1020248
Llyn Pen y Gwryd

Monday 23rd September
I awoke early, went to the loo, bumped into Gloria and couldn’t get back to sleep.
My morning tea arrived.
Breakfast at 8.30 summoned by the gong.
I had juice, sausage, poached egg and tomato with toast and coffee.
Said farewells to friends of night before.
Paid up and off to Llanberis. Went to V12 shop, I don’t know what that means and bought a Black Diamond rucksack that fits well. My last purchase doesn’t so I will sell it, it was designed for a longer back.
I had a coffee there and chatted with the staff. One of them does slack line walking and showed me a film of him doing this on Tryfan.
Then I went off above Betws and did a short forest walk, not very exciting but good nav practice as most of the forest tracks are not on the map.
Then home.

IMG_1654
Ye olde tub at PYG

P1020256
Private lake at PYG, one for Chris to swim in

P1020258
Alpine bar at PYG

P1020259
Edwardian bath, shower and thunder box, all original fittings

P1020260
Genuine Edwardian shower

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

Snowdonia May 2013

Sun May 26th

Started my day by achieving my 5km run which took me 35 minutes without stopping. It was hard but I’m pleased with this as I started from nothing run wise. I’m now going to keep it up and go for 10km. Today was only the 2nd time I’ve run that it was actually warm since I began 8 weeks ago.

A leisurely drive across to Idwal Cottage YH stopping at Tesco to buy some things I had forgotten like tea and coffee. I managed to forget quite a few things because I didn’t print out my list. Fatal. I’m in the same room as last year which is above the front door. Very compact but has wash basin.
Walked up to Llyn Idwal just as the sun was setting behind Y Garn. Cool wind as it disappeared but still shining on Tryfan.
Back for supper of pasta and veg in sauce that I made last night at home.
Chatted with Saskia the warden. Rampart beer.

West face of Tryfan
West face of Tryfan

Llyn Idwal and Pen yr Ole Wen
Llyn Idwal and Pen yr Ole Wen

Mon May 27th

Torrential downpour day. Angela turned up just after 9. We talked about Tryfan, about Bristly Ridge and about the Glyderau but decided that as we could barely see the bottom of any of these, that we would go shopping.
Managed to mooch around in Betws all day with 2 visits to the hotel with free wifi. One for coffee and bara brith, and back again for afternoon hot drinks.
Did buy a few things but either on sale or with big discounts thanks to BMC and MTA cards (20%).
To Tyn-y-Coed in Capel Curig for dinner. A had steak and I had chicken in leek and bacon cream sauce with mashed spud and frozen peas. Good.
Back to YH, chatted with Saskia.

In Idwal Cottage YH
In Idwal Cottage YH

Countryside code
Countryside code

Tues May 28th

A dry and almost fine day of weather in the morning. Angela arrived at Idwal Cottage just after 9. She said “how about Tryfan?” and I agreed. We parked a little way down the road and set off up the north face. The route is up. A gave me some scrambling tips. We worked our way keeping 3 points of contact very steadily and carefully round walls and buttresses and resting on plateaux. We managed to miss The Cannon completely. We veered around to the east a fair way and came across a party of roped up children. Probably we should have gone up more directly at this point but we stayed east above the Heather Terrace. We worked very well together each looking out for the other and each going ahead as needed. We had to make some considered decisions on which route to take which we did slowly and very carefully on a couple of more exposed sections. One was where we had to cross a sloping green wet slab but not of huge width which extended over the air. This was followed by a lofty section where A had to take a slightly different route from me to get her little legs over. Some of the things we kept saying were “That’s looks a bit interesting” and “Shall we try it and if it’s no good we can always come back”! This helped no end! Lastly we came out onto a path where we worked out a route up the grass but there was a gully which we reckoned was passable so we went up it over some big steps to the top. As I got to the top of it, people were walking over the rocks over our heads. We then had to turn and step up to move out of the gully. We got a nice man to spot and talk A up this bit. He had come up with 3 small kids who were behind us all the way up but who magically reached the summit before us. Then we were out and the top was in sight. Photos with Adam and Eve and lunch. The mist came and we descended the south side to Bwlch Tryfan, Llyn Bochlyd and Ogwen where a new visitor centre is being built. Used the old loos and back to the cars.

Stopped to drink beer at the Pen y Gwryd Hotel which I’ve wanted to go to for a long time and we looked at all the boots of those who climbed Everest in 1953, also the autographs of many famous climbers on the ceiling. It’s a nice old pub/hotel, smells of woodsmoke and has lots of wood panelling and you can stay there for £50 a night but they only serve dinner to residents.

We checked in at Bryn Gwynant YH, made the beds, showers. The showers and loos have all been done up and are quite bearable. I hated them the last time when Chris and I stayed here. They’ve also been doing a lot of work on the Victorian garden.
I had cheese, leek and mushroom pie and A had lasagne at the Tanronnen Inn in Beddgelert. Beer and wine to celebrate our achievement.

Angela descending from Llyn Bochlwyd
Angela descending from Llyn Bochlwyd

Boots worn by the team that climbed Everest in 1953 but not the actual boots used on Everest
Boots worn by the team that climbed Everest in 1953 but not the actual boots used on Everest

Getting high on Tryfan's north face
Getting high on Tryfan’s north face

Quartz knobbly bits
Quartz knobbly bits

The gully we came up
The gully we came up

Eve and Adam or Angela and Jak
Eve and Adam or Angela and Jak

Llyn Bochlwyd, Llyn Idwal and Llyn Ogwen
Llyn Bochlwyd, Llyn Idwal and Llyn Ogwen

Angela scrambling down
Angela scrambling down

Big ball of quartz
Big ball of quartz

Llyn Bochlwyd behind
Llyn Bochlwyd behind

Angela and Tryfan's south face
Angela and Tryfan’s south face

Enormous lump of quartz
Enormous lump of quartz

Weds May 29th

We heard that there was an 3.6 earthquake in Snowdonia overnight but I thought it was just Angela turning in the bunk bed above! Actually we both slept through it.
Went to the Caffi Gwynant down the road and had granola and yoghurt for me, cooked breakfast for A. Very nice cafe indeed.
Eventually drove off and parked up in Beddgelert. Set off crossing the railway line to go up Moel Hebog. We climbed up with a few scrambly bits but none on the scale of Tryfan. Reached the top and had lunch. Set off for Moel yr Ogof by following the wall down. This crossed a river and then it was a shortish ascent through Owain Glyndwr’s cave (ogof) to the shoulder which gave us a vista in most directions.
As we started to descend so as to go up the next lump the weather came in so we elected to not do this next summit and instead follow the fence down. We did this and it was steep but doable. We were just moving over a fence when we met up with a woman and child who also wished to get through the forest that was facing us. We plunged into the trees which were not very high but extremely thick and eventually managed to meet Tarmac meaning we were on the right path. We followed the stream down with our companions who were Ann (45) and Tom (6). Tom told us this when he decided we should all be introduced!
We reached where we had started the walk by returning along the path by the railway although there was a moment of confusion as new paths had been built.
Stopped at the Saracen’s Head pub for chicken pasta for me and Thai green curry for A.
Back to YH for shower, beer, wine and gassing. Also chatted to Kay. Heard an owl hooting in the night.

Bluebells at the bottom of Moel Hebog
Bluebells at the bottom of Moel Hebog

More quartz knobs
More quartz knobs

Angela on summit of Moel Hebog
Angela on summit of Moel Hebog

Someone ate a chunk out of this trig point
Someone ate a chunk out of this trig point

Huge pillow of cloud
Huge pillow of cloud

I think this is flow banding
I think this is flow banding

Angela emerging from the forest with her eyes shut!
Angela emerging from the forest with her eyes shut!

Moel Hebog in the mist
Moel Hebog in the mist

Thurs May 30th

A packed up her things and we got to Caffi Gwynant shortly after 9. Same breakfasts. Off to start of Watkin path with the rope. We practised knots and belaying. A is good at this and I was fairly hopeless. First knot rope and tie to self by following route of rope then knot rope and lasso round anchor, having checked it is secure then knot rope and tie round person. The next bit I can neither describe nor do but we did manage to belay a bit and were able to brake and easily take the weight of the other.
A set off for home and once she had gone I set off again up the Watkin path. Upon reaching the ford where a new weir is being built which will hydro electrically power all the NT properties in Wales, I veered left and followed an old mining railway track. Left that behind to ascend to the bwlch where I ate my lunch of banana and pecan bread from the cafe. A shortish climb following the wall to reach Yr Aran. I only saw half a dozen people on that hill. It was pretty windy but ok, not as bad as when Chris and I did Grizedale Pike. Did a small bit of scrambling. So windy I didn’t linger and was down quite quickly. 3 hours up and 2 down but a Quality Mountain Day (QMD). I took a bearing so as to get the peak at the right point because no path on the map. There was one on the ground which was on my bearing. On the return I did some short cuts off piste.
Back to the YH. Cooked up rice and peas and chilli con carne with cheese. Walked around the grounds as the sun lowered over Yr Wyddfa.
Rampart beer.

On summit of Yr Aran with Yr Wyddfa behind
On summit of Yr Aran with Yr Wyddfa behind

Angela belaying, I don't know what she be laying!
Angela belaying, I don’t know what she be laying!

Anchored to the anchor
Anchored to the anchor

Yr Aran
Yr Aran

Small scramble on Yr Aran
Small scramble on Yr Aran

Path was once a mine railway track, wooden sleepers slowly rotting
Path was once a mine railway track, wooden sleepers slowly rotting

Route of old railway track
Route of old railway track

Upright slates in Wales as well as Wycoller
Upright slates in Wales as well as Wycoller

Simply red
Simply red

Over the castell
Over the castell

Llyn Gwynant in the evening sun
Llyn Gwynant in the evening sun

Snowdon in the evening sun
Snowdon in the evening sun

Llyn Gwynant
Llyn Gwynant

Fri May 31st

I was woken at 11.40 by loud music so got up to investigate. The warden with the very large ears said he’d just turned it off (when he heard me coming). I was quite grumpy with him as there is a 10.30 curfew and I’ve made it clear I’m not happy on my feedback form.
A and I had heard what can only be described as repetitive flushing and concluded that someone had been troubled in the loo. The symptom continues so it must be something else.

I was still feeling quite grumpy after waking up this morning so I got packed up and was in Caffi Gwynant nice and early for my last breakfast which I ate outside in the sun. I drove across the river and up a little lane and parked the car up.

I’d picked a peak and a route that I fancied, some of which I’d done on ML training after the night navigation trip. The terrain is very bumpy and the contour interpretation is quite tricky so I knew it would be good practice for me. It was quite slow going and I wanted to get home not too late so I decided not to go up Moel Meirch after all but just to get to a wall on the map. I did this by taking a high route weaving my way up. This all went well. Heard a cuckoo very near to me. I could see the river below and decided to return along it knowing I would have to cross it at least twice. I slipped on a rock and dented my pride but not my camera which stayed bone dry in the Aquapac bag. My foot also stayed dry in Goretex. I did all my other crossings without incident but still managed to put the same foot into a bog over ankle height but the Goretex really works well. Got back to the car without any further wettings after 2 and half hours out with the map and not a soul in sight.

Into Beddgelert to buy fudge for Carol and stopped in a layby to eat my sandwich and then drove home, finally getting a mobile signal somewhere after Betws-y-Coed. Vodafone really crap in Snowdonia. Home before 6.

Afon Llynedno
Afon Llynedno

Towards Llyn Dinas
Towards Llyn Dinas

Expensive train setting off
Expensive train setting off

 

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

A small photographic and educational success

One of my photos is going to be used in a booklet about Darwin which is a resource for schools in London. The scheme is called the Twist Partnership and it aims to deal with the very thorny issue of religious belief and scientific knowledge. The teacher I’ve been corresponding with is trying to explain evolution theory with children from fundamentalist religious backgrounds, both Muslim and some creationist Christians. The children could easily go into careers as scientists but have to reconcile what they’ve learnt at home and at temple or church. Darwin himself had to go through a lot of angst about his theories with both his wife and the scientific establishment. I’m very happy to have a tiny input to furthering this sort of discussion and very pleased that one of my photos is considered good enough. And of course, a connection to a Springsteen song! Part Man, Part Monkey.
This is the picture is of Llyn Idwal.

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

Mountain Leader Training Course April 2012

Sunday

I arrived at Plas y Brenin about 7 pm. It only took 2.5 hours to get here. I’ve been using the east and south sides of the M60 but have finally woken up to the north and west sides being quicker. I shaved half an hour off the journey and it makes Snowdonia even more doable.
I went to the bar and got a beer then the rooms were announced as being ready. I went and lugged the first load in. PYB is an old coaching inn en route to Anglesey and is very big and has lots of corridors leading hither and thither. My single (phew) room is at the back with a great view of the Snowdon horseshoe. Better than last time when I had to climb on the table to see out/open the window and all I got was the top of the kitchen. Nice and comfortable. A step up from the YH.
Went to check programme for tomorrow and met Angela from S. Wales and Heather who are sharing the room next door. They seem nice. Just Christopher to meet.
Got the rest of the gear in. There is loads of it because – usual mountain gear plus camping gear plus river crossing clothes plus study bag.
For dinner in the bar I had chicken and chips and salad. Chicken was deep fried and too dry. Chips too many but the salad bit was nice.
My room is quiet which is good. I can faintly hear the girls next door. Suspect it’s just luck I have a single room so must remember to request it next time.
Monday
Up at 7 am for a shower and bag packing. Down just before 8 to pack up my lunch of tuna sandwich plus apple and tiffin. Last time I came they had outsourced the sandwiches for lunches and they were rubbish. Many of us fed this back to them and they have changed the supplier to a nearer one.
Beans on toast for breakfast.
First off is welcome to the centre by Martin Doyle. As this is my 3rd time all I can say is that he looks older.
Then off with Mike Raine, author of Nature of Snowdonia. He is our instructor for the week. We go to the Gwynant room which is probably one of the lounges of the old inn.
Intros and remit of scheme. Then we collect bags and assemble under the canopy. We collect maps from stores and we are off. Weather is warm and sunny. Across the end of the lake by by the bridge.
We are going up Moel Siabod which I had thought of for a warm up yesterday but didn’t do as managed to distract myself. We do pacing and quickly cover 500m. Then on up the path through the woods. Once out of the woods we start on legs. Mike very relaxed about it all. Rather than follow each step to the letter with maps out we have to put them away while taking turns to lead.  The leader has theirs out! We are all quite well matched and we help each other a bit. We then have to relocate using the contours when the leader stops. We do this a good way up the hill. I am finding the walking hard work after my cold last week but Angela has asthma so needs to stop for occasional rests. This makes me feel better about stopping! Mike and Chris both have very long legs. Chris and Heather are DoE leaders but much nicer than the last ones I met here. Heather reminds me of Jennifer Saunders so am well disposed to her and she has a great sense of humour!
There are long scrambly sections which are hard work and more so when the rain comes and it gets slippy. I have a slide but on my front. Am told my nav is perfection! Well for that leg anyway! I get 2 legs to do to the summit in the mist and rain. I take a bearing before the mist really obscures it.
We stop in the shelter for hot drinks and then it’s back down. More huge rocks to clamber over but once done a fast route down. We all fall in the mud except for Heather.
A hafod is summer mountain hut and a hendre is a winter one from when the Welsh did transhumance.
Back to PYB just in time to watch the ML course members do their river crossing.
Lots of fun in the drying room as the ML people are needless to say extremely wet. Sticky iced bun and tea then class work on the camping trip. Shower then dinner. This is a slice of melon, steak and ale pie, carrots,  cauli and roast spuds.
We all attend a short lecture about things not to do in Yosemite, i.e.climb a huge, huge, huge cliff for 8 days. No, no, no. Felt sick looking at the photos.
Beer in bar. Chat to Heather and Angela. Gear all dry very quickly.
Tried ringing home but no answer. I have an email from Carol that the phone is not bloody working now. Grrr.
From Moel Siabod

Tuesday
Beans and hash brown for breakfast. Short session on weather. Forecast for today not great and hideous for the camp trip tomorrow. Bump into Helen who assessed me for WGL, she mentions tomorrow’s weather too.
We assemble and drive out to the car park next to Idwal Cottage. Up to Cwm Idwal with Mike pointing out rocks and plants. He is excellent on both. I am finding rocks more and more interesting but not sure if this is a massively cool interest to have. Suspect not but I don’t really care. We go up a bit and today we are concentrating on navigating over steep ground and it most certainly is. Hands on a lot of the time and levering ourselves up. We do some spotting, which is to adopt a brace stance so as to support someone up from you. Never pull someone up. Map work is limited to relocating. As yesterday I only get one of my relocations slightly out. We get up pretty high looking up at Glyder Fawr. Sandwich is cheese and coleslaw which is ok and fresh but needs more filling, apple and flapjack. We do route finding and then traverse back towards Llyn Bochlwyd. This also involves descending very steep scree. The technique here is to zig zag. The leader should line the group up before crossing so no-one can kick rock down on the leader and then each person crosses, lining up again before heading back out. When we did going up the scree Mike said we were to make no noise. This is a great tip to get people to concentrate.
Back along the river bank to the minibus. I waved to Damian at the YH but he wasn’t actually in sight.
We picked up a Frenchman just as we got going but I still wasn’t quite sure what the whole story was there.
Back for tea and bara brith, yum yum.
Lecture on the nature of Snowdonia but not delivered by Mike, although the slides were written by him. Good for consolidating knowledge.
Shower then Welsh beef roast dinner with immensely eye wateringly hot horseradish. Delicious.
Then the girls (Angela is 52 and Heather, who must be a little younger) and I put up our tents in a wide corridor. Lots of giggles. Chris joined us. He seems quite a serious young man, he gave me some load lightening tips and Heather who has loads of DoE camping experience was most helpful re packing.
Then we played with pans and worked out boil in bag cookery and eating. This will cut lots of weight. Dried food is even lighter but means more washing up.
Bar for beer and chat.
Striations where rock has been scratched on its travels
Llyn Idwal
Magnificent Mike!
Llyn Idwal
Mike, Angela, Heather, Chris
Heather, Angela, Mike, Chris

Wednesday
Biggish breakfast of beans, poached egg, toast, hash bown. Pack bag.
Meet up. Weather forecast just pants. I get Mike to sign his book. Unpack bag and start again, this time with the girls helping. Heather most adept at squashing! Eventually I get it all stuffed in. Coffee in girls’ room. Download Agatha Christie Passenger to Frankfurt mainly because Maureen and I talked about it the other day.  Once I’d got togged up we meet under the canopy to weigh the bags. Mine is the lightest at 13 Kg.
Into van to Gelli Lago where we park up. We set off and I get the first legs and on and up. It’s wet and windy and horrid. We soon stop for lunch, it seems soon because we had left much later than on the other 2 days. I get a leg to the col of Cnicht. It’s less wet now but I am very slow. There is a scrambly bit to summit. We try to walk the ridge but Mike stops this plan as it’s too windy. He says it’s 100 mph and not safe. We are all in agreement with this especially as Chris has been lifted off his feet and we carefully go down away from wind.
We camp at a lovely spot near a stream which is flat and soft. Heather and Angela and I help each other to put up our tents. We let the boys just get on with theirs!
I walk down some distance for a poo. Sorry to mention this but I have forgotten my matches to burn the loo paper so instead go au natural and use spaghnum moss. It’s cold and wet but soft and antibacterial!
We have a cup of tea in Chris’ hafod then we all go to our tents to warm up but I fail to do this quickly. I read my book on the phone. Passenger to Frankfurt is dedicated to my grandmother and there is something soothing about seeing her name as she is still much loved and often missed. It’s nearly 40 years since she died.
I put more clothes on and warm up a bit
Time for dinner. Angela says Chris has moved his tent. I use the water from the bladder, no, not that one, to heat up Look What We Found beef casserole. I heat it up under the flysheet as it’s raining again but really I needed to heat it for a little bit longer. I have it with half a pitta.
We camped about 4. Dinner at 7. Now nearly 8. The night nav starts at 9. Whoopee. Mike says to see it as a bit of fun. Good plan.
Midnight
Three hours of nav in big wet. Truly horrid. Mike said it was as bad as it gets. I am back in my tent fairly snug. I was anxious before we did the night nav as had thought we would do legs but we actually did it as a group. I was grateful for this as struggled to see as well as hear. Main lesson for me camping is to bring a big orange emergency bag to put the rucksack in. And don’t get caught out at night in vile conditions!

Thursday
7 am
It took me a long time to get to sleep. When my feet dried and warmed it happened. To sleep I wore merino pants, merino long johns, merino socks, merino t shirt, merino long shirt, micro fleece. And my buff. That came off but am warm now.
It rained a bit in the night but it came a time when the rain and wind stopped and all I could hear was the stream flowing steadily and now the birds are singing. Lovely.
Heather says things like “oh my giddy aunt”and “better out than in”!
6 pm
Back at PYB.
Today breakfast of 2 muesli bars, a bit of cake and a cup of tea. Angela had a terrible time in her £10 tent and I don’t think Heather and Chris liked their Jack Wolfskin tents that much as they seem to be hard to get in and out of without wetting it all. Angela ended up with her sleeping bag in her orange plastic survival bag as her tent had let in so much wet.
We packed it all away. Mike asked us what had worked best, my tent. What had worked worst, my gloves. What we wished we’d brought, whisky. What we wished we hadn’t, I said moisturiser but also wet wipes. I used everything else except a spare top but should have brought spare hat and gloves.
Mike said we needed to see where we had tramped about last night so we went back up. This time with full packs so it felt really heavy until we got into it.
It’s a pretty little lake where we retraced last nights’ steps. Mike split us into teams so Angela and I worked together. We had to go to 3 spots and we did this fine. Then we got another 3 and this took us down and up to our lunch. Whilst the day had started off fine and dry, when the rain came it only went away for short intervals. But at least we could see where we were going.
Lunch with the others. Pitta with smoked cheese, peanuts, dried fruit, a small cake and a bit of shortbread.
We got another section to do which had some slippy sections. Really felt the contours starting to make sense.
Then it was the walk down and back. Some even slippier bits. Back into lowland and a bog which Heather and I managed to stick our feet and ankles into, a short road section took us back to the bus.
Mike stopped the minibus on the way back near a river so the thing we had all been joking about was now going to happen as we knew it would. The river crossing made the ankle wetting seem like a raindrop. Mike showed us 3 techniques. In a line behind each other holding on to each others’ hips. In a circle. In a V shape. Needless to say we were in up to our knees and yes the water was cold.
Back to the drying room which we filled. It has blow heat and a powerful dehumidifier extractor. All should be dry tomorrow.
A lovely shower. Sorry to continue with the bottom saga. Whilst the spaghnum moss is soft etc. it also has bits of old grass in it which I’d not noticed while concentrating on keeping warm dry and on the map. All these had managed to stick themselves into my bottom, all’s well now.
Beer before dinner.
Dinner of melon, chick pea curry, rice, carrots, green beans, raspberry fool.
2 more half pints of beer and a Penderyn whisky. Lots of laughs. What nice people.
In the drying room most stuff is doing well just not the boots.
Dolorite
More dolorite
Managed not to step on this
Glorious weather!
Friday
Slept like a log. Woke at 6 and then dropped off again. Breakfast of beans, poached egg and toast. Collected lunch and off to the lecture room. We practised knotting and the principles of belaying indoors. Then out along the road and across to some rocks. We looked at how to identify good anchors – size, solidity and shape. Tapping lets you feel vibrations if the rocks are loose and many were. Heather and I got up the hill in turns. Then we lunched. Time to belay each other down a bit. I found knotting didn’t exactly come easily to me. But well impressed with how effective the system is. Even when I just dug my heels in with Mike pulling hard, he couldn’t shift me! Then we did the confidence rope which is a bit like leading a dog on a lead and I was told I did this well. Not sure what Chris thought!
Then back to the centre for paper work and more rope work crossing a river (imaginary).
Time for farewells. Just glad to have been on training with such nice people.
Final bara brith. Took me a while to pack and get everything to the car. Set off at 5.30 and home for just after 8.  Despite a big holdup in Llanwrst for traffic lights. They went green so being at the front of the queue I set off only to find an enormous lorry heading straight for me (slowly) around the bend. I and several others had to reverse back up. They all went off down a one way street but I didn’t know where it went to so stayed put. The lorry came round. I then went to go off again as I was in the way and various other cars all following the lorry were most abusive to me. Considering that I had the right of way and the lorry hadn’t this was a tad irritating. The course must have chilled me or knackered me entirely because the abuse didnt even bother me that much.
Apart from that an uneventful journey in the rain. Much colder over here only 4.5 degrees.
Chris, Heather, Mike
Chris, Heather
Chris and Heather
Angela
Saturday
Boots still not completely dry!

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

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.