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