After struggling to leave work thanks to a meeting last thing, Chris and I left my house at 7.00 p.m. Chris came well supplied with snacks. I’d been hungry whilst waiting for her to arrive and so had eaten all my sandwiches before she got to me. She ate potato, broccoli and bacon as I drove. Fairly uneventful journey, apart from when we stopped at a local services on the big A road that runs along the top of Wales whose number I have forgotten. We drove in and it was a completely dark deserted Little Chef which was a bit spooky.
A 3 hour drive brought us to Bryn Gwynant youth hostel which is on the edge of Llyn Gwynant. The YH is an old Victorian house overlooking the lake but of course we couldn’t see this in the dark. It was full of teenagers but despite having some misgivings about this, they were in fact very well behaved and no bother at all. The YH is a bit knackered and has quite manky old doors. The guy on reception didn’t seem to be expecting us but he did have our room sorted so I think he was just being a bit dopey. We got some bottles of beer and went to our room. For all our nights we had booked rooms for just us as C and I find it hard to sleep with strangers! So far this year, we have had Mrs Guinea Pig at Boggle Hole and the 2 mad women at Ennerdale.
The room was about a quarter of what had once been a much bigger room. It was roomy enough and had a wash basin and a window that opened although not very far in case we were thinking of jumping out. It had a large cupboard and 1 easyish chair. It was my turn for the top bunk as I think C had had top bunk at both our previous hostels. I didn’t sleep very well in it as I kept being mindful of the need not to jump out. As for actually getting out for a pee in the middle of the night, this seemed really hard and I didn’t want to tread on Chris’ head.
Our previous experiences had decided us both to bring butter, C also brought nice coffee. This hostel had butter and nice rolls as well as some cheese and ham for breakfast although these were a bit naff. Chris made up some coffee and we both had some of the cooked breakfast as well as juice and cereal and yoghurt.
Then we headed off after a bit of serious bag rearranging (pfaffing to some fellow travellers!) to Beddgelert which was all of 3 miles down the road. Stopped for a short wander round, bought a couple of things to take home and then promptly drove off in the wrong direction. After rectifying this, we then saw a Gelert outdoor shop and had to stop. I got a neat and light 2 person shelter as the one I have is huge and I never take it out because of that. Chris got another buff! Chris was most taken with the story of Gelert. Gelert was a dog who saved a baby from being eaten by a wolf and then got slain for his pains.
Once we were on the right road, we were soon at Cwellyn and parked up near the forestry track which went through Beddgelert forest, maybe where all this dog action had taken place.
We set off and it started to rain almost immediately neccesitating the first of many clothing changes. The forestry track petered out as a view of Llyn Cwellyn appeared and we could work out where our next hostel was. Then up through the trees and along a bit to the edge of the forest. Here we had our lunch, and got through quite a lot of Chris’ supplies, salads and crunchy energy bars.
It was then a short steep climb up to a first minor peak. We had good views mostly but the cloud did keep going and covering things up. The next section along the ridge it stayed clear all the way and the vista opened up to give us a huge bowl leading into the lake.
We continued up and into the cloud, before long the cairn and shelter loomed out of the mist. A short break to congratulate ourselves and then back down the ridge. We took a compass bearing to get back onto the path as it would be easy to go wrong in the mist and all the sides of the shelter look the same. Our mountain was Mynydd Mawr which tops out at nearly 700m and so a good warm up for the Big One.
The mist cleared as we descended. The short steep bit was quite hard going on descent but once that was done, it was a fast walk back to the car.
We drove round to the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel on the other side of the lake. This is a 3* hostel compared with 2* of the night before. C and I both joined the YHA as we seem to be doing this quite a bit and the hostels are in the mountains so very handy. Our room here was a bit smaller so I pointed out the Rules to C about keeping the bed area tidy. She opined that this did not matter as it was not a dormitory. I spent many happy hours moving my things from one place to another. We had showers and then whizzed off back to the village of Cwellyn and the inn for our dinner.
Whilst C was having fun with a mad system of exchanging her credit card for a plastic key (I still have no idea why), I was making friends with a group of 4 people on a nearby table. Then C came along and our dinner arrived and we started eating. The waitress brought a tray with our new pals’ dinners and bashed it into one of the men’s heads, this started a chain reaction as he knocked beer all over the others. They had to assert themselves to get the beer replaced and it took a while for the staff to come and clean it all up. Then the other man was given a piece of brown plastic which he was informed was crackling. He disagreed and asked to see the chef, he couldn’t bite into it nor even break it. The chef argued with him and all along the man who was quite rightly complaining was also a chef.
Our food was fine although pricey for what it was, burger for C and lamb casserole for me so we supped up and said goodbye to our pals and said we’d see them up the mountain as they were doing a route which meant it was likely that we would.
We went back and straight to bed after a bit of crossword. We were both roasted alive in the night as the room had no window that would open, only a Vent Axia thing that let in a teaspoon of air.
|From Mynydd Mawr|
|From Mynydd Mawr|
|Lynn Gwynant from Bryn Gwynant Youth Hostel|
|Half way up Mynydd Mawr|
|First mountain done!|
We took regular breaks with things to aim for, usually walls. Part of the route tracks along quite a steep drop on the left side overlooking a series of small lakes. There is very little exposure on this section. The next part is fenced in and this makes you feel surprisingly safe as you course up a zigzag of path. Then the fence stops just as you do a quite exposed section on the left side. I was glad the wind was negligible as predicted. Just as I was getting used to this, then we were on the ridge itself, this was actually mostly ok and exciting as we got the view of the next side of the mountain and views of Crib Goch and the Watkin path.
We got back to the car at 6.00 p.m. Raced back to the hostel. Got showered and were out again in all our finery by 6.50 p.m.
Our reward for all this exertion was a surprise for Chris from me. She didn’t know where we were going until we actually got there. We arrived at Seiont Manor at 7.20 p.m. We had stayed here as my 40th birthday treat from Chris, a mere 12 years ago!
The meal was fab, we got cucumber and orange juice to start us off, C also had gin! Starters we both had smoked salmon which came wrapped around a fishy dill middle with bits of salad on the side. A sorbet of strawberry and Bombay Sapphire was next but I couldn’t taste any gin in it to speak of. For mains, C had sea bass with risotto and green beans and I had a fillet of steak with a sort of compacted beef casserole piled up on top of it, with gravy, sorry, sauce and some orange glazed carrots and green beans. Yum, yum, yum! For dessert, C had profiteroles and I went for Eton Mess which came with the meringue in the shape of a swan. Photo of this may not be very good as it was done on my phone so no flash. We finished with coffee and truffles. All very yummy and rightly deserved!
|Back at the bottom! Wow!|
|Half way up, this is all right|
|Are we down yet?|
|Snowdon from the east|
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.