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.
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.