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.
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.