Wales Aug 2007 067 Along the ridge from Sowdon summit

Wales Aug 2007 067 Along the ridge from Sowdon summit

Back in August 2007 we had a weekend mile munching in Snowdonia. We stayed in a hotel in Betswy coed – what a nightmare. This was the noisiest bedroom I had ever attempted to sleep in. The hotel was on the main road, the A5, the main road to Snowdon, on a bank holiday. The traffic drove past nonstop all night, I couldn’t believe the volume of night time traffic. Never having walked in Wales it was all new, we knew it was a step up from the LakeDistrict – and it was! I used my Canon 5D and, unfortunately a Ricoh GRD which hasn’t the best of dynamic range so I had a lot of low quality images. I haven’t done anything with these photos until now and I decided to see what I could salvage.
The first day we drove to Llyn Ogwen, parked near Milestone Buttress and set off up the face of Tryfan. Wow! what a scramble, we just kept going up, a never ending steep, steep maze of rock. The rock is so steep that you can’t tell where you are on the climb or where to head to. Other people are vertically above and below you. We got to the top, a lovely day with some low cloud swirling in and out, quite dense at times. We got to the two famous stones, Adam and Eve, I got on top but didn’t make the leap from across them – next time perhaps! We moved on to Glyder Fach, with good views of Snowdon – or more to the point, Crib Goch, the infamous arête that was tomorrows starting point, a touch of apprehension stirring? Next stop was Glider Fawr, all around, as the cloud parted, I was working out which mountain was which, not a problem in the Lakes as we know it inside out. On to Y Garn and Foel Goch. At this point Jayne was having a problem with her knee ( and still is, she’s finally seen a physio’ at the end of 2013) so we decide to cut the walk short. We headed down Cwm Bual, at about the 400 to 450 mtr contour we found a terrace path that took us back to Idwal Cottage at the western end of Llyn Ogwen – and a café stop. It was heaving with tourists, in fact everywhere we went we had parking, traffic and people problems. We had a mile to walk along Llyn Ogwen back to the car. Quite an impressive first walk, 8.5 miles of tough going but exhilarating stuff.

On our second day in Wales we drove through Capel Curig heading for Snowdon. We couldn’t get a real early start as we had to wait for breakfast at the hotel and although it was only 8.30, we couldn’t park any closer than one mile away from where we wanted to be. We parked on the A498 an joined a procession of walkers heading for the hills. We started off on the Pyg Track then headed right up to Crib Goch. This was another exhilarating scramble. The problem was the number of people, many of whom were moving very slowly. It was dry and clear at the lower levels, on top of Snowdon the cloud was down, it was thick and wet so no views from the summit. We didn’t linger as we wanted to move on and leave the crowds behind. The path to Bwich Ciliau passes through an area where the mountain goats live, I could smell them long before I saw them. It was clear now and we could see our route along the Snowdon Horseshoe laid out in front, it looked great, a ridge path with sheer drops on one side but complete safety on the other. We crossed West Peak, East Peak and Lliwedd Bach having a tea stop on a beautiful top with stunning views and a lovely day – what hill walking’s all about. We could see the car several miles away and 2500 foot below and we basically aimed for it. We made our way to any viewpoints or objects of interest, took the photos and moved on. We were back at the car before 3.00pm, we had covered nearly 10 miles of tough going but still had plenty of time to do a bit of exploring North Wales in the car. The word congested springs to mind.

On the third day we intended walking the Carneddau. When we got to our starting point the weather looked grim, the cloud was very low and it seemed pointless flogging ourselves for no view. We drove back down the A5, struggling to find a parking place. We ended up a couple of miles East of Capel Curig and had a fair walk back to where our new walk went off road. I spotted a top called Moel Siabod that looked interesting, quarries and good views and under the cloud, although that was lifting. Typical. Moel Siabod had cracking views across to Snowdon and the Glyders and we had it to ourselves.

Posted by Mark Schofield @ JB Schofield


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