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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Snowdon in aid of the Ticker Club 17-June-2017

Today was about raising a bit of money and awareness for the TICKER CLUB WYENSHAWE HOSPITAL as my mate Chris, had a double heart bypass a couple of years back. As he has now thankfully fully recovered, he has decided to try and raise some money to express his gratitude to all the staff involved in his and others operations and aftercare. Being a keen walker himself, and walking round the Lake District and Snowdonia before his operations, one of the ways of helping to raise some money was for a sponsored walk up to the summit of Snowdon with the help of his family. Although Chris and his wife Michelle have both been up Snowdon before, this was new territory for his two daughters and their friends, so was indeed a bit of a challenge. I said I'd come along to offer my support and help out in any way. The date was set for June 17th 2017 and being the UK we had no idea what the weather would be like until the day of the walk. Luckily for us all, it was forecast to be a good dry day with clear spells and quite warm. In reallity it was quite hot with wall to wall sunshine from the off. A bit of a breeze that was a welcome relief and a few clouds covering some tops but thankfully for us, a clear summit with some great views. A few clouds rolled in across from the coast making it quite atmospheric in parts and the summit breeze helped keep the baking sun at bay while everyone soaked up the relaxed atmosphere of a busy summit. Snowdon summit on a hot sunny day in Summer is one of those places where you either love it or hate it. Plenty of Mountain walkers hate it as the sheer number of people jostle for a place to stand on the summit trig or find a place to sit for lunch. The train loads of people who perhaps can't walk up and down for whatever reason, the hordes of charity events, like us :-), and people who may think that its nothing more than a stroll in the park and come unprepared for a 3000 foot mountain. They all seem to make there way up here and today was no exception although we did seem to pass more people on our descent and looking back at the summit was looking at a trail of ants on the march it was that busy. I always take the view of it's great to see so many people out enjoying themselves and if just a few of the novices take up walking in the mountains on a more regular basis then that's just great. As long as everyone gets up and down with out any serious mishaps then that's anther positive bonus :-)
We met up at one of the main car parks in Llanberis around 9am and were booted up and ready to go for about 9.30am in good clear conditions. Although I have been up snowdon quite a few times this was to be my first time going up the Llanberis path, so new territory for me today and the first part up the hill was a killer and a good way of letting folk know what they are letting themselves in for!!
Suited booted and ready to go
Steep lane at the start
Steep lane at the start
The first of quite a few breaks came as we got to the top of the lane and the start of the Llanberis Path as we looked across to the cloudy tops of the Moel Ellio range as one of the summit trains chugged up the line for it's 45 minute journey to the summit while we had a more leisurely 3 hour walk up
A cloud topped Moel Cynghorion
First breather of the day
The Llanberis Path is the busiest of all the paths up to the top of Snowdon as it's possibly the easiest to negotiate, especially in good clear weather like today, but it can be hazardous when the cloud and rain come down and in winter it's as dangerous as any mountain path and extra care and attention needs to be applied. Today though, was just one of those days where we could take our time and enjoy the views and hopefully the experience of the day. Before we knew it it was rest time again at the halfway house where we all grouped together for another peptalk and liquid intake :-)
On the approach to the halfway house
Choo Choo

Halfway rest stop and the boys are doing fine while the girls do what girls do, natter and check bags for anything they might of forgot. Too late now :-)
Onwards and upwards with the views getting more and more open and interesting the higher we got. A lot of mountain features coming into view and also more of the high mountains of the Carneddau and Glyderau areas that dominate the Ogwen Valley part of Snowdonia. A great walking and scrambling area that I'm sure would of been busy this weekend with folk enjoying a more strenuous day out. A fantastic mountain playground. It was also looking like there was a fair bit of cloud blowing over Glyder Fach, that houses the famous Cantilever Stone and at one time it looked like it was going to engulf the whole of the Glyerau and come our way. Thankfully it seemed to disperse as quick as it came but there was pockets of low cloud blowing around that area for some time.
Looking back down the Llanberis Path
Onwards & Upwards
Llyn Du'r Arddu under the cliffs of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu
Llanberis Path & the Train track over Clogwyn Goch
Looking back to Llanberis with the slate quarry under Elidir Fawr & Elidir Fach
People to the left & trains to the right
Admiring the views
Cloud rolling in over Glyder Fach
As we strated to get higher over Clogwyn Goch, we started to get more views south and the views of our target, the summit of Snowdon. We also got an idea of how busy it was going to get as the paths from the Pyg/Miners track, Rangers Path and those who have tackled the knife edge ridge of Crib Goch and Garnedd Ugain all meet for the last few hundred metres to the summit. Great views all round and some quite atmospheric scenes as the clouds rolled in and out mainly on the South side, making it an ideal place to set up camp for our pic-nic. there was also a lot of seagulls flying about, no doubt after some rich pickings and at one point they seemed to resemble Vultures hovering over a dead carcass there was that many. Anyway, we unraveled a banner had a few summit photo's and settled down to lunch with a view, perfect :-)
Joining the crowds for the last leg to the summit
Looking down on Glaslyn and the zig-zags of the Pyg Track
Crib Goch with the Pyg & Miners path below
Vultures over Snowdon
Summit views down the South Ridge
Made it :-)
What the day was all about:-)

Seagull & clouds
Seagull after the ants :-)
Lunch with a view
Crowds below the cafe
Y Lliwedd with a tuft of hair
Summit Cafe
After bout an hour we made our way off the same way with me Chris and Sam taking a detour to visit the summit of Garnedd Ugain just for the hell of it as it's only a 10 minutes from the path junction and as it's the second highest summit being only 20 metres lower than Snowdon its a worthwile visit, especially on days like today. We met up with the girls at Clogwyn Station where they were taking it easy again :-)
Garnedd Ugain Summit with Crib Goch
Looking across to Snowdon
Chris & Sam @ Garnedd Ugain
Pen y Pass far below
The girls taking it easy
Says it all really :-)
Although we were going back down the same way, it somehow seemed longer and it was also getting warmer as we approached the valley and out of the cooling breeze that had made life a lot more bearable on the ascent. We also passed a lot more people and were glad we weren't going up now, as I guess the summit would of been just a bit over busy with folk. All in all though this was another great day in the mountains but more importantly for the day, a fantastic achievement for all of us and hopefully it will go a long way in to raising some money for a great cause.
With a great big thanks to Michelle, Vicky, Sarah, Jo, Lizzie Sam and by no means least, Chris for organizing the day,and the weather, and here's hoping that the day goes some way to repaying the support you had over these last couple of years.
All the very best mate and see you soon :-)
Cheers Mate :-)
 A short video of Snowdon Summit





Monday, 29 May 2017

Hot & Wet Weekend In Wales, What Else!!

Well, yet another very late decision to have a couple of days in Snowdonia taking advantage of the glorious weather that the UK has experienced these last few weeks. Lots of sunny blue sky days with temperatures reaching about 30degree C in places with only the odd shower here and there so with an early finish at work, Jill working lates, there was only one thing for it, tent and essentials in the car and off I go with  plan A,B,C & D going round my head!! I have for sometime now wanted to see the sunset from the summit of Snowdon so that was plan A but I wanted to camp at the best little campsite I've been to and do a couple of walks from there over the two days, meeting up with some walking mates from the Facebook group WFP on the Saturday. Another was to walk Moel Siabod on the Friday evening and do the Snowdon Horseshoe on the Saturday while plan D was still in the planning process!! Decisions decisions!!!
I got to the campsite and all set up for about 3.30pm with the temperature showing a cool 28.5C, a tad warm as I set off from the campsite on plan B part 1, thinking I'd go up towards the Crimpiau area and drop down about 8pm and call in the pub for a pint and something to eat only to realise after half an hour that I'd left me money back at camp!!! No way was I going back so plan B part two it was, do the walk, drive into town and get a takeaway and a few beers and watch the sun go down back at camp, sorted at last :-) It really was a warm one and it soon became apparent that any high level walk would have to wait so I opted for a walk that we have done before but added a bit more on to it and is part of the CAPEL CURIG HERITAGE WALK.
Starting out of the campsite, crossing the road and picking up the path through the fields that brings you out at the Plas y Brenin Centre. A walk down the road and a visit to the old St JULITTA CHURCH the smallest in Snowdonia, before making my way to the stile, opposite the Pinacle Cafe, and picking up the path with a detour to the rocky outcrop of Y Pincin for a great view back towards the Snowdon Horseshoe with the great sound of a Cuckoo echoing around the valley.
My route for the afternoon
Home for the night
The campsite under Moel Siabod :-)
St Julitta's Church

St Julitta's Church
View from Y Pincin
Back on track through the woods to come to the wooden footbridge over the Nant y Geuallt where you take the right footpath which is a well laid out one through open land with good vies before dropping back into the woods with a carpet of bluebells and the sound of the cuckoo echoing around the valley!
Wooden footbridge
Looking over to the Crimpiau
Moel Siabod through the trees
Carpet of Bluebells
Out through the woods passing a Mountain Club Hut brings you out at the Glyn Blo Cafe car park on the A5, across the road and over the bridge at Pont Cyfyng turning right to follow the Afon Llugwy through fields and woods back to the Plas y Brenin Mountain Centre, with the sound of the cuckoo echoing around the valley!!
Mountain Club Hut with Moel Siabod as the backdrop
Old farm building
View towards Snowdon from Plas y Brenin
I picked up the path that took me back to basecamp and got back some four hours after I left, with  plenty of water and stops along the way, made for a great low level walk in very hot conditions. A quick shower then a nice curry and beer to finish the day off very nicely while watching the sun go down and the sound of the cuckoo getting louder!
View to Moel Siabod
On the path back with Snowdon as the backdrop
Couple of locals taking it easy
Basecamp with Moel Siabod as the backdrop
Sun going down behind Snowdon
A couple of folk taking in the sunset from Snowdon summit
Basecamp view at dusk
I'd made my mind up to meet up with some fellow members and friends of the WFP group, to have a linear walk along the Glyderau mountains from Pen y Pass back to Capel Curig, taking in the summits of Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach, Y Foel Goch, & Cefyn y Capel. Although I have walked the Glyderau before, this will be the first time from Pen y Pass and also the first time back along the route to Capel so was looking forward to the days adventure :-) The forecast was for a few showers early morning but brightening up later with a chance of rain late afternoon early evening but nothing about the cuckoo being quiet for a change!! I know that cuckoo clocks sound out on the hour every hour but surely not in real life!! Well somebody should tell the ones round the welsh valleys to shut up for a few hours to give us all some peace at night, even though they are a pleasant sound to hear during the day but night time!!! Give it a rest. The weather forecast was right though as it did rain in the morning but only for about an hour around 6am before the blue sky and sun returned as I made my way to the car park behind Joe Browns to meet up with the gang. After the usual hellos and a catch up chat we caught the Snowdon Sherpa bus that took us the couple of miles down to Pen y Pass where it was busier than Wembley Stadium on cup final day, which as it happens was today. All manner of folk dressed for a nice summer stroll enjoying the fine welsh weather, while us lot on the other hand crossed the road with our packs packed with wet weather gear, and headed up on to the much quieter Glyderau.
Our linear route for the day
Looking back over a busy Pyg Track snaking up towards the bottom of Crib Goch with Snowdon just poking it's head out
Looking up to a very clear Glyderau
We made good progress in the very warm conditions and soon made it to LLYN CWMFFYNNON where we had one of a few stops along the way taking in the fine views. It really was a pleasure to be out on a day like this.
Making our way up the grass bank below Glyder Fawr
Llyn Cwmffynnon with Moel Siabod as the backdrop



Rest stop looking down on Llyn Cwmffynnon
It was at this point where we noticed that Snowdon was disappearing under the mist rolling in and that is was heading our way. Maybe the wind, that had now picked up a notch or two, would blow it over as it was also beginning to make Glyder Fawr disappear quite fast! Oh well, on-wards and up-wards picking our way through the jumble of rocks, boulders and soft ground as the mist became more intense and the warmth was slowly disappearing in the wind!
On our way up with a distant Pen y Pass disappearing fast in the mist
Making our way through some short scramble sections
Anybody there!! :-)
We made our way up through all the rocks and boulders that make up the summit plateau of the area, said to represent a moonscape area, and it is impressive when you can actually see it!! We eventually found the summit rocks and some shelter out of the now strong wind but thankfully no rain although with the mist rolling around, it was a bit damp. From here we made our way to Glyder Fach, passing under the Castle Of The Winds, and onto the Cantilever Stone, where you have to go on it because it's there :-)
Onto the rocky plateau of Glyder Fawr
Glyder Fawr summit
Glyder Fawr summit
Coming off Glyder Fawr
Glyder Fach summit
On the Cantilever Stone
Admiring the fine view of the Cantilever Stone :-)
As we made our way off Glyder Fach the weather really did take a turn for the worst as the rain came down and the wind picked up to be around 25-30mph in places making taking photo's just about impossible. On the more serious note, route finding became more of an issue but with half a dozen GPS units, compass and maps we were able to find our way, slowly but surely. Not only was it wet and windy but also the next leg of the route around Llyn Caseg Fraith and on to Y Foel Goch is very boggy and can't really be avoided, so it proved to be a wet walk from here onwards. Despite this, it was enjoyable and certainly a testing time in the conditions that you wouldn't want to find yourself in on your own and not be able to find your way. I was recently on a navigation course and it's for conditions like these that these courses come into there own, although it's still a very testing and potentially a dangerous position. It's with thanks to all the group that it stayed relaxed and a happy atmosphere.
Waterproofs at the ready as we prepare to head into the wet weather
A wet and windy ascent off Glyder Fach
We arrived back at the car park around 6.30pm so a good nine hours in this amazing place with about five hours in the rain and wind. Despite all being like drowned rats, we reflected on the day and I said my goodbyes as I had to go and pack up my wet tent from the camp site.
Another fantastic day despite the challenging conditions and a great big thanks to the group and especially Shirley who organized and led the walk and made sure we all stayed together and got down in one piece. I'll certainly look to do this route again and hopefully in more dryer and clear conditions. We did wonder how all the folk going up and down Snowdon must have got on in the weather. Certainly a learning curve for some who were dressed for a day on the beach. I certainly hope that everyone on the mountains had a great day and all got down from their place of choice without any mishaps.
Only one thing left to do was get home and sit in the garden with a fire and beer, :-)
Cheers