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Snowdonia Peaks

Friday, 30 June 2017

Beinn na Seilg Round 18-5-2017

Beinn na Seilg is the highest hill in this immediate area of ORMSAIGBEG, a crofting township of KILCHOAN,  WEST ARDNAMURCHAN. As Jill had decided to pay TOBERMORAY another visit on our last day of a week long stay in the area, I decided that a good look round the hills directly at the back of the cottage would be a good way of finishing our holiday. The weather forecast was good clear sunny spells with a bit of a breeze, so all was set fair. I had my sights set on Beinn na Seilg and a ring of sumitts that seem to circle two lonely lochs. The hills are not a great height, Beinn na Seilg being the highest at a mere 344 metres above sea level but what it lacked in height, sure made up for in views, as did all the other hills on this fine walk. This really was a great little walk and apart from two para-gliders doing their thing, I didn't see another soul until I got back down to base, brilliant :-)
The start of the walk was through a gate, a stones throw from the cottage on the Ormsaigbeg Road, heading up the grassy hill where the sheep were happily grazing. Passing a sheep dip and zig zagging my way up through patches of heather I made my way to a rocky out crop overlooking the two Lochs that go under the name Lochain Ghleann Locha. A good first view point and also a good gauge to how windy it was and with a bite to it! From here I could virtually see my route for the day and most of the surrounding area.
My route for the day
Up the grassy & heather hill
First view of Beinn na Seilg & Stacan Dubha, on the right, looming over the lochs
From here it was a good easy walk over to the first summit of the day, Stacan Dubha @ 246 mts. Because there are no huge mountains here and it's very close to the coast, there are some great all round views over to the other Isle's dotted about. Mull, Rum, Eigg, Muck & Skye are all visible as is Movern on the mainland across Loch Sunart. A pair of Binoculars pick up a few more of the Inner Hebrides. SCOTTISH ISLANDS
Stacan Dubha Summit
Stacan Dubha summit view down on Kilchoan and across the Sound Of Mull
  A bit of a scramble down from here and following a track of sorts taking me under the flanks of Beinn na Seilg to bring me out at the North end and under some nice looking rocks that gave me a chance for a bit of cheeky scrambling. A very nice alternative to the soft grass and heather mounds I had encountered so far. The scrambling was nothing to tricky, in fact it could of easily been bypassed but I wasn't going to give that up on such a nice day. Any chance to get hand on rock is a very welcome one in my book, especially some easy scrambling to add a bit of adventure :-) There was in fact quite a bit as I took advantage of this small but nice playground, probably taking twice as much time as just straight forward walking on the grass!
My way forward to the North end of Beinn na Seilg
View down to Ardamurchan Lighthouse from the Northern slopes of Beinn na Seilg
Some nice easy scrambling
View up to Beinn na Seilg
Nice easy scrambling
View up to Beinn na Seilg from part way up the scrambling section
I got up to Beinn na Seilg and saw there was two summit markers, one at each end across a grassy/rocky plateau that again offered some fine views. There was also a eagle flying about overhead but I didn't manage to get a decent photo as it was quite high and also in and out of the sun.
Beinn na Seilg North Top
View back down on the scramble section and distant views of the Small Isle's
Beinn na Seilg South Top with the North Top to the left
View down to the two lochs, the Sound of Mull, Kilchoan and Ben Hiant
I headed off Beinn na Seilg and made my way towards the shore of the Lochs before making my way through the flatter ground towards the next summit of Dubh Chreag @ 244metres. To get to the summit requires a bit of a pull up the grass, heather and rocky hillside but you are rewarded with more fine views down to the lighthouse, Sanna, and across to the small Isle's, all bathed in sunshine. It was here that I got my first glimpse of some para-gliders doing there thing and what a view they would of had! Wonderful.
Making my way off Beinn na Seilg with the ridge of Druim na Gearr Leacainn as the backdrop
Lochain Ghleann Locha
Making my way across more flatter ground to Dubh Chreag
The steep pull up Dubh Chreag
Dubh Chreag summit views back to Beinn na Seilg
Dubh Chreag summit views over to a distant Morvern across the Sound of Mull
Dubh Chreag summit views across the Sound of Mull to the Isle of Mull
Dubh Chreag summit views towards the Lighthouse, Sanna and the Small Isle's
The way off Dubh Chreag was by the ascent route and then straight up and on to the ridge of Druim na Gearr Leacainn @ 259metres, again, no great height but superb views all round. This is quite a long wide ridge so a bit of rest on the old legs after quite a bit of up and down and a pleasure to take time admiring the 360degree views on offer.  Despite the sun and blue sky, there was still a cool wind blowing and being quite exposed it did take the temperature down a few notches and gloves and warm clothes were very welcome.
Looking back to Dubh Chreag
On my way to Druim na Gearr Leacainn
Para-gliders doing their thing and the only other two people I saw while out walking
Druim na Gearr Leacainn
Admiring the views from Druim na Gearr Leacainn
View across the Sound of Mull and down on Kilchoan and Ben Hiant
View of Stacan Dubha, Beinn na Seilg & Lochain Ghleann Locha
 After admiring the views for a bit I made my descent by going over the minor top of Tom na Moine and dropping steeply through more heather and grazing land back to the cottage for a welcome meal. In the evening, there was only thing left to do and that was to drive out to Sanna to see the sun setting on what has been a fabulous week in this wild and remote part of Scotland.
Looking back on the high tops from Tom na Moine
View down on Kilchoan and beyond from Tom na Moine
Sun going down on another fabulous week
Another great adventure comes to an end

 A short video showing the views from all the tops

A fabulous day and a great end to the week.

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