Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
It looked like I was going to be laid up for a long while, my operation keeping me from the high mountains for many months. So I set off to complete a few outstanding challenges from my to-do list. Completing the Wainwrights was out of the question with 62 still to do, spread all over the Lakes. Then it crossed my mind that after my long April walk over the northern Carnedd, covering all the northern 3,000ft peaks in Snowdonia, I was close to doing all of the Welsh 3,000’s. Clearly this wasn’t going to be an heroic “do them all in 24hours” attempt but I could do the two summits I hadn’t done. One can understand the 24hr challenge, but my motivation is to climb mountains, with a good route while and enjoy the walk and company. A worthy expedition then, in its own right.
Leading up to my extended stay in hospital, I had few days between holidays, graduation and hospital visits, but this Tuesday towards the end of July was the day. Writing this blog seems to have taken for ever, so now we are well into September; August was lost to an extended stay in hospital. Back then we were in the middle of a long spell of hot weather, even to the extent of tremendous thunderstorms forecast for the weekend. In the end the storms were figments of the Met Offices forecasting.
It was great having Emma along, so off we went, leaving home at a reasonable student/pensioners time and missing the commuter traffic around Manchester. A sunny Ogwen Cottage car park was filling up when we arrived with the new visitors centre looking nice and shiny. Its a nice building but lacks the character of the old hut’s. I have to say the topographic display of Cwm Idwal looked like a puzzle for children with the featured lighting not working.
Our route for the day took us along the west side of Llyn Idwal, the beach looking was tempting us for a stop on this hot morning. Instead, we put the hot spots of the Cwm behind us and made our way up Devils Kitchen, taking many stops for water, photo’s and clearing the sweat/perspiration off our brows.
The steep bit of the walk behind us, it was good to reach the coll at Llyn Cwn. Last time Emma and I were at this spot, we were retreating from the gales that had almost blown us off the top of Glyder Fawr. This time we turned north up to Y Garn. Ahead of us the track split, and on a hunch I choose the easterly one, rather than the short cut directly to the summit. A far better option, the path took us to the edge of the cliffs overlooking Cwm Clyd, and then followed the edge up to the summit! Hint- reserve the direct route for the 24 hour challenge.
Another objective for the day was to pick up the summit Geocache, which would be a milestone 200th for me and was soon to hand and being logged. With no breeze and a barmy temperature, the midges had colonised the summit, making our lunch stop a bit uncomfortable and necessarily short.
Foel-Goch was passed along the shortcut around its side onto the lovely Bwlch-y-Brecan below the smaller peak of Mynydd Pefedd. One thing I have noticed about Snowdonia is the occasional short bwlch or col having an unexpected spectacular position. Bwlch Main on the SW ridge of Snowdon is the best other example.
Anyway, we were just below the cloud level as we headed up to Elidr Fawr, enjoying the symmetry of the reservoir below us but unable to sight the summit. As we arrived at the top the cloud cleared so we could see down into Llanberis and watch a helicopter fly up and down the Dudodyn valley below us. Perhaps this was practice for the new search and rescue teams, they didn’t appear to have any another objective in mind. We had the summit to ourselves, apart from a brief visit from a walker checking out the route of the 3,000’s challenge route which he was planning for the week-end.
Elidr Fawr is a summit out on its own, away from the N-S ridge line from the Glyders and Y Garn, so we had little choice but to retrace out route back to the bwlch below Foel-goch. Trying to avoid further climbing, I looked for a way down without going over Y Garn again. The ridge fence to our left had a couple of stiles with paths leading down into the remote Cwm Bual. I choose this way, but the path disappeared soon after we rounded the easterly ridge above the Cwm. Avoiding rough ground ahead, we took a direct way down the dry stream bed straight to Pentre on the old road. This left a short walk back to the car park and catching a drink from the shop just as it closed.
A lovely walk, exploring quiet country in the centre of Snowdonia, with warm and mainly sunny weather so we could enjoy the views.