Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
That night, the hostel roof rattled. Gales, snow and heavy rain passed over Snowdonia during the hours we were tucked up in our bunks. Morning never really came, it was dull, blustery with snow covering the road. We left the heights of Snowdon to the Saturday crowds and headed down the Pyg track, branching down again to the hydro power station at Gorsaf bwer. This is a lovely pleasant valley, fading brown bracken and gentle forests covering the slope down from Snowdon. Delightfully sheltered as we strolled along the old road to Llyn Gwyany. Nattering away, putting the world to rights, it was only after we hit the main road did we realise we had missed our turn off up the hill. Bill set off around the Llyn in search of the next Tea and Cake shop while we headed back along the road to find our path up the hillside above us.
Our path was well signposted from the road, but it was soon lost in the open woodland. It was boggy underfoot with a sprinkling of snow covering whatever paths there were. A stiff pull up the hillside took us to the open moors as the day started to improve, dark clouds shifting to leave a lovely clear blue sky.
Behind us, fabulous views back to Snowdon and Crib Goch came into view. Striking colours; lines of blue sky, snow, bracken and forest held our attention. A series of rock outcrops showed the way up to the edge of Y Cribau, the hill rising between the Snowdon range and Moel Siabod above Capel Curig. We were then in the wind, not as strong as we expected, in the lee of the heights to our west. This rough rock was ideal for short scrambles taking us up to the fence above the cliffs down the east of the hill. Snow had formed small drifts filling the path and smoothing out the landscape. We were the first and probably only ones up there that day so we had the delight of breaking the path across the fresh snow. The sheep fence was a useful handrail to the col above the cwm. Llynnau Diwaunyyd and the edge of the forest beautifully framed the view of Moel Siabodd above, looking splendid in its fresh covering of snow.
Lunch was grabbed behind a small crag, out of the wind but chilly. We didn’t tarry long, leaving Nas’s stash of chocolate and flapjack for another day. Snow was coming towards us up Llanberis pass and over Snowdon. This gave us just a short time to get to the pub before the storm came. Following another fence took us easily across the pathless bleak moor. Soon the welcome site of Pen Y Gwryd Hotel was just visible through the now heavy blizzard.
I had not been in this historic place before. Inside it is reminiscent of small, remote Alpine hut but serving lovely local Welsh beer. A couple of pints in front of a warm log fire passed the time while the blizzard passed over. After admiring the autographs of famous mountaineers, scrawled on the ceiling of the bar, we set off back to the hostel up the lower part of the Pyg track.
Tonight was curry night before the long journey home tomorrow for those from the home counties.