Sunday, 11 March 2012

Standing on the Pinnacle of Wales

Date: 10 March 2012
Time: 11:00

After a couple of low-adventure years TheSurlyGent and myself decided that 2012 was the year we would kick-start things and try and climb all of the Three Peaks.

Two weeks ago we attempted Snowdon, but had to abort due to the snow and generally inclement weather.  We're well equipped for camping and walking but we simply don't have the gear or training to tackle a mountain in the snow.  So on Saturday 10th March, with determination in our hearts, we set out for another go.

I use my Nexus One as a GPS, and I plugged into the wrong USB charger in the car, so the battery lunched itself during the ascent - a schoolboy error, and a potentially dangerous one.  The Gents phone is also a smartphone which can be relied up onto eat batteries especially in a low signal area.  Essential kit from now on will include a dumb phone with massive battery life, just in case.

This was the first outing for my new Olypus TG-610 Tough...all the photos in the blog were taken with it.  Still getting to grips with its intricacies. seven AM the Gent and myself set off from Cheshire and just outside Wrexham felt the pangs of hunger and decided a good breakfast was in order:

Weather looks a bit grim...

Eggs, bacon, sausage and black pud - the Breakfast of Champions!

Suitably refreshed we sauntered on towards the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel, where the Snowdon Ranger path pretty much starts.

TheSurlyGent layers up in the carpark.

We reached the Snowdon Ranger carpark at about 10:30, and by the time we'd prepped the kit it was 10:45 and we set off.

The day was mild, dry and a little dull - perfect.

11:00 saw us crossing the railway and onto the path proper.

Part way up I tried the Panorama function of my new Olympus TG-610.  Hmmm..I need to check the instructions again.

 The above is a view across Llyn Cwellyn from quite early on in the climb.

This is the third time we'd climbed the Ranger path and the forth we'd done Snowdon (the other path we'd tried being a hellish drag up the dull, gravel monotony that is Llanberis - never again...).

View from the top of thr zigzag (probably Llyn y Dywarchen)

Snow Ranger starts quite gently - a zig-zag across a field that slopes steeply towards the railway.  Its easy going and a nice start.

After about 1/3 of a mile the path levels out and crosses a couple of streams.  There is a long straight, easy path along the southern slopes of Moel Cynghorion, and up to Bwl Cwm Brwynog.

One of the many steams on the mountain

The path gets harder from here on in, with areas of shingle, rough stones and even the opportunity for rock-hopping.  This path is apparently a bridleway, but I hate to try and take a horse along it.  A goat maybe...

I didnt take any photos of these rougher areas as I was trying to keep up with the Gent, and avoiding plummeting to my dead.

We met a couple of cyclists on the route - I'm more horsey than bikey, but the Gent is a committed cyclist and has the scars to prove it...

Much of the path overlooks the lovely Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas reservoir - if I come this way again in the summer I have every interntion to have a dip on the way down.   I Llyn Cwellyn is also used for swimming, and ope water swimming is something the Gent and myself need to investigate.

Various views of  Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas below....

 At this point we entered the mist you can see in the first photo of Llyn Ffynnon-y...there was little to see and less the photograph.  Suffice to say by the time we got to the railway line the wind was getting up, we were both dew-dropped with moisture and it was starting to get very cold.  Snow was evident up there.

Here you can see the railway line, and the mist that engulfed the top of Snowdon.  Seeing this made me grateful we'd given up a few weeks ago.  The situation would have been in place for us to get into real trouble, and we very much made the right call.

Its a short haul from here up to the summit, up some rocks and then concrete steps before the ascent the precarious cairn that holds the trig point on the very peak of the mountain.

The weather got progressively worse - colder, and much windier, but evetually we made it... 2 1/2 hours of walking time (not counting a couple of stops for fiddling with kit) to finish the 3 1/2 miles.
ThePeaksman and TheSurlyGent conquer the mountain!
I should point out here I'm only about an inch taller than the Gent so I can only assume he was standing in some sort of hole.  Regardless, at 6' 5" in my boots (6' 3" in my socks) I was the highest person in the whole of England and Wales.

Obviously the descent is much quicker, and not counting a lunch break we completed it in about 2 hours.  Not too bad, but we both need to get a lot fitter before we hit Ben Nevis.

 Half way down we stopped for lunch - Jetboiled coffee and pheasant pie.  Just because you're on a mountain it does'nt mean you can't live well....

What seemed to be a pair of ravens came to visit us.  They kept their distance but they were magnificent.

Next Snowdon trip will be on a new path, as we're done the Ranger a few times and need a new challenge!

I must recommed, from where I took many of the placenames - it made my job massively easier!

Its always variable, but the camera does make a decent fist of panoramas

The 2009 trip to Snowdon, on a day when the sky was luminous and gin-clear.

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