Outlands 2016 (Day 1) - Snowdon Horseshoe (part thereof)
by Graeme D » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:44 am
Hewitts included on this walk: Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl, Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa
Date walked: 02/07/2016
Time taken: 8.2
Distance: 16 km
Ascent: 1370m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Fast forward some 13 months and the same Mr Bellis was responsible for a post floating the idea of a summer camping meet in Snowdonia. I was on it in a flash, declaring I was in with a comment of "One Alan Bellis, there's only one Alan Bellis!"
I had missed the official WH Spring meet in Gairloch as I had been on a family holiday in Northumberland and I was going to miss the Summer meet at the end of July in Inchnadamph, again due to holiday commitments, this time in France. So Mr Bellis's meet at the Dolgam campsite in Capel Curig was just what the doc would have ordered!
Much had happened since that memorable Brattleburn night 18 months previously. Wales had discovered they actually had a football team and had qualified for their first major football Championships since........ well, for a very long time indeed. Indeed much had happened since last week - Wales had qualified for their very first major football Championships quarter-finals since......... well, ever! Stunning stuff indeed but these are indeed interesting times in which we live, even without the ups and downs of Euro 2016. The footy in France had been turned into something of a side show by the events of the EU referendum which had seen English and Welsh votes drag Scotland and Northern Ireland out of the EU. But football is nothing if not a parody of real life and in a cruel twist of fate, poor Northern Ireland were humped out of Europe against their will twice in the space of four days at the hands of the Welsh, while Roy Hodgson showed that at least one Englishman had a clear and effective strategy for promptly exiting Europe (credit to John Paul Bell for that particular gem!)
Scotland being a miserable excuse for a football team these days, there was little else for it but to throw my lot in with the Welsh (in a football sense at least, let's say no more about their political decision!). The timing was perfect - not only was there a quarter final against Belgium to look forward to that Friday evening, but it was also the start of the school summer holidays, term having finished at 12 o'clock that same day. Time to head for the Outlands of England and Wales!
With tedious predictability, I was later away from school than I had hoped. Whose idea was it to have a meeting on the last half day of the bloody year!!!!!?????? I had entertained the idea of stopping off in the Lake District on the way down the road for a quick smash and grab raid on a Wainwright or two, but the late departure from Perth and the fact that as I approached Penrith on the M6 a few hours later the windscreen wipers were struggling to cope with the deluge from the skies, I thought better of it and drove on towards the Belgium game.
Well, between the intermittent torrential downpours and the seemingly inexplicable traffic jams which reduced progress to walking pace, I was already in a foul mood by the time I hit the Welsh border. The M56/A494/A55 stretch around Chester was the final straw and I bailed out at St Asaph where I nipped down to Denbigh and then took the windy but rather scenic and considerably quieter A543 down to Pentrefoelas to pick up the A5 through Betws-y-Coed and into Capel Curig.
A welcoming committee of Alan Bellis and the Three Amigos from Geordieland (Mark, Michael and another Alan) awaited, others clearly still doing battle with the traffic on the long journey south. Slowly but surely others limped into camp and got set up before the main business of the evening - the long walk to the Bryn Tyrch Inn for the football and beers. Much grumbling was heard as we walked past two perfectly good looking boozers to reach our destination, where we watched Wales dismantle the Belgians to reach the semi-finals! Mr Bellis was remarkably restrained but inside I think he was in a sublime state of shock, which later manifested itself in a trance like state and repeated chanting of "We're in the semis! We're in the semis!" Despite the torrential rain and lack of appropriate waterproofs, the walk back along the road in the dark saw much less in the way of grumbling!
The general consensus was that most folks fancied doing the Snowdon Horseshoe route on the Saturday, although Eli, Carol, Janet and Sue opted for a low level walk near Beddgelert while Scoob, Fi, Al and Alison went for Tryfan and the Glyders. That left 10 of us heading for Pen-y-Pass in 2 cars - Welsh Alan, Geordie Alan, Michael, Mark, Keith, Bod, Val, Hugh, AJ and myself.
Despite our best efforts to make a quick start, the car park at Pen-y-Pass was rammed by the time we got there, so it was down to the roadside parking on the 4086 next to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, leaving us with the kilometre and a half walk back uphill to Pen-y-Pass.
Despite this, spirits were high as we set off, half of our number looking forward to their first encounter with the fabled Crib Goch arête. I had done the Horseshoe 10 years ago to the very month on my first and only visit to Snowdonia while on holiday with my wife in Criccieth and had very fond memories of the scrambling to be had. Funnily enough, Bod and Val had done Snowdon the very same month, although via a less precipitous route. I wonder if we were on the hill the same day? Val was certainly buzzing with the prospect, albeit tinged with a little trepidation.
Setting off from the cars at the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel for the walk up to Pen-y-Pass
When we hit Pen-y-Pass, the scale and nature of the throng became apparent and for the first few hundred metres or so, a bit of jostling for position was required. It was a riot of pastel coloured waterproofs, walking poles and miscellaneous headgear. Fortunately most of the crowd would be taking the Pyg Track the whole way and we would leave them at the foot of the Crib Goch ridge.
Just another quiet Saturday on the Pyg Track to Snowdon
Pass of Llanberis
Back down the track to Pen-y-Pass and Moel Berfedd
Keith and Val (with Bod caught in full flow in the background!)
Approaching the Crib Goch junction
Right enough, the sea of people mostly carried on over the bealach to drop down towards Llyn Llydaw on the Pyg Track while the 10 of us steeled ourselves for Crib Goch. The route ahead looked clear with no sign of people that we could see. As we passed the Crib Goch sign, I had a wee moment of sadness as I recalled a 2 year old LucyDog romping her way over Crib Goch that July day in 2006. Now pushing 13, she is an old arthritic lady who finds it a struggle to manage the few hundred metres down the street and back up the lane to the house.
Hugh, Alan, AJ and Alan about to get stuck into Crib Goch
Crib Goch this way!
Far from the Madd(en)ing Crowd
We were soon into the guts of Crib Goch, a festival of chimneys, downclimbs, handholds and generally making it up as you go along. A few smaller groups appeared behind us but ahead it looked like we had the place to ourselves.
Hugh paying careful attention to the footwork
Keith and Val doing some early scrambling with Llyn Llydaw and Y Lliwedd in the background
Alan and Bod
Into the serious stuff!
Mr Bellis leads the way
Getting strung out on the scramble
Mr Bellis and one of the local burds
Getting into bum clenching mode
On the arête itself, a variety of techniques were displayed, some more graceful than others, but fortunately the only thing to take the plunge into the rocky abyss was Bod's Lucozade bottle. He managed to climb down and recover it, its battered state testifying to what happens to anything or anyone that takes that plunge.
Hugh sitting down on the job
Bod taking the more casual approach
A Welshman and a couple of Geordies
Michael busting some dance moves on the arete
On either side the abyss
Mark bringing up the rear
Mark, you're being followed!
Wave to the camera!
Approaching the pinnacles towards the end of the Crib Goch arete
Llyn Llydaw and Y Lliwedd
On the Pinnacles
Hold onto your hat Valerie!
Once over the broken pinnacles, the going became a little easier and less exposed for the climb up to Crib y Ddysgl, the second summit of the day. You really get the feeling that this is a neglected summit, an afterthought on the route wedged between the drama of Crib Goch and the madness of Yr Wyddfa (or Snowdon if you prefer that kind of thing).
Looking back to the Crib Goch arete
Crib Goch with Moel Siabod behind
Keith and Alan discuss Brexit before another spot of scrambling
Back to Crib Goch
Mark and that hat
Bod pops up the chimney
Crib Goch and Moel Siabod
Bod sticking with the tried and tested hands in pockets approach
Scrambling onto Crib y Ddysgl
Scrambling and deliberations
Approaching the trig point of Crib y Ddysgl
Y Lliwedd shrouded in cloud
Snowdon from the trig point of Crib y Ddysgl
Llyn Llydaw and Y Lliwedd from Crib y Ddysgl
Y Lliwedd and Yr Wyddfa
Back to Crib Goch
From here we dropped down to the junction of the Pyg Track and the Llanberis and Snowdon Ranger Paths, the first two of these being like a sea of displaced humanity on the move from a war zone!
Dropping down towards the top of the Pyg Track
North west along the Cwm Brwynog
WTF are all these people doing up here????!!!!!
Down the Pyg Track to Glaslyn
The next train approaching platform 2 is the 3.27 from ............
Llyn Cwellyn and Moel Cynghorion
Where are the British Transport Police when you need them????!!!!
All vestiges of mountain serenity were blown away at the summit as the steam train pulled in and hundreds of people with selfie sticks queued to climb the summit cairn. There was no way I was joining any such queue and the Geordie lads clearly felt the same way as they simply walked around to the other side of the cairn and climbed up from there, bypassing the queue.
There are no words!
Llyn Llydaw, Moel Siabod and Y Lliwedd
Alien spaceship lands on top of busy Welsh mountain
Seagull soars over Crib Goch
The café was no less like a scene from Dante's Inferno, as people jostled for position and nerves frayed. After a quick look inside, I settled for standing outside and eavesdropping on conversations. I heard it all: domestic disputes, parents losing their rag with children, complaints about the price of the coffee, and most worrying but perhaps least surprising of all - "Where are we and how do we get down from here"? The sense of panic only increased when a woman came out of the café and put a sign up saying that all single journey tickets for descent on the train were now sold out for the rest of the day. "Oh s**t! What the f**k do we do now"? I heard one lady say! Time to get outta Dodge - we gathered up the troops and left, but not before misplacing Mark and Michael who we had to wait for at the top of the Pyg Track.
Descending the Pyg Track to Glaslyn
Pyg Track running below the flanks of Crib Goch, Miners Track dropping to Glaslyn
We left the Pyg Track at the Miners Track junction and followed the latter down to Glaslyn and then along the shores of Llyn Llydaw, passing the crumbling remains of old mine workings on the way, before returning to a slightly quieter Pen-y-Pass from where we opted for the road descent rather than more stone staircase through the fields.
Glaslyn with Y Lliwedd in the background
Bod and Hugh lead the way on the Miners Track
Snowdon looms over four Geordies and a Welshman
Bod and Val passing the old mine workings
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:10 pm
And also the Roy Hodgson joke...
by Borderhugh » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:11 pm
Wont forget Alan's face in a hurry when Wales went in front, Grib Goch was special, the morons and their comments on the summit.
by Bod » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:00 pm
by mountainstar » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:11 pm
Full of wit and wisdom...except ""Where are we and how do we get down from here"?" and "Oh s**t! What the f**k do we do now"? I hope that wasn't you earwigging me? lol
And to share what was our proud nation's finest hour in football with a pile of Scott's and English was rather special, although not everyone shared my joy...Geordie Mark
I enjoyed the weekend so much I suspect we will have to do it again soon...you know what we say...We'll keep a welcome in the hillside....
by AJNicholls » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:23 pm
by Bmg99 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:27 pm
by ChrisW » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:58 pm
Great entertaining read as always
by Gordie12 » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:23 pm
Why are all those people walking up Snowdon when there's a perfectly good train service to take you close to the top without any effort. Thank God I had the good sense to get the train a few years ago, that looks too much like hard work to me