Red Faces on Tryfan

Hewitts: Tryfan

Date walked: 12/10/2017

After Y Garn, we fancied a rest day, and R(husband) suggested we go and look at the Llyn that nestles under the western end of the Nantlle Ridge. We took lunch and had a lazy day. I am finding it harder and harder to get back into the picture after 10 seconds, especially in a rock strewn environment. From left to right, R, G and D with T seated


Then anti clockwise from top left, the Llyn. Watching two shepherds get a dog to bring the sheep down from high in the Corrie. Wall. Notice by the nearby reservoir. Skimming stones.
The day following, Hurricane Ophelia was due to make landfall, so we went to Conwy instead of climbing anything. First to Plas Mawr,( top two on left,) then to Conwy Castle (next two). That is T standing on the tower exposed to the wind. There are two Weather Watcher Pictures for the BBC, the larger of which got an Editor’s Pick.

Five days into the week'sholiday and I was beginning to think that the others would have gone home before we could climb Tryfan which was the main point of me inviting them as R had climbed it via the north ridge as a younger man, and thought it might be rather daunting. Indeed he had made it sound so bad that I had contemplated leaving him to nurse his knee and getting a guide. Then T and D brushed all his fears aside with the news that they had done it in the ‘70s with their kids, then 7 and 10 and had carried on to do the Glyders. T said "That was the place where we got a ticking off from this old couple...we let the kids race each other to the top and they said we were terribly irresponsible."

We parked at Ogwen again and instead of turning right, carried straight on towards the waterfall.

Here the path did get steep.

Looking towards Tryfan

Looking back towards the Llyn

We missed the left turn across the stream and carried on to the Llyn. Here it was harder to cross, since R has long since been unable to boulder hop. He hurt his knee a bit by part kneeling across and also got rather wet.

We carried on up the path

And up

And up

And up

And up

And up

Until we got to a wall and stile where G said that he thought he would prefer to have lunch and wait for our return. He and D who decided to keep him company would look after the rucksacks. So leaving everything except cameras in the rucksacks we set off
There are no photos of the next bit as I was too busy using my hands for scrambling. At one point T decided that there was far too much exposure, so we doubled back to find a better way and got stuck in the bottom of a gully unable to get up the huge boulders. When R reached us, far above, he just carried on, and the exposure was only a few feet.
I handed the camera to a young guy to take the picture at the top

Then I thought I really ought to take a few descending.
T had a rethink and told me that he couldn’t possibly have been so irresponsible to have brought his children up Tryfan, it must have been something else (though he still maintained that they had climbed Crib Goch on the same holiday).
We started down.

When we got to the place we recognised as having been where we left G and D, they were no longer there, nor were the rucksacks. We checked the wall and all the stiles. We checked both sides of the wall. We looked behind the rocks. All the while we were wondering if G and D could possibly have managed an extra three rucksacks. Perhaps for a short time. Perhaps as far as the hut we could see beneath us where they could shelter from the wind. T hurtled down the hill with me in lukewarm pursuit. R’s hurtling days are over so it was a while before he got down to us and the news that there was no sign of them. Perhaps one of them had fallen ill and a stronger party had escorted them down carrying the rucksacks?
We made our way despondently down, pas the Llyn, down beside the waterfall and across the moor. There were G and D, both quite happy, healthy and pleased to see us .There WEREN’T three rucksacks. G and D had become extremely cold sitting around waiting and had decided to descend
The guy in the NT café had heard nothing, so we went home and contacted (a) the police (b) the NT warden service (c) social media.(d) MRT in case they provoked a false alarm.


This engendered more heat than light, though we did get an offer via Robin08 on Twitter from a local guy named Jason who volunteered to go and have a look on a forthcoming good day.
The following day, our friends' last, R and I went and bought new rucksacks and waterproof trousers while the others did more stately homes. We were issued separate crime numbers by the police, and next day left the cottage.

On the Saturday (a poor day too) R and I transferred to Aberystwyth from where we climbed Plynlimon,. On the Monday we moved again this time to Llanberis. On the Tuesday we met a guy on top of Glyder Fawr who had come across from Tryfan and asked him, almost jokingly, if he had seen any abandoned rucksacks. “Yes three, and some sticks!” We were scunnered. We obviously had to go up again and look for them.

So almost a week after we had lost them, we climbed back up to the bwlch convinced that we would find them. En-route we met a NT work party mending the path and making a great job of it

As we approached the bwlch we saw a party starting up Bristly Ridge. Zooked to the extreme

They were not there. We searched both sides of the wall and swung outwards to include the rocks, though the guy had told us they were leaning against a stile. Nothing. Nowt. Zero. Zilch. Diddly squat.
Then I turned round and found that a party of teenagers together with a few adults in charge were sitting on some rocks eating their lunch. I told them our sad story as R descended from checking the higher stile for a second time. They immediately fanned out and searched the surrounding area, and could find nothing, as I could have told them. Then they took my phone number and said that they would search further up. R and I descended despondently. R looking very unbalanced with only one stick. He had turned down the offer of mine since it had kept collapsing on him on our previous descent

About twenty minutes into the descent we got a phone call from one of the lovely Outdoor Instructors: they had found the rucksacks “Exactly where you said you had left them, against a stile.”
They insisted on carrying the rucksacks down to the bottom. The students were on some sort of course where they had to benefit the community, and it was hard to find such an obvious benefit as this.
Once down we did not have long to wait before the first of the boys appeared with T’s rucksack, then mine, weighing a ton. They presumably felt they shouldn’t look inside, so not only did mine contain a thermos of ex hot water, but half a Sigg bottle of cold plus a fleece that seemed to have swallowed half of storm Brian.
Below, Will ceremoniously handing over R’s rucksack

What a great party. We tried to give them some money for their group,but they said what they would really like was a letter to the Principle of Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea to tell him how the students had helped us. So we did, telling him they were a credit to themselves, their teachers and the Coleg.

I had to grovel on social media

How did it happen?
A combination of circumstances
This is G’s map, which probably outlined the true state of affairs

Though even after we had retrieved the rucksacks T was still fighting old battles

We must have circled round to the second, lower set of stiles. T was the first to get there, and R and I are so used to his perfect navigation that we jumped to the same conclusion as he did. After all, he has prepared access maps for a lot of Yorkshire. But both of us thought we had arrived at the right place too. In retrospect we know that there are two stretches of similar wall both with two stiles in the central bit. Then, as Robinho08 had suggested, we were concerned that something might have happened to G or D and wanted to get down to find out rather than look at the map (ours didn’t have the stiles marked anyway) and hunt around.

We hope it was nothing to do with the average age of the party being 78, people keep telling me ANYONE could have made the same mistake.

I just posted T’s rucksack back to him after we finished drying out his maps. I hope they won’t be put off coming with us again. His phone, unlike mine, did not withstand Storm Brian* and is now dead.

T got out his old '70s photos and found that they did indeed take their children up Tryfan. He is going to see if he can scan them from slides once they have moved house, and let me have a copy.

I imagine the Gwynedd Police are thrilled at having cleared up three crimes in such a short space of time.

*R and I had mocked Storm Brian. An 86 year old lady used to walk a white westie in a tartan jacket round our block "Don't think that Iwould ever call a dog Brian, I got him from an old lady who went into a home. So we had rounded on each other when we heard he was coming and said "Don't think that I would ever call a storm Brian, I got him from an old lady." Turned out he caused more damage than we thought.

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