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davidx Llanberis - A travel report by David
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Llanberis,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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davidx's travel reports

Snowdonia, the 3,000 footers, walkers’ interest.

  16 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Snowdonia is an area of mountains that includes fifteen over 3,000 feet. One has been reclassified and thus included since I did the ‘14 peaks walk’ but it did include all 15 even so.

The 14/15 peaks walk is often treated as a challenge or sponsored walk. The record is the sort of ridiculous figure that only a trained athlete could achieve – a different species as far as I’m concerned. I did the walk with two friends with no thoughts of the record. We might have come near to achieving one even so – but it would be for the slowest in one day. I doubt we did, although we started early below Crib Goch and ended several hours into next morning at Aber Falls. Would I do it again? I can’t because of heart problems and my two friends have done it again recently. To be honest I don’t think I should have done, even if I could. Some parts of the walk are sheer drudgery with insufficient scenic reward to justify it and others deserve slower walking and thorough examination without the pressure of a long set route. Moreover I’m horrified by what a number of set routes have done by way of erosion and this area has not been spared. I see no point in putting the metric heights on a map drawn specifically to illustrate the walk – 914.4 metres sounds a silly height anyway but the only one that I can find does just that! nowdonia/threes.htm at least lets you see the route if you check it on www.ordnancesurvey.c To explain our route in brief, the peaks fall into three sections; the Snowdon Group [3], the Glyders and Tryfan [5] and the Carnedds. [6/7]. Between each of the groups it’s necessary to drop to a road. We started where the Miners Track up Snowdon from Pen y Pass leaves the track over Crib Goch, leaving tents behind to be picked up by our ‘Sherpa Group’, two friends who were driving around for this, to feed us much later between the Glyders and the Carnedds and to pitch camp and meet us when we finally descended at Aber Falls near the A55 coast road. Without their assistance we might well have got the record for the slowest time in a day, if we’d managed in a single day at all.

Favourite spots:
I should never have believed in advance that the section over the Carnedds [dd in Welsh sounds much like th in English] would become favourite when I looked back. As we descended from Tryfan, paramount among them all by shape although only just scraping in by height, we were running late and the thought of the Carnedds with the dark falling wasn’t a happy one. The great unbroken mass of Pen yr Ole Wen in front of us did nothing to make it more so. However, once fed by ‘the Sherpas’, we faced that drag and it was then that the favourite section started. Carnedd Dafydd, though slightly smaller than its ‘brother’, Carnedd Llewellyn, was the first, and only, point where we could see all the 14/15. The lights were just coming on in the little seaside villages and everything was suffused with a pink glow from the setting sun. Then we walked through a fabulous starlit night, without a trace of light pollution and with shooting stars galore.

What's really great:
The ridge along Crib Goch to Crib y Ddysgl must always be special, as long as you have visibility. I’ve done it many times but it’s a long time ago now and I don’t like thinking how it could have suffered from erosion in the interim. It was no place for anyone with the teeniest tendency towards vertigo as there are phenomenal drops of each side. This is part of what is known as the Snowdon Horseshoe and the views over to the other side of that route, the Lliwedd, are pretty smart. On the other side are the Glyders, not presenting their best visage in this direction and hiding Tryfan from site. However the nearer views of the flanks of Snowdon itself more than make up. Whereas being up there at first light and going over pinnacles clear of other people, something vastly different from all my other times there, was pretty marvellous, it would have been even better if we cold have savoured it, rather than having to keep looking at our watches and considering what lay ahead.

Parts of the middle and long section of the walk over the Glyders were spoilt by mist – or were they spoilt? Would it have been better for us to have seen what lay before us when trudging up Elidr Fawr and Y Garn. You notice this doesn’t come under favourites or special, though it was certainly especially appalling. Be all that as it may, I never want to see Elidr Fawr again, a great drag of a slate mound with about a million false summits [maybe fewer really but that’s how I remember it] and totally insignificant from the road below. As for Y Garn, it’s rather attractive from the road, looking something like a bell. If you set an ant in front of a bell, maybe it will give you an idea how it felt. I think we felt more weary at this stage than later, when we probably had better reason to.

Our tent was set up at a site at Llanfairfechan [single F sounds as a V in English, double F like an F]. There is still a site there but my 36 year old son was a baby then so my memories of it will hardly be relevant. I remember hearing a petulant hiss from someone who couldn’t have been expected to share our jubilation at that hour.

Fortunately we never saw one except in the far distance. The temptation might well have been too great.

Other recommendations:
The Glyders are wonderful mountains with the so-called Castle of the Winds and Bristly Ridge contributing much to the view. The fabulous shape of Tryfan I’ve already mentioned. It was not until we reached castle of the Winds that we lost that mist and the sight of the gap, where we had to drop a mighty lot of feet before we could have a go at Tryfan, was not wholly pleasing. I’ve walked on these mountains many times and I’ve never enjoyed them less than on this occasion.

The last mountains on the walk are not interesting as mountains – grass lumps in fact, but they were included in the stretch with the shooting stars and the absence of light pollution was everything that mattered.

And Snowdon itself? Snowdon Summit and Yr Elen in the Carnedds are both worth seeing in their own right but on our route they were irritating, because both meant a considerable amount of backtracking.

Published on Saturday May 7th, 2005

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Sun, May 08 2005 - 11:44 AM rating by mistybleu

David, I would have loved to see pictures, because your descriptions are so intriging, but I know sometimes it's just not possible.

But I really enjoyed reading your report, Snowdon is a place I would very much like to see. One day....


Sat, May 07 2005 - 10:26 AM rating by kandath

Great report David. It brought back nostalgic memories of my long walk to the top of Snowden way back in 1980 !! Its a distant dream now.

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