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North Wales Weekend

A contribution from Our Climbing Secretary, Gerry Oaten.

I awoke to the shrill sound of the alarm clock at 7 a.m. "God!" I thought, "another Monday!"  Then I thought again "Hang on, though.  What happened to Saturday and Sunday? - and why am I in my sleeping bag?"

Then my sleep-numbed brain began to work.  Of course it was only Saturday, and I was sleeping in my tent in Llanberis pass. Mary stirred beside me and, as she had promised to get breakfast, I relieved my usual morning misery by helping her on her way with an elbow in the ribs a few times.  As I lay snug in my bag, I watched her make breakfast though half open eyes and it never ceases to amaze me how she manages to make it without getting out of her bag.

After eating my porridge, made the Scottish way with salt instead of sugar (which I complained about loudly and Mary ended up by calling me a Sassenach) we woke up ever - a pal of mine.

Mary, Tom and I drove to Ogwyn Valley and left the car at the Outdoor Pursuit Centre and started to walk up the Carnedds.  The ascent of the Carnedds via Pen-yr-OleuWen (3,211 ft) by way of the tea shack is straight up.  It is the steepest walk to over three thousand feet that I know. Unfortunately, a lot of the ascent is scree, which takes tree steps to achieve two.  As we reached the summit, the winds grew to fearsome force, tending to blow you over or bowl you along.  The view from the top of Pen-yr-Oleu-wen is quite breathtaking.  To the South West, Tryfan, the Glyders and Y Garn in all their glory and splendour.  Then, looking further to the West, the outline of Mynydd Perfedd.  The wind kept covering everything in mist - a spectacular view one minute and visibility down to a couple of hundred yards the next. We continued our walk via the ridge leading to Carnedd Daffydd (3,424ft).  The walk was now a gentle pace, following the cairns across a plateau.  Occasionally one of the many cairns turned out to be a rescue shelter made out of the scree.  It makes a rough but effective shelter from the powerful wind.  As we passed Carnedd Daffydd towards Craig Llugwy (3,185ft) the mist broke, revealing our objective - Carnedd Llywelyn (3,485ft).  To reach the base of Llywelyn one has to cross a ridge where the wind really was trying to push one over the lip of the ridge to the valley below, which would not have been nice.  Upon reaching the summit, visibility was down to nil.  We sought out a shelter and had our midday meal. After a short while we were joined by five men in orange cags, and a red setter dog.

"I wonder who they are?" said Tom.

"R.A.F.", I replied.  He regarded me with suitable amazement.

"How do you know?"

“One of them has it on his back in four inch letters!" I retorted.

As we prepared to move, we were joined by a chap who asked us whether we were going to Foel Fras. We replied "No," as it was out of our way.  He thought for a moment, then asked if he might join us because of the mist and the fact that he was by himself.  We agreed and set off for Penyrhelgidu (2,733ft) but, as nobody could agree on the right direction, out came the map and the compass.  Once we had our bearings we began to descend towards the ridge that leads to Penyrhelgidu.  Here, the mist broke once more and enabled us to scan the surrounding country for Roy and his party who were going to be half an hour behind us from the camp, but they were nowhere to be seen.  On reaching the summit, we had a short rest, as the walk up the last bit was quite steep. The next summit in the chain is pen Llithrig-y-wrach (2,122ft).  Still walking along a ridge, the pace was pleasant - we were out of the clouds and the sun was smiling upon us.  From the top, looking east, is the large Llyn Cowlyd reservoir, which looked very inviting from our lofty perch.  We set off towards the A5 road, which was a couple of miles in the distance.  There we said goodbye to our companion, and walked beside Llyn Ogwen back to the tea hut for a quick cup before we went back to the camp.

Saturday evening was spent quietly relaxing in the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, indulging in pints and whiskey chasers.  Here we heard what had happened to Roy and Co.  Upon reaching the summit of Pen-yr-Oleu-wen, they took the same route as we had but as they began the ascent of Carnedd Llywelyn, the mist came down and - with an inexperienced party - he decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and turned back.

After our early start (early for me, that is) on Saturday, we indulged in a bit of a lay in on Sunday. After a quick breakfast (too quick for my liking!) Mary, Tom and I walked to Nant Peris then took a path which led to Llyn y Cwrn.  Whether it was just the effect of too many chasers or whether I was just plain shattered, I just could not get into the rhythm of the walk, so by the time we reached the llyn I was not very happy with the world.  Mary kept striding ahead and I kept cursing her and promising to saw twelve inches (15½cms if you like - well, we are going metric!) off one leg. We continued our walk right up towards Y Garn (3,104ft).  Anyone who has walked this mountain will know that it is a long tedious slog.  After my first ascent of it, I promised myself never to do it again.  It is a slope of between 40 and 45 degrees and it just goes on and on - but here I was again – cursing!  Finally we reached the top where we had a snack and talked Mary (first with pleas then with threats) to go back down.  Anyway, the weather was getting worse (that's my excuse!).  On the way down, the mist cleared and once again we were confronted with a beautiful view of the train on the ridge leading to Snowdon.

Back at camp, we quickly packed our tents as the weather looked like breaking.  We were joined by Roy and Co. who had just walked around Llanberis.  As we drove out of the pass it started to rain, giving us our usual send off from North Wales.

The Climbing Section hope to hold several meets in North Wales this winter for snow climbing and walking, but as arrangements will be made at short notice, keep your ears open at the Hunters or the Seven Stars - or keep your eye open for anything on the Belfry notice board.



ANNUAL SUBS are due on the 31st of January.  This is a first reminder for 1975!