Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Parcio. Walkio. Campio! Walkio!

Thats right. The true Welsh speakers amoungst you will be as confused as the rest! Basically Rich and I headed up to North Wales for a delightful weekend of self punishment through the medium of heavy rucksacks...

We managed to get up to the camp site below Tryfan for just before midnight on Friday, after a relaxed getaway and faff at mine. Pitching the tent in the dark next to the sewer outlet was a stroke of genius that kept rich in fitful sleep all night, whilst I happily drank in the pooh aroma in side my toasty minus 9 bag. Both somewhat rested, we headed out at the crack of 7, after an uncomfortable moment when we thought we might not have had enough cash to pay for the site, whilst the black cigarette toting, tatood farmer looked at us with an expression that can only be described as 'valleys rock'.

Anyway, a short walk along the A5 saw us popping up the access road to the reservoir and up the flank of Y Braich via our own route, to break our first sweat, before following the path to the summit of Pen Yr Helgi Du and then along Y Lassalt towards Pen Llithrig Y Wrach. The weather was eceptionally good at this point and visibility was amazing. We stopped for a twix and admired the views over Cwm Eigiau and the Llyn Eigau reservoir.

Full of twix, we headed over to the crest path through a nice depth of heather and drank in the amazing view of the Llyn Cowlyd reservoir which was shimmering beutifully in the hazy sunshine. Again, a picture here would be amazing, but the fuji S2 battery eater had sprung its magic again and basically turned into dead weight. Rest assured the view was filled with fawns and imps of all variety in a Narnia-esque vista. With farewells said to Mr Tumnus, we headed on and created our own route of maximum resistance down to the Llyn Eigau reservoir, before assessing our situation as the cloud had really come in over the tops now and a good level of mist was everywhere except low in the valley. Our original plan had been to head over to the area near Cerrig Cochion on the map and then head round the top of the Dulyn Res. before hitting Garnedd Uchaf. We scrapped this for a walk up Cwm Eigiau where we'd take the path roughly to Foel Grach, onto Garnedd Uchaf and then take a bearing into Cwm Caseg.

As we headed up from the mine buildings in the Cwm, though, it became clear that the wind and absolute white out would make this nav reasonably hard as we were taking refs from indistinct features at the best of times. Having slogged up the river onto the Gledrffordd (yes that is a word) in 20ft vis, we decided we were really tired and this was stupid, so headed back down and set up an amazing camp above the disused mine. Very good views of Alphabet buttress which I really want to do - the UK's longest climb at 294m and an absolute classic.

The wind had got up, but after an excellent night in the Voyager - where any excursion outside for a wee or any other reason had to be accompanied by a shout of 'cliff!' from the person inside, as we were literally 1m from a very big drop - we set out at 7:15 into the same mist conditions that had been kicking around the night before. We navved up and hit our aim off points, but ran slightly low into the steepening ground above Ffynnon Llyffant and had to retrace and do a bit of a scramble. After that we got absolutely blasted by cold, windy cloud coming up onto the top of Carnedd Llewelyn, before an amazing shelter rock and break in the clouds made it all worth while. We decided that conditions would only be the same or get worse and therefore cut the route short, heading back down under Y Braich and back to the car in quick time, leaving at mid day! This left us time for a quick browse through the Cotswold rock bottom store before a leisurely drive home. Brilliant!

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