The Backpacking Trip That Wasn’t   8 comments

Easter has always been backpacking time for me the past few years. Me and THO, and more recently TJS, have headed up to Scotland for a full weekend of wild camping fun and games. We’ve had some sensational weather and that had to end sooner or later.

This year for a variety of reasons of work commitments and stupid timings of Easter and School Holidays, Scotland wasn’t really an option. We had therefore hatched a plan to backpack our way through Snowdonia and pick up all the Welsh 3000’s.

After an overnight in the very fine Oakfield House B&B (and an equally fine meal in the Royal Oak Hotel) we were ready.

And then the weather intervened, well eventually. The forecast for Friday was good but for the rest of the weekend was awful, heavy rain and high winds for almost the whole time. It was due to hit overnight so we amended the plan to take full advantage of Friday with a day walk, booked into a cheap Travelodge (very lucky to find a room last minute) for Friday night and would re-assess the weather on Saturday morning.

Friday was indeed a cracker and the round of Tryfan and the Glyders seemed appropriate. THO hadn’t been up here for many years and was keen to rekindle some old memories. It was cold down by Llyn Ogwen but the conditions were clear, sunny with abundant blue skies and cloud hugging the summits ready to clear

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The North ridge of Tryfan is one of the classic scrambles in the UK and I’ve climbed it many times. I never tire of its wonderful climb although I do tire of the first thousand feet straight up from the road. Still, the views were magnificent

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As soon as we reached the warmth of sun it was time to bask on the rocks

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Once up on the ridge the scrambling is great fun without ever being too exposed or difficult with a choice of routes. If you going to build a mountain around which to practice that art of scrambling it would be Tryfan

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As you climb higher the ridge gets narrower allowing you to get a real feel of being on a a major rock peak but without any real objective dangers

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The early start meant that this very popular peak wasn’t too crowded for a Bank Holiday Friday. We left the leap from Adam to Eve to the younger generation, preferring the quiet solitude and warmth of a sheltered terrace on the south peak. I could have stayed there all day and very nearly did. The clouds billowing over the Glyders ridge gave a very atmospheric feel

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In my younger days, the classic North ridge was followed by the even more impressive Bristly Ridge up onto Glyder Fach. What Tryfan had taught me was that my ageing limbs are not quite as agile as they once were and I was feeling stiff and not really up to the job of another thousand feet of scrambling. We settled for the alternative of a wander to Llyn Caseg Fraith, to check it out for wild camping potential.

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Its a splendid route and the views across to the rock of Tryfan’s east as it unfolded were very fine

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There were indeed some fine spots to camp, albeit a little exposed, as long as you stay away from the shore of the lake which was astoundingly boggy. The view with the triple buttress of Tryfan above the foreground of the lake is a classic, made even better by the frozen snow in the water

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We took a very circuitous route to take in a host of small tors and rocky points on the slopes of Glyder Fach. As every lump and bump in the Lake District is now a “Birkett’ we felt there needed to be a Welsh equivalent. After much deliberation we decided on the “Oggies”. We bagged several.

After the obligatory photo pose on the Cantilever and a scramble to the summit of Glyder Fach (much harder than I remember) we headed off around to the highest point on Glyder Fawr

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Intermittent cloud and bright sunshine made it very fetching

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We took the very sensible decision to go around rather then over/through the Castle of the Winds (an scramble of equal challenge and tedium I seem to recall) and along the edge of the massive cliffs of Glyder Fawr

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The view down the classic glacial valley of Nant Ffrancon never fails to impress

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After a brief summit snack we opted for the Y Gribin ridge as a way down. Again, I’d forgotten how steep and how loose it was and didn’t really enjoy it all that much. My painful right foot didn’t help much. We should have gone down past the Devils Kitchen and Cwm Ideal, a much better route now they’ve improved the path

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Once down by the Llyn Bochlwyd (or Llyn Australia as I prefer to call it) I got my mojo back in the late evening sun. The look of the clouds told us bad weather was coming but we were glad we’d had a top notch day on one of Britain’s finest mountain circuits

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And I’m afraid that was it for the weekend. We celebrated a cracking day with a fine curry in Bangor and retired to the luxury of the Travelodge on the A55.

We awoke to the expected rain and stayed in bed as long as our check out time allowed. Over breakfast in the Little Chef next door we checked the forecast which seemed to have got worse. It didn’t seem to be raining too hard so we did consider hanging around to see if it improved. As we put away various versions of greasy fried meat the heavens opened and we watched as the trees bent and the rain bounced alarmingly off the picnic tables outside. Wild camping for 2-3 days in a wind blown deluge didn’t seem very appealing so we called it quits and went home.

Still, one fine day is better than none

8 responses to “The Backpacking Trip That Wasn’t

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  1. Shame about the backpacking, but what an amazing day anyway!

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    • We’d have done a wild camp if the bad weather had stayed away till the next morning but it was due to hit in the middle of the night. It was still a cracking day and I managed a bonus wild camping trip a couple of weekends ago to fill the void

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  2. Awesome landscapes, as usually! I loved this post.

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  3. We are now proud owners of a Decathlon tent (well A is – early Bday present, she’s pretty keen). Will be trying it out soon – might try your technique, book a BandB and leave the tent at the foot of the bed in its bag, sounds very sensible!
    Great photos – making me nostalgic. I reckon I’ve done Tryfan and the Glyders about 20 times, but the last time was a very long time ago. Maybe in a year or too I might be dragging A down there to have a look see.

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    beatingthebounds
    • Email coming soon about a potential kiddy wild camp trip. Hard-Man is well up for it. Classic route this one, hoping to do it again over half-term weekend to introduce Danny to their charms.

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  4. Glad you got at least one good day in!

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