Archive for the ‘glyder fach’ Tag

The Route More Trodden   10 comments

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The next day was a revelation. Gloomy dark clouds were replaced by clear blue skies and warm sunshine. Breakfast outside to start the day albeit later than I wanted

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Having finally fulfilled my promises to take TJS up Snowdon and Scafell Pike it was time to fulfil another promise and take him on one of the UK’s finest mountain walks. The circuit of Tryfan and the Glyders.

We were accompanied by TJS new special friend, the lovely E. 🙂

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The weather was looking worryingly similar to the previous day with bubbling clouds and it was already very warm when we set out from the car. The classic route up Tryfan is its North Ridge, a fine introduction to the art of scrambling for budding mountaineers. Its also good practice for the art of brutally steep climbs right at the start of a hike. Compensation provided by the superb views

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After the lung busting start you emerge onto the ridge and the fun begins. Its pretty much a hands on scramble right to the top. I was a little worried about how E might fare (and TJS for that matter) but she was a natural rock athlete. Many times I had to curb her enthusiasm for the harder options and stick to the well worn route which has more than enough steep pitches to keep everyone entertained

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I should have taken my small camera for some more action shots (my hefty DSLR has to be packed away on the steeper sections) but I got some pretty good shots

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Both TJS and E seemed to be loving the challenge of the scrambling and despite the BH weekend and sunny weather didn’t seem as busy as I expected

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As we’d climbed there had been a freshening breeze keeping us cool. This also seemed to have cleared the air and the darker clouds seemed to have vanished. The views were much more expansive and it was turning into a real cracker of day

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The final summit towers were just splendid in the warm sun. A great feeling to pull up on the warm rock. There is a sense of a real big mountain, almost alpine feel but with no real objective dangers with a little care. I’m a hell of a lot more cautious when I have the kids with me than when I’m on my own but they were equally cautious and responsible. It was almost a shame to arrive on the summit

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The main summit was crowded and E made an aborted attempted to climb onto Adam /Eve. I declined the offer having done that and the leap from one to other in my youth when I was leaner and fitter.

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We headed over to South Peak that was much quieter and sat down in the same spot me and THO had sat in a couple of months ago. Its a very nice grassy perch with a perfectly angled rock to recline against

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Time to move on and down the wider but no less rocky south ridge. TJS seemed to slow markedly and admitted having some discomfort in one of his toes. He seemed to be struggling so I asked if he wanted to go back down. To his credit he battled on, not wanting to spoil the day for the rest of us

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The classic route follows the North Ridge of Tryfan to ascend the Glyders via Bristly Ridge seen in the photo below. Its no harder than Tryfan but it is more exposed and feels a little more serious and committing. Being more circumspect and with TJS’s foot in mind, I suggested we leave it for another day although I wished we’d done it now as it was such a perfect day. Still, it will always be there

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We took the traversing path out to the ridge which is very fine in its own right and gives excellent views back to Tryfan and the eastern end of the Glyders

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As you approach the summit of Glyder Fach you get a splendid view of Bristly Ridge in profile

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The summit of Glyder Fach always makes me think that some almighty being has been building some huge edifice somewhere and dumped all the leftover bits on the summit. Its a huge area of piled boulders capped by the impressive Cantilever Stone that E obviously wanted to climb

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The perched rocks make for more fine scrambling but TJS was really struggling with his foot so we just avoided what we could and satisfied ourselves with the mighty views as the ever clearing weather just seemed to get better

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As you approach the summit of Glyder Fawr the view down Nant Ffrancon is one of classic glacial U-shaped valley

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The views of Snowdon were equally fine and my route from the day before perfectly outlined (follow the ridge in the shot below from right to left to the summit and then back across Crib Goch)

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The summit of Glyder Fawr is a mass of tors and rock piles. The view from the summit presenting the two faces of the ridge, grassy to the west, rocky to the east

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I’d decided that that descending via the path into Cwm Idwal was a better bet. TJS found the steep scree descent from the summit a tough one but you are reward with a visit to one of the UK finest spots seen here from the top of the Devils Kitchen. Under a blue sky and with vegetation still dressed in spring green next to deep blue water its a wonderful place

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From below the surrounding towers of rock add a majesty unequalled outside some of the wilder parts of Scotland

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The Idwal Slabs are a mecca for climbers and there were several people on its crags even at the late hour

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Only downside is its proximity to the A5 (about a 15 minute walk) so its always busy but it’s huge and away from the main path you can always find a quiet corner. Its a wonderful spot

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I’d left the other two behind so I could walk back to collect the car. The short off piste trip cuts a huge corner and affords a classic view of Tryfan with the North Ridge in profile on the left

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The walk back along the road was a pleasure despite the traffic with the sky now almost completely cloud free and a deep shade of blue

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I collected the waifs and strays and headed back to the campsite. We dined  on a truly excellent BBQ, washed down with ice cold beers,  amongst the happy convivial family atmosphere of the campsite where its seemed everyone was doing the same and waft of sizzling meat and wisps of smoke spread across the site

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An appropriate point to mention the fantastic Rynys Farm Campsite. A real find. Some of the campsites in Snowdonia can be a little rowdy and overcrowded. Carol, the lovely owner has this one just perfect. Set amongst rolling fields in the forest above Betws-y-Coed they don’t pack the tents in and even though it was full there was plenty of space. Facilities were perfect, simple but clean with lovely touches like spare BBQ’s and kitchen stuff for anything you forgot. Best of all Carol promotes a friendly family feel that’s irresistible. Its a treat to pitch up somewhere the owners main focus is making sure everyone has a great time rather than just a commercial exercise. And of course a view to die for as well.

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We watched the sun set to end a high quality day indeed

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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

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