October 7th 2018; N, M and D set off to the wilds of Snowdonia in Welsh Wales at 2:30pm. Armed with bags of sweets, toffees, pork pies, nuts and more nuts we set to conquer the mountain (over 610m so it is definitely one fact doubters, see earlier post, no index, etc read the whole thing).
We stayed at Pen-Y-Pass at the head of the Llanberris Valley at 359m above sea level so a climb of 726m was required to reach the summit, a feat not many people would be doing on a diabolical Monday as far as the weather was concerned. N and D woefully underestimated the shiftiness of the weather, the sheer soaking wetness of the rain; that persistent sweeping rain, glasses clouded initially at first while my head was still producing heat from the eyes, and then just remained covered in water droplets, like compound eyes; the eyes of a fly. We were wearing shorts, not activity style, slow drying and incapable of keeping the contents remotely dry after 15 minutes of head down, marching windwards. N had trainers on, I had walking boots, M was covered head to toe in 20 year old waterproof garb which remarkably gave the impression of dryness, but I challenge anyone to challenge that statement, it’s a downright lie. The 3 amigos, soaked with a potential to be very cold, which remarkably didn’t happen for much time at all really.
The Youth Hostel was lush, if with issues, relating mainly to 3 points, I think, which are noteworthy at this juncture. And these are during the stay, they ran like a thread throughout the whole stay. In no particular order:
The log burner was a nice touch, but the person feeding the log burner was being very frugal with his log distribution, consequently M had to have a word with him about the science of the burner, the Kw used and Kw outputs, Kw per Kg of wood depending on the type and density, which really boiled down to filling the bloody thing up with wood, it’s not there just to provide a reassuring glow, especially when it is guarded by a wire fence construction barring anyone from getting anywhere near the damn thing. We’re not 7, give us the logs, let us feed the beast.
The water in the shower was tepid at best, which is terrible after a really cold walk, as we all sat there bathed in the indistinct glow of the burner in the communal lounge supping a couple of real ales, M asked to see the boiler and seemed to be angling to speak to Al, for most of the time we were there, Al had escaped and wasn’t due back for a few days and so M’s constant badgering to look at the boiler in order to try and help was met with a rebuttal I cannot cease to smile at,
So there we are. But heres another;
The downstairs communal toilet had a hostile hand dryer which came on everything you sat down for a lazy wee (you’ll understand when you get to my age, etc).I had to lean slightly to the left to avoid turning on the sensor, the air was fast and cold. While I’m talking toilets, the toilet roll had to be pulled for a cats arse it seemed to me, worse still one cat on top of another, and i’m not a massive fan of the cat. I would like to say at this junction that I have nothing against people who own cats, merely that they are wrong.
I’m not writing a review of the YHA, M is in charge of Trip Advisor reviews, armed with his phone and terrible WiFi he managed to give a 1* review to the curry house we visited after the climb, purely due to the phone not understanding M and M thinking he was acting in good faith. Turns out now M wants to take the review down but it has to be verified, etc, etc. Lots of admin needed, I’ll just say that “Spice” (great name, really had me wanting more) in Llanberris was indeed vey good and I would give it 7/10 or maybe 7.5/10 possibly due to the mountain delirium we were feeling after summiting. Shit spoiler alert.
The view down the LLanberris Valley towards the sea I guess, the mountains were constantly shrouded in mist. We took the Pyg track up as the Crib Goch track was on a foot wide ridge and with wind, mist and rain the chances of falling were high, I’ve got a blog to write, units of followers whom I would rather not disappoint and for that reason I decided to use the path more trodden. We had the wind swirling like a poltergeist around us all the way up, no rhyme or reason to the shelter and heavy gusting so eternally glad to avoid the ridge, check out the youtube video, two lads walking it with a selfie stick, truly terrifying. The Pyg track kind of gets half way up the hill and then tracks round rising steadily until you reach some sort of monolith where you reach the Snowdon ridge, over the top now the railway line heads up towards the cafe and licensed bar. This was really the reason to climb Snowdon; to have a beer on top.
As it happened the top 50 metres or so was deeply covered in fast moving mist, the odd sea bird scavenger was up there looking to steal some ones chips. We had pork pies and dried pear and there was no way any bird was getting any of that. We rushed up to the top, it was so windy up there, we could barely stand and had to drape ourselves over the trig pillar so as we didn’t disappear down hill with the rest of everything else which wasn’t tied down.
Rail fans, here is the track, that’s all I know but why not astonish your friends with this picture; you could mention the blog too. I think thats my first unashamedly forward advert for this mess, maybe I could move into the advertising industry and only promote things that I think are actually any good; Beer, Food and Music, oh Dogs too, family, ginger biscuits, friends, vari-focals (I’ve changed my tune), and well much stuff, I just don’t like being told what I have to like, and hate even more organised fun, such as being forced to stand up at a children’s concert and clap in time to an appealing forth placer from bloody X-factor. I digress but see my post in Jan fo next year for further details.
So the cafe shut, we met some Belgiums up there in the door aperture who had left there walking poles up there the day before and the cafe closed before they realised, leading them to be stuck in some hideous vicious circle of climbing up in all weathers only to find the cafe closed, again! We shared my cider, quite a large bottle, and so for one glorious moment we were higher than any other person on the ground anywhere else in Wales drinking cider. Thats a special thought which will stay with me, I’ve been the highest person in Mainland Spain before (literally and metaphorically) and one of the highest in England; Scafell Pike is just too busy, as is Snowdon when the suns out. As it was we had little clue of what the view was like. Our hands were turning to ice so we drank the cider the quickest and highest of anyone drinking cider in Wales air that point in time.
The climb up took 1 hour and 52 minutes, and we stopped loads to complain.
We took the miner’s track back down, longer but down to the lakes and then an ebay walk back to the hostel and its tepid water, remember that, its been a while. With all our clothes being wet all electrical goods were temporarily suspended like British rail companies with leaves on the lines, the map was wet our fingers soaked and cold so opening that was a waste. We saw the lake, we made out for the lake, we off loaded towards the lake and a few hairy moments later, maybe 40 minutes of perilous descent we made it to lake side, where the wind was non less vicious, but it was flat and chattable, more like a sedate dog walk in the woods.
Speaking of which C would have loved it and an honourable mention is well deserved, it’s not easy to get away.
Theres mines as you might well imagine with us descending the Miner’s Track, disused now but some opened up by folk wanting to look into the gloom, apparently, and heres a Fact of the Day for you, from N, Where there is quartz, there is gold, we saw a lot of quartz, we saw no gold. Shame its a good fact. I believe there are fish in the lakes too but I may be wrong, M wasn’t convinced, it would be a pretty bleak place to be a fish I guess, maybe its nicer under water. In the year 3000 everything is the same but we live under water, to quote Busted. Don’t know why I did that.
So this is nearing the end, theres no great punchline, no magnificent revelation aside from to say that I thoroughly enjoyed our little trip, and to be so close to the mountain was wonderful, to climb and descend in about 5 hours is really fantastic and I urge everyone to do it, the Youth Hostel is good (see earlier points) the breakfast is amazing, as much tea and dubious coffee as you’d like. I’d probably avoid “The Heights”, a pub in Llanberris where the food was purely provided to provide you with enough to have a shit with the next day, best forgotten.
In our little dorm, 2 sets of bunk beds and an en-suite with an annoying light, which lit automatically and altered the contrast behind my eyelids, when used. We had 3 folk there, One was an expert farter, one an expert snorer and the other came prepared although his toothbrush sounded like a wasp.
Om, thats a weedy Om, I reckon, well nearly anyway. It keeps the fish sheltered.
Heres a great tune about mountains, well one really. Edmund Hillary trained to climb Everest just down the road from our Hostel, I’m not claiming I know the man, but he happens to be a close personal friend of mine don’t cha know?
If you’ve got this far well done, I certainly wouldn’t have.