Participants were Al, Andy, Little Chris, Marv and myself., with the possibility of Guy joining us for the evening once he’d got back from his holiday in Brixham, Devon.
The reason for our visit this time was for Andy’s Stag event. Going up Snowdon might seem a little odd to celebrate his forthcoming marriage, and I suppose it is, but that was never going to stop us. It was an early morning start to drive to Snowdon, in Marv’s case it was way too early, earlier than necessary if truth is told; the child element of him wouldn’t let him sleep and he was up by 02:30 even though he wasn’t starting to pick us lot up until about 06:00 and his first pick up is only 10mins from his house. Despite that he was still late picking me up by about 30 mins, blaming the fact he’d forgot cobs and needed to go back home !!
All packed in the car we finally set off, and made reasonable progress, that was until we stopped for breakfast, which took way longer than it should have, so by now we were probably about an hour behind where we’d expected.
Arriving at Llanberis, we drove to the Snowdon cafe …. no not the one on the Summit (I think there’s been enough of that for 1 year) but to the Snowdon Cafe at the foot of Llanberis Path, the proprietor, Steffan, is a very friendly bloke, and a visit to this cafe (www.snowdoncafe.com) is highly recommended. Parking up and having a chat with him we finally set off the trapse up to the summit; the first section, which is tarmac, is one of the hardest parts, leg muscles still cold the steepness of the road walk doesn’t get the legs warm enough before tiring them a bit, but it doesn’t take too long before it settles and we walk through the gate onto the path proper.
Our pace was varied between us, I was taking it steady to warm the legs up a bit and Marv and Little Chris were setting a good pace; going through the next gate I felt I was ready to walk faster, although this just left Al and Andy trailing a short distance behind us. We stopped at the halfway cafe for them to catch up, myself sitting straight onto a sodden piece or grass, soaking the back of my trousers … not nice! Once we’d grouped together again and they’d had chance to have 5mins rest, we set off again; we were soon waiting for Al and Andy again, this time it was where the path goes under the railway and starts a steep climb to the right. Ffrom here you can see down the Llanberis Pass and our campsite is visible; getting a space shouldn’t be difficult, there was no one on the campsite, not a single tent, strange considering it was the day of the Snowdon Marathon. Once we’d regrouped we set off again and the pace soon slowed down, this section is incredibly steep, I’d say parts are about 35/40 degrees if not steeper at times. I was felling on a bit of a mission now and kept at a pace that I was comfortable at and started to put a gap between myself and the others without realising, and upon reaching the trig point at Bwlch Glas (where the Pyg Track joins the Llanbiris Path) I waited for other. Marv and Chris arrived and we walked the last few hundred metres to the summit. It was proving quite popular up there despite the fact it was cold and windy. Finding a sheltered spot, we now just had to wait for Al and Andy to arrive, who took about another 15 minutes to reach the summit, but once they were there we took out the BBQ from Als bag, lit it, and waitined for the burger steaks to cook; it was needed as well, my toes were freezing and hot food was definitely going to help warm me up a bit. People could clearly smell the food and we had a few looks of jealousy from folk. Food ate, Marv brought out some fireworks from his bag and after planting them in the ground Little Chris was tasked with lighting them, after the first 2 I made an observation and announced ‘maybe we shouldn’t be doing this, they look a little bit like flares … we’ll have the helicopter here in a few minutes’ … it was to late by then and the remaining fireworks were lit. Ready to leave, we cooled the BBQ, picked up any evidence we’d been there and made a quick trip to the Summit Cafe to get rid of said rubbish and take a comfort break!!
By the time we did set off for our decent the temperature seemed to have dropped a degree or 2, and it was definitely gloves and hat weather, although 10 minutes on they’d been removed, but the hat was then on/of/on/off, too cold without, but too warm to leave on. It took about 1h 30mins to get back to the Snowdon Cafe, and we ordered hot chocolates all round, Steffan even bought us a free Welsh cake for us to eat between us. Sadly we weren’t joined by Guy, traffic had delayed him getting home so he’d decided not to drive over to us, as he wouldn’t get there until late anyway.
Finishing up in there we drove off to the campsite, luckily it was still dry and taking my tent out the bag and erecting it still brings a smile to my face, it’s a Quechau 4 man pop up tent, and it’s another of my recommendations, Inner and Outer, really good waterproofing, and takes just seconds to unfold and erect, pegging down take a minute, but within less than 2 minutes it’s up and pegged down whilst the others are still emptying the content of their tent bags. (Smug I am)
Tents up we got changed and headed off to our usual watering house Tyn Y Coed in Capel Cruig, the one with the Horse wagon in the car park on opposite side of the road. It was proving a popular night and the 5 of us crowded round a table that really you’d normally get 2 at. Drinks and food ordered was sat waiting, keeping a keen eye out for a bigger table, but that wasn’t to be, by the time food arrived we were all really ready for it, although Andy made complaint that the chips were dry …. didn’t have the nerves to tell the staff though !!
After more drinks were consumed and a small mustard fight, we set back of to the campsite to retire for the night, and just as we were getting in it started to rain, but it didn’t matter for just jumping out the car and into the tents. The next morning we woke up and it was still raining, although it frequently slowed for a few minutes, this gave us just enough time to pack the tents up, and load the car, although it started raining again whilst the rest were doing this, not that it mattered to Al, his tent had leaked over night and there was a pool of water inside, his sleeping bag was wet as was his mattress, which never saw its way home as it had apparently gone flat a couple of times in the night.
We set of for breakfast at the infamous Pete’s Eat; a large breakfast and drinks went down well for all of us. A quick visit to the Crag Hopper factory shop on the opposite side of the road was required before setting off for home, which included Andy attempting to Plank on the rails outside the shop, and the usual Little Chris doing his Vern impression photo with a kiddies pair of trousers (these were for sale, he didn’t steal them from a kid!!!).
Another end to a fantastic weekend away. I’m not sure when the next will be. Although 7 of us (Marv, Michelle [his wife] and their 2 lads along with Emma, her son [Callem] and myself) are off skiing between Christmas and New Year at Avimore on Scotland … best get some practise in !!