I've been missing Snowdonia. It's usual for me to go playing there, however, my efforts were concentrated on the lakes for a while and the welsh mountain's nose's were pushed out a little. However.... It's great to have them back... whoop :)
So, the weekend has been amazing. A friend Ant Bethell and I headed over to Wales on Friday with the intention of some massive days running mountains. Ant and another friend George Bate have entered the Tor Des Geants race on the 9th September and Ant was hoping to get his last mammoth training session in before his mammoth taper. And I, well, I just wanted to run in the mountains I've been missing so so much.
My plan was for an early (ish) start on Saturday, however those of you who know Ant know he doesn't fair well when the sun raises, so I took off alone knowing that Ant would catch up when he was in the land of the living.
We'd decided to go with the flow and see where the day took us however to start at Ogwen Cottage and heading for the Carneddau, taking in the first 5 peaks: Pen Yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Pen Yr Helgi Du, Pen Llithrig y Wrach and down in to Plas Y Brenin.
I'd consulted with Ant t(who is very knowledgeable about the north Wales mountain ranges), the day before and he'd given me a few pointers to look out for like... 'when you come to the end of the shingly bit, bear right', 'it's about 3/4 of the way up the mountain'!
What I like about the Carneddau is 'once you're up you're up'. There are plenty of runnable sections from one summit to the next around the ridge. I adore the descent off Pen Llithrig y Wrach, when it flattens out on the approach to Capel Curig you meet a massive spring board of grassy, boggy terrain and it's fast and bouncy. I love it.
The weather was a hit and miss all day really, claggy at times, showery, and then the clouds would part and left breath taking views and sunny moments.
After a swift coffee in the Pinnalce cafe it was off to the next climb, Moel Siabod (2300 ft /700m), the start of the Moelwyns. Now...most runners I know carry some kind of niggle or injury at various points, it's the consequence that I think we come to accept for the wonderful times that running gives us. Unfortunately I've picked up a hamstring pull and after a high milage week last week and some big climbs the hamstring started to shout and scream at me. I was struggling and my pace had really slowed and I was in danger of having to hop the rest of the route or take a piggy back. Nonetheless Ant saved the day as he had 'pain relief with him and said 'here you are, they are strong but they'll do the job'. Three hours later I came back down to earth, jeez, they put me on another planet haha, I don't think I've ever smiled so much... haha.
The rest of the day took me to Clogwyn Bwlch Y Maen and Caredd Y Cribau before taking a path to decent off the range, through trail towards the 'Miners track'. We picked up the path in between Clyder Fach and Tryfan and headed back to Llyn Ogwen where we had camped for the evening.
The total hours running was 10, with 6700 ft of ascent 2040m. Awesome.
Sunday was forecast for great weather. It poured with rain all night and was still raining in the morning, oh, and there was wind... and lots of it. Not good when you are a shortie and on top of big mountains... did it stop me... not a chance... haha. It's a good job I'd packed for every eventuality, because after an hour of starting, the weather changed and it stayed warm and sunny most of the day. What more could you ask for!
The first climb was to be Cnicht which stands at a proud 689m. We took the well worn path up and timed it with the Cnicht Fell race so that we'd be waiting at the summit when the front runners were reaching the top. It's a race that I'd contemplated on entering, however having a ten hour day the day before I'd not have ran at my best and would have wanted to do well so took the decision to leave it for now. It was exciting to be a spectator and offer some encouragement. Here are some of the front runners. I'll put the other pictures in the pics section.
Tryfan downhill race race on Friday and Hazel was first lady. Great people superb mountain runners.
And so I followed the racers on the descent
The remainder of the day we headed to Nantmoor and then took in 9 more peaks, starting with Bryn Banog and finishing with Y Garn following a natural route with a total of 5100 ft (1500m) of ascent. My hamstring was not happy, however there was no way I was going to have any of Ant's happy pills again, so persevered and settled into the pain. From Pont Cae r Gors we made the decision to stay low and do some more runnable trail and therefore picked up a track that swings around Yr ARan and brought us back around to Geli Lago car park.
Total hours on feet were 9 and total ciders in the pub..x2.
The weather for Monday was forecast grim, and then a bit grimmer, so it was home for fairy. Happy days.
The trail back to the camp site.