It was the height of summer and Paul’s cousin’s husband; John was due over from the States on leave from the US Navy. We thankfully had a brilliant weather forecast and with the exception of Paul the rest of us were keen to incorporate a little scrambling into our walk. As we had decided to go to Wales there really wasn’t any other alternative but to climb Snowdon via Crib Goch. This was to be John’s first hill/mountain walk and probably would be quite a test, however as we had decided on it even before we aware that he was coming along we were going to keep to our plans.
All excited, having arrived at Pen-y-pass just in time to find one of the last parking spaces, along with the hoards of other walkers we set off towards the base of Crib Goch. At that point the paths diverged, The Miners Track, The Pig Track and the scramble over the ridge. Even early on Stu, Mark and I found it necessary to go topless, although Stu decided to spoil the image by wearing his cool dood shades. I know this was a bit rich coming from me with my great white gut on show to all and sundry. In no time at all we found the scrambling to be brilliant and thankfully, as far as far as Paul was concerned he found the awkward sections could be easily bypassed. The converse could be said for the rest of us. We were in our element and able to select more adventurous routes virtually when we wanted. We couldn’t really have found the ridge in better conditions. As there wasn’t a breath of air it was perfectly still, the visibility was first class, with great views ahead towards the summit of Snowdon and across the great bowl to Y-Llewlidd and the warmth of the sun meant that the rocks were dry and tactile. I suppose the only drawback was that we had to share the ridge with all manner of other folk clad in anything from appropriate walking boots to plimsolls and Sunday best shoes.
Eventually the scrambling gave way and we descended from Garnedd Ugain to Bwlch Glas where all paths including the one adjacent to the Snowdon Mountain Railway line met for the final ascent. Talk about a crowded summit, we were lucky to find room near the trig point for our team photo. After a quick play fight, with the photo safely recorded in the can and the sight of a train arriving at the station we made a timely rush to the bar to ensure that we didn’t get caught up in the queues that were likely to follow as the contents of this little train all headed for their summit pint or cuppa. I know that this pub/restaurant is deemed by many to be a carbuncle, but on this hot day the two pints were pretty well appreciated, not just by me but also the other couple of hundred folk who were crammed inside. The only problem that I had now was that I had got the taste and could have stayed for a few more. Sense eventually prevailed, we returned to the brilliant sunshine and started our descent down the rubble that would lead us towards Y-Llewlidd. Just prior to this descent I returned to the station to take a couple of pictures of the steam engine only to realise that in my thirst for a couple of pints I had missed it sometime ago. Our final recollection of the summit was the sight of a parascender some five hundred feet over the summit of Snowdon. To put this into perspective, before we went inside for our pint he was at least five hundred feet bellow us. This just goes to show the power of the thermals that are created within the cwms on a hot summer’s day. Even though we were having a brilliant day every one of us were envious of the bloke above who was soaring like a bird.
Anyway, back down on earth and whilst negotiating this steep descent down the rubble Paul was starting to wane and complaining of a severe headache. It looked like the sun had got to him and for protection he pulled out a spare shirt and made it into some form of turban. Whether he didn’t fancy the climb over Y-Llewlidd or had already had enough I’m not sure. Either way, he and John dropped down the excessively steep flank of this hill whilst the rest of us made our way over this cracking ridge. If it wasn’t for the proximity of Crib Goch I’m sure that Y-Lliwlidd would attract substantially more attention than it currently does. On our descent towards Llyn Llydaw we passed a family with two young kids (one was only five and unbelievably doing Snowdon for the second time and one year after his first ascent). They were returning to the car having completed a similar route to ourselves. Ok, they hadn’t done Crib Goch, but still it was a damn long way for such young kids.
At the llyn when we met up with Paul and John it was clear to see that Paul was still struggling and it transpired that as well as ripping his shorts on the “hellish descent” he was suffering from heat exhaustion. Perhaps I was suffering as well, I was hot sweaty, bothered and all I wanted to do was go for a swim. Well, that’s exactly what I did. I stripped to my undies and rather painfully waded in over the rocks that formed the llyn bed. As no one else would trust my assurances that it was perfectly safe to go for a swim in this llyn I had the whole place to myself. On such a hot day the feeling of being free to swim up and down and take in the most beautiful poolside scenery was just out of this world. On three sides there were great cliffs towering above this llyn. Instead Mark went for a sunbathe, Paul suffered in silence with his heat stroke, John just looked on in a bemused fashion and I haven’t a clue where Stu was. Even after I had extricated myself it was so refreshing to dry out in the light breeze whilst walking back towards the car.
This had been an absolutely cracking day that had included a great scramble over the Crib Goch ridge, a pint in the summit hotel and was to be topped off with a great swim in the llyn. Even a visit to Pete’s eats was to follow.