Friday, 19 August 2011

Vale of Ffestiniog to top of Snowdon and back

From Plas y Dduallt to the top of Snowdon seemed quite achievable and on 24th July 2011 the conditions were just right. Off we set with provisions and the GPS zeroised. I’d estimated 1 hour to Stwlan, 1 hour to Llyn Adar and a further hour to the start of the Watkin Path. Each leg was under-estimated and it took almost 3.5 hours to cover those 8.8 miles.

Despite being a fine and sunny Sunday at the start of school holidays the path was quiet. A few bathers splashing in the turquoise crystal pools above Hafod y Llan. The view across Llyn Llydaw was superb. For the first time in several years I approached the top free of cloud – on previous occasions it had been a scramble steeply through the mist but this time I was able to follow the more gentle angle to the ridge then turn right to the summit.

French, Welsh, English, German, walkers, train passengers, all shapes, sizes and ages... it was really cosmopolitan and busy, busy. By the time I squeezed my way onto the compass at the top it had been 5 hours and 51 minutes since leaving home 13.2 miles away and an estimated 1,600m altitude gain. 

A drink and some jelly babies before descending the ridge overlooking the Watkin Path towards Y Garn then into Caffi Gwynant (brilliant community cafe) for ice lolly and ‘Powerade’. Heavy legs plodded up the narrow lane then through meadows alongside streams to Llyn Llagi and up to the plateau between Snowdon and home. 

Evening sunshine Cwmorthin
At Rhosydd quarry we turned down into Cwmorthin, adding an extra mile, but avoiding the steepness from Stwlan. Weary legs back home 27.5 miles, 12 hours and 15 minutes since setting off. Fast asleep by 9 pm.

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