My Pyrenees HRP Diary - Introduction

This blog was begun in 2015, to record my walk along the Pyrenees HRP from Hendaye to Banyuls. If you want to read about that, I suggest you start here.

But that is all in the past now, and I have expanded the blog a little to cover more recent events.. such as:

Snowdonia Way
Hebden Bridge
Equipment Reviews
North Downs Way

and also, one day:

Pennine Way .. which I am due to walk for the third time in 2019, this time from N to S I think

I hope you will find something interesting. Please do provide a little feedback or comment, and if you are interested in something that I didn't say enough about, please let me know .. happy walking!


Monday, 24 July 2017

Snowdon Day 10

Snowdon horseshoe back to Pen-Y-Pass, 8.6 miles
.. which just goes to show how misleading mileages can be. The two hardest days so far, turn out to be also the shortest!

When I got back to the Pen-y-Pass hostel I found I was in a four-berth room with two other men, and got chatting to one of them, Wayne Boothman. It turned out that he was intending to attempt Crib Goch the next day. I had been thinking I would like to do the same but I was a little nervous, especially about doing it on my own. So when he assured me it was easy peasy, just like a walk in the park really, not at all difficult, oh no - I agreed to accompany him. My route tomorrow was via the summit of Snowdon and then down the Watkyn Path to Beddgelert. Wayne was doing a circular route called the Snowdon Horseshoe, so we would part at the summit.

We set off after breakfast, 8.15am or thereabouts, up the Pyg path to the junction where Crib Goch begins. It was another beautiful sunny day:

The path soon becomes, well, essentially vertical:

.. but there are plenty of hand and foot holds in the shattered rock face so although it needs care it was not technically very difficult. It took a while to get to the top, because Crib Goch is one of the higher points of Wales in its own right, at 923m (3,028ft) high. When I finally got there, I saw that there was still plenty of work left to do..

First of all, you have to scramble along the knife-edge ridge (you can see some people doing that, in the photo above). Then there are a couple of notches that have to be negotiated. finally you drop down to a further ridge and climb up it to the summit of Garnedd Ugain, the second highest mountain in Wales at 1065m (3,494ft). And then round the next col to Snowdon (1085m, 3,560ft). Snowdon is the pointy bit directly behind the Crib Goch ridge, Garnedd Udain is the one on the right.

Jerry & Wayne, ready to ridge walk..
 Negotiating the ridge is not technically hard, it is the vast drops on either side that make it interesting. If you are either daft, or a gymnast like Wayne, you can trot straight along the top. If not then you can drop down a few feet and scramble along using the top for handholds. After you have done this you get to the first notch..

You drop down one side and then climb up the other, as this young Spanish couple are doing.

Note that they have brought their dog, a brave move that some others on the ridge rather disapproved of. They did complete the climb successfully however, and the dog seemed to enjoy it.

Eventually, we negotiated the two notches and the subsequent climb to reach the summit of Garnedd Ugain. Wayne made himself a friend for life, by reaching into the bottom of his rucksack and pulling out two cold beers! Wayne is wearing a GoPro camera on his head and "Grib Goch - the Movie" is scheduled for future release.. see here!

 After that it was an easy stroll round the col to the summit of Snowdon, at the back in the photo above. All this took quite a long time, and it was around 3pm before we were ready to set off again. Rather than me continuing down the Watkyn Path to Beddgelert, it seemed as if it would be quicker to carry on round the horseshoe back to Pen-y-Pass. Then Wayne said he would drive me down to Beddgelert, a matter of a few minutes and on his route in any event, an offer I gratefully accepted.

The route back follows this ridge .. not the path down to the right, it goes over Y Lliwedd (898m, 2,946ft) ahead and follows the ridge down left back towards Llyn LLyddaw reservoir. Easy, ne c'est pas? 

The dot is me climbing the East peak of Y Lliwedd (893m), photographed by Wayne who is on the West peak.

We eventually got back to Pen-y-Pass hostel around 7.30pm, tired but happy after a very full day. I am immensely grateful to Wayne for helping me to complete a walk I would hesitate to do unaccompanied. The weather was fantastic throughout the day - something of a rarity, since Crib Goch has the unenviable record of being the wettest place in the whole of the UK, averaging 176.1" of rain each year.

If you are wanting to have a go at this walk, and are fairly fit, and are used to mountain walking, I say do it - always provided the weather is good. Wait for a clear day; I would not want to do it in rain or even in cloud. You will need a full day, and it is best not to carry a 12kg pack, as I was doing!

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