back to archiveWinter 1965

On 30 January 1965, a Friday night at midnight after a full working week, four members of the Rucksack Club were transported to Aber and dumped on the roadside with help from Bev Burrage (driver).  For the record they were Joe Walmsley, Cliff Meredith, Taffy Davies and John Allen. Their aim was to traverse the fourteen 3000ft peaks.  Winter conditions on the mountains had been organised by the great weatherman in the sky and snow lay from 750ft upwards.  Strong winds and low cloud played such a important part that while crossing the Carnedds Joe and Cliff decided that bed was a better plan and descended somewhere, finding their way to the club hut in Llanberis by the overnight tourist route, and fell asleep for the rest of the week-end.  Taffy had also been blown off his feet and out of sight somewhere on a hard snow surface, and required a search party (me with torch) so that we became reunited.
My records handwritten immediately after the trip in Peter Harding's guide book to the Llanberis Pass shows that Taffy and I were on Carnedd Llewellyn at 0415, got lost, then Yr Elen 0725, Carnedd Dafydd 0835 and Pen yr Oleu Wen at 0915 (Ogwen 1000), where the snow line ended at 1500ft.  A fairly clear dawn provided us with a 'magnificently plastered Bristly ridge', mist over the Glyders except Elidyr Fawr, cramponing down (steep descent into Lyn y Cwn), with a very strong wind again on Y Garn.  Sunset from Elidyr Fawr.  Then Nant Peris (rather tired).

There was a club meet at the hut (Beudy Mawr) in the Llanberis Pass, so we dined well there before continuing with R E Gee over Crib Goch to Snowdon (0150 next day) and the club hut at 0415 (Sunday).  Overall time: 28 hours.  I had jotted the times down on a one pound note, the only piece of paper I had, and hoped Taffy would buy the tea at the Ogwen caravan tea bar. He did.

I had already failed this 14 peaks traverse on three occasions (wet, summer) and succeeded twice (dates forgotten, but early 1960's).  I did it again on 22 July 1967 with Bill Rowntree, as a circuit from Beudy Mawr (dep 0335, Snowdon 0505, Foel Fras 1805, returning via Devil's Kitchen to Beudy Mawr at 2250).  'Magnificent day, Ireland, Isle of Man, Lake District visible.'
For interest, Joe Walmsley had been leader of Manchester expeditions which nearly put him and Don Whillans on the summit of Masherbrum in 1958 and leader of the Nuptse expedition which did put Dennis Davis and Chris Bonington on the summit of Nuptse in 1961. Taffy Davis was the son of Stella Davis who wrote the history of Macclesfield. Cliff Meredith was just a great guy.  And I am one of at least four John Allens in my climbing world.



October 2009