back to archiveSimon Atkins and friends!
Walkers: Ian Banks (50) Simon Atkins (44; author) Andrew Horner (40)
Support: Louise Calviou (21 again, of course)
I don’t usually bother with feedback or comments websites but found this site after we’d done the W3000 and was inspired by other tales to write in.
We tackled the route on Saturday 4 June, two years to the day since a successful completion of the Lakes 3000. This challenge was undertaken to mark Ian’s big birthday. Ian had tackled the route on a few occasions and made two successful attempts. His initial plan to do N to S was rejected – I certainly didn’t relish Crib Goch at the end of an extremely long day.
With a good forecast we set off from Cheshire and started at Pen y Pass at 0420. It was light, no need for torches. We went up the Pyg track and were traversing Crib Goch as the sun came out; the weather was perfect. We reached Garnedd Ugain at 0615 and Snowden at 0630. Anglesey was covered in mist, which flowed up the valleys; all clear for us, though.
We descended via the railway track via Lechlog to Hill 610 and straight down into the valley. The descent starts with a fair path which runs out quickly; it’s steep but grassy and Ian conceded a lot easier on the knees than Cwm Glas Bach.
Breakfast was 0715 to 0745 at Nant Peris car park. The loos don’t open till 0900 so alternative arrangements may be necessary. Easier for blokes, of course.
It was a long, sunny, hot slog up to Elidir Fawr at 0940 then on to the horseshoe; Y Garn at 1045, down to Llyn y Cwn and up to Glyders Fawr (1200) and Fach (1245). We were down at Bwlch Tryfan at 1315 with loins girded; got to the top of Tryfan at 1355 (no heroics with Adam or Eve) and into Ogwen Cottage for a late lunch at 1510. We waited for half an hour, but Pen yr Ole Wen didn’t seem to get any smaller and we had a group of Cambridge graduates to catch and overtake ahead of us.
Pen yr Ole Wen (1715) was a slog and we ended up in a rocky chimney but progress was still straightforward. Carnedd Dafydd was reached at 1745. We opted to countour round at 950m to reach Yr Elen at 1900 and passed the Cambridge team as they descended from Carnedd Llewelyn.
From the top of Carnedd Llewellyn (1925) a light mist descended, but only down to about 900m; as we tracked along the rest of the Carnddau we could see the Menai Strait lit gold by the setting sun. For safety’s sake we had the maps and GPS out and checked our bearings between the last peaks; Foel Grach 1955, Garnedd Uchaf 2010 and finally Foel-fras at 2040.
We headed down for Aber; decended from Foel-fras and once we were in line with the dam of Lyn Afon, headed straight for the dam wall. This was a hard 1km slog across broken, boggy ground and I was cursing with every step. Both my arms went numb and I was shaking when I got to the dam; Andrew insisted on a pause to eat and I had three fruit slices – it was like turning a switch. I realised it was five hours since lunch! The walk down the reservoir track in the gathering gloom was at a good pace. We made it to the car park at 2215 as the light went.
Thanks to my fellow walkers and wife in support!
Lessons / Thoughts etc
The key resource for us was welsh3000s.co.uk (as well as 14peaks.com, of course!). We used the welsh3000s route with a couple of changes – see above.
Good weather is vital – it makes navigation easier and keeps morale up. Keep a close eye on mwis.org.uk.
We did the whole of the walk in three single days earlier in the year. Familiarity is vital. We made a much better ascent of Crib Goch and walking the Glyders past Castell y Gwynt on the day, but what seemed like a steeper ascent of Pen yr Ole Wen!
Ian says if you tackle the route N to S you get to do the big climbs in shadow (but as I say I don’t fancy Crib Goch after 17 hours!).
Ian always carries milk to drink; Andrew kept going on fruit, Bombay mix, Scottish tablet and mints. My top tips are satsumas (easy to peel, sugar and liquid in one shot), pork products (pork pies, pork cocktail sausages) and Werther’s Originals. Keep taking your food and drink little but often - it’s easy to run out of energy.
Tell the support team what you really fancy for the next meal break – it’s an incentive to carry on.
Other walkers said that camping on top of Snowdon was a bad choice – it’s very busy and noisy with three peakers. One bloke had his tent trampled. If you camp, try Garnedd Ugain.