back to archiveWhat next after 3 Peaks, Wainwrights, Coast to Coast and Pennine Way - the Welsh 3000s!
On Friday 11th June 10.30 PM the team met up over coffee on a campsite at the foot Tryfan, weather was unnervingly clear and Tryfan was silhouetted majestically against the moon light.
The team consisted of myself, my 14 year old son Jordan and three friends Paul Sykes, Alex Boswell and Tom Salter. We were also joined by our support team Fred Pargeter (my dad) and Mark Salter (brother of Tom). We are an experienced collective with several 3 peaks, many many Wainwrights done (and counting), 3 off coast to coast crossings, Pennine way and many other walking challenges completed.
We arose at 3.00 am and piled into the van and by 4.00am we had parked and got ready to commence the walk, we had decided to do the walk in reverse of the traditional way so we could end on a high atop Snowdon, so our first target was to get on top of Foel Fras. We started walking in cold, crystal clear, skies and slowly climbed up into the warmth of day break and by 6.10 had started the clock at the top of Foel fras.
As we made our way across the easy terrain towards Carnedd Uchaf the weather got decidedly cooler and a low heavy mist set in, we lost visibility but easily made our way across Foel Grach but then needed to take bearings and eased our way towards Carnedd Llewelyn. Having done a reccy of the Carnedd’s in April, Tom and I knew that finding Yr Elen would be tricky in this clag, so decided to skirt around the north side of Carnedd Llewelyn and soon picked up the path down the Yr Elen. It was a slog back up to the top of Carnedd Llewelyn. Five peaks down feeling good, but thick mist remained to dull our senses, so much so that we set off in the wrong direction, although a combination of good map reading and experience soon alerted us to the error and again we needed a bearing to make our way across to Carnedd Dafydd.
As we approached Pen Yr Ole Wen the weather finally broke, to a face stinging hail storm! We quickly made our descent to the road and the waiting support team who had prepared much needed bacon, sausage, eggs, beans and coffee for breakfast, the weather had now become clear and warm. Jordan had been suffering with several blisters and knee pain and decided to retire after a valiant effort for one so young. This just left us old'uns to carry on.
Next we made our first mistake, having climbed Tryfan many times and usually always using the north ridge, I had never used the path to the west and can assure you never will again. It was a slow tedious slog with loose shale frustrating every step but finally we were on top, I was feeling drained and needed longer than planned to recover. The descent, however, was fun, the sun had dried the rocks and grip was easy to come by. We bounced down to a grinding halt as we view the next ascent, slowly we made our way up Glyder Fach which although tough going was a pleasure compared to Tryfan.
These two tough ascents and the now beautiful weather had taken its toll on our fluid supplies, however the going was easier across to Glyder Fawr, the knee jarring descent provided us with a welcome replenishment of water from one of the streams feeding Llyn Cwm. The path now easy to follow led us up and over Y Garn and then followed the contours round for a beautiful stretch of easy walking and fantastic views. In good spirits we reached the top of Elidir Fawr, thoughts now turned to food and we eased our way down the long and uneventful path to Nant Peris. The support team were waiting in the park and ride car park and the delightful smell of chicken curry greeted us as we approached. After a 40 min stop we arose stiffly from our comfortable camp chairs, checked our kit and set off.
I was looking forward to the ascend of Crib Goch as I have never tried this before and I hoped it would be easier than Tryfan, in the fading light Paul led the way as we made our way up to the steep scree which signified the beginning of the end, this steep slippery section was very wearing on our tired legs but finally we reached the rocky knife edge. The sun had nearly set but there were still remnants of warm orange rock face as we fitted our head torches. The combination of low light and bright torches flashing across the rock was very disconcerting, we very carefully made our way across the ridge, adrenaline now a good source of energy. By the time we had reached the summit it was completely dark and strangely a little easier to judge foot holds. Then came several false summits before finally, and now in mist, we reached the trig point on Carnedd Ugain. The mist remained with us as we strode the easy path to the top of Snowdon at 00.50 Sunday morning. A little celebratory port was passed and we descended via the Pyg track passing several competitors completing their meagre 3-peak challenge. We reached the van at 3.30am and made our way back for much needed rest.
We all found this walk a great challenge and will almost certainly do it again. Next time though we would do it the other way for a faster time !