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Sunday, 8 May 2016

Easter in Snowdonia (5)

The descent from Moel Eilio was a nightmare. With the wind behind me now, I was several times blown into a run, which was really quite frightening. The grass was wet, and I was seriously concerned about the risk of losing my footing. Eventually, though, I reached the comparative safety of the lower levels and the made-up tracks. Afon Goch, when I reached it, was an absolute raging torrent (pictured) where only two hours previously it had been a placid mountain stream. I reached the Youth Hostel at noon, and told them I should not be needing my bed on Sunday. Then I headed into Llanberis, caught a bus to Bangor, changed into some dry clothes and returned home by train. So ended the damp squib of my Easter in Snowdonia.

Easter in Snowdonia (4)

My companions also took a photo of me at the summit, and then we parted. They were turning back, but I wished to press on. I soon thought better of that, however. Visibility was practically nil, the wind was strengthening, and the rain was getting heavier. The conditions were not great ... and camping, even on an organized site, was likely to be troublesome. I gave it a moment or two's thought, and then decided to turn back myself. This was not the weekend to be walking in Snowdonia. It had been cheaper for some reason to buy an Off-Peak open ticket than an Advance ticket, so I could return home on any train I chose. And that is what I decided I should do. It was, after all, a Saturday, and the train service today would be considerably better than the train service on Easter Sunday or bank holiday Monday. I had, at least, climbed a mountain ...

Easter in Snowdonia (3)

Well, the ascent of Moel Eilio was a long steady trudge in the teeth of howling winds and driving rain. I picked up two young walking companions - Belgian and Austrian, I think they were - and between us we reached the summit shelter.

Easter in Snowdonia (2)

The local weather forecast, which I collected at the Youth Hostel, was not at all promising. High level was clearly going to be a non-starter, and the Glyderau were not on the menu. So I planned instead to head out to Bwlch-y-groes, over Moel Eilio, Foel Gran and Foel Groch, drop to the Snodson Ranger path, contour round Cwm Clogwyn and Cwm Caregog, through the pass to Cwm Llan, down to Nantgwynant and stop the night at the campsite at the head of Llyn Gwynant. The following day, I would make my way back to Llanberis by whatever route seemed best suited to the weather conditions.

I had brought some Ambronite with me, and was intending to trial it as a breakfast foodstuff. I was keen to know how well it would serve in this role as I was quite eager to be able to abandon my cereal and powdered goat's milk breakfasts of yore. So I made up some Ambronite and drank it for breakfast and - you know what? It seemed alright. Moreover, it sat lightly on my stomach as I headed out into the weather, which was really rather welcome.

I set out from the Youth Hostel at 9, and my route took me to a bridge over a little stream tumbling off the mountainside which, according to the map, is called Afon Goch. It was a pleasant little stream and I thought about taking a photograph, but the composition would not have been great and in the end I thought better of it. Instead, I took this picture of the path beyond the Afon Goch. As can be seen, I was wetting a fair bit of weather already, and there was no question but that this was going to be a full waterproofs day.

Easter in Snowdonia (1)

Well, with such a massive route planned for the 2016 Challenge, I thought I'd better get some good hill training walks in. But winter refused to go away, and conditions were not looking right, until Easter was nearly with us. So I planned an Easter expedition to Snowdonia.

The plan was that I should take a train to Bangor on Good Friday, and a bus to Llanberis. I booked a bed at Llanberis Youth Hostel for Good Friday, and another for Easter Sunday. My plan was to walk the Glyderau on the Saturday, then drop down to a wild camp by Llyn Cwmyfynnon, behind Pen-y-Pass. On Easter Sunday I would then go over Y Liweth to the summit of Yr Wyddfa, down the Snowdon Ranger Path, over Foel Goch, Foel Gron and Moel Eilio, and back into Llanberis. A bus to Bangor and a train from Bangor would then see me home on Easter Monday.

That was the plan, in any event. But Easter came, and the weather forecast was not good. I travelled out to Snowdonia regardless, intending to do some lower level stuff if the weather didn't let me go high. The weather certainly didn't look all that great as I arrived at the Youth Hostel (pictured).