I admit it.
I am crap at keeping my blog up-to-date.
Its just been so hectic. I have been travelling back and fore with my job, actually getting out into the hills and trying like mad to fit home stuff in as well. Might as well try to nail a jelly to the wall.
This was the 5th OM-inspired meet I had attended since Feb 2008. The 1st “Windy meet” was a Lake District Classic with around 20 guys and gals turning up. In between the size of the meets I have been to have been in the 4 or 5 region. This latest meet had the potential for as big an attendance as the 1st one…….
Right then. On to the write up.
Friday – day 1
The start to the weekend followed the normal chain of events. Packed everything (twice). Loaded the car (twice). Performed ablutions (at least twice). Put a saucer of milk out for the kids, patted the wife and kissed the cat. Hang on a minute, that’s wrong……I havent got a cat.
Much txting, emails and phone calls had established that we were all going to meet up in Bettws y Coed. I had brought a great selection of music for the journey. Ok, it’s my taste in music but I dont care. I think they call it having eclectic tastes……. 🙂 The drive up was long, very long. It was misty. I could see the road, the road signs and not much else of Mid Wales as i made my way up to Bettws. Ah well, I least I would get up to Bettws quite early for a bout of gratuitous gear fondling. Nearly 4 hours later, I find myself driving into a sunny Bettws eager to meet up with friends new and old. First of all I would have to find them. Luckily I missed knocking Gary over as I careered into the main car park and waved jauntily as I sped past. I could see Ian’s car in the distance and made my way over. There I met up with Tim as well as Gary and Ian for a bit of a chinwag.
Right, we have caught up on all the gossip since….ooooo…. last night and now do what all good outsdoors people do…..go down the pub. We have lunch and a pint or two in a nice little hostelry run by an Pole and a Mancunian and then decide to look at all the gear shops. The day is pleasant but we soon make tracks to get to the campsite before tea. There we meet up with the likes of Dave, Matt, Ed, Rich, Diddy, Jo, Sean and Maria. We chat, we put up our tents, we chat some more. Its early evening and we’re hungry. What can we collectively cook up with our honed culinary skills? Nowt. By popular agreement we opt for the evening pub meal with a beer or two to wash it down. Talk about slackpackers………
Sated, we make our way back to the campsite to talk nonsense and quaff a few beers more. The evening passes well and we repair to our tents for a nights snooze ready for the morning. Tomorrow would be a trip up Snowdon or Tryfan depending on what time we got up in the morning…..
Saturday – day 2
Ok, you guessed it…Tryfan.
We didnt get up in time to park at Pen-y-Pass before the hordes descended. Right. Confession time. I’m not good with exposed heights. Oops. The walk to Tryfan’s Northern edge is fine. The first few hundred metres climb arent too bad but then the rocks get rockier and steeper and oooooooooooh lordy. What a wuss I am. After much grunting and groaning and clinging to rock face by fingers, toes, midriff and sheer will we get to the top. Ok, its no biggey for most but for me its an achievement and a half…believe me!
After taking a few lovely charlatanesque photo’s it’s time to come back down and head for the campsite. We get back down in time to cook a lovely nosh up (noodles or ready meals mainly) and have a few more beers. The evening lengthens and we settle down to regale each other with witty stories and grand social insights*. The evening passes well and Sean gets out his Munkys. He did. The scamp.
With an eye on tomorrow’s weather and a promise of a Snowdon ridge walk, we go to bed and aim to get up early to avoid the riff raff.
(*ie we talk complete and utter shite whilst drinking beer and insulting each other)
Sunday – day 3
The sun is out, its early and we are all up in a reasonable shape to attempt Snowdon. We drive to Pen-y-Pass and park the cars by 7.45am but only just get in before the car park fills up. We just have to have a coffee and something to eat before we head off and some of us have more than one coffee <thanks Maria 🙂 >
We opt for the direct route up and attempt Crib Goch. Was I prepared for this? Oh yes. Just like Tryfan isnt it?
Halfway up, I decide that Crib Goch is in fact nothing like Tryfan and I have 2 choices. 1) soldier on and grit my teeth and clench my cheeks (or possibly the other way around) or 2) use discretion……..
Discretion was the obvious choice and so on the way back down with Ian who has no grips on his boots and feels a bit exposed because of it, we opt for the Pyg Track. As we do this we are accosted by a gaggle of Japenese tourists (oh alright 3) who ask which way is Crib Goch. They are attired perfectly for the climb complete with Adidas trainers, gucci jeans, and shoulder slung satchels. Ian does his bit for international relations, ie prevents 3 possible deaths on the mountain and persuades them to rethink the route. This involves a lot of arm waving, gesticulating, shouting loudly and making Disneyesque “arrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh” noises in a completely unsubtle and obvious way.
That done we continue up the Pyg Track towards the summit. Ian and I cannot fail to be amazed at the attire of some people going up the tallest Mountain south of the Scottish border. Tee-shirts, shorts, jeans, high heels. we see it all. As we climb the temperature falls and the wind picks up. Strangely enough so does the cloud. As we hit the last ridgeline, we are bathed in cold swirling fog. We are feeling mischievious and cant wait to see the people in the teeshirts and shorts attempt the last bit. However, we dont tarry and soon make the top of Snowdon. Well, not quite. Its been a little while since Ian or I have been to the summit. We arent amused. They have built a staircase to the very last bit beyond the new cafe. We cant face it. Stairs to reach the top of a mountain. Oh the shame!
So instead we inspect the outside of the new cafe and arent impressed. It appears a bit jerry-built in places and completely fails to inspire us in any way shape or form. So we do what all self respecting walkers when faced with an anticlimax. We sit down and have lunch and have a bit of a moan. Eventually we are joined by the rest of the gang who have traversed Crib Goch successfully. I feel very inadequate………
Anyway, that done we decide to head back off the mountain and as we make our way down, some carry on round the ridgeline whilst myself and a few others opt for the Miners Track. The sun begins to shine and the mist disappears as we head down. Curses. Photo oppotunities lost on the mountain top but others found by the lake.
We chat aimiably and soon our feet carry us back to the car park at Pen-y-Pass. I have a 4 hour drive ahead of me so I dont tarry. I say my goodbyes and shake Matt’s and Diddy’s hand. I also manage a quick cuddle with Jo (not Diddy’s wife) and a quick kiss and cuddle with the other Jo (yes, Diddy’s wife) for which I earn a warning scowl from the Didster himself (well worth it though…)
And that was that. The weekend had been fabulous. I had met old friends and new. I had scambled a proper mountain and learned the limits of my abilities (not much admitedly) on another.
Nothing more to do than climb into my car, put a Sarah Mclachlan CD on and drive back to South Wales on the back of three days worth of good feelings.