Snowdonia Walking Weekend Report and Future Events
Posted on 17 November 2016
Friday 16th saw 21 Scouts, Explorers and Leaders board a pair of minibuses and head for the wilds of Snowdonia.
Our destination was the Hertfordshire Scouts centre Coetmor Mill, a basic bunkhouse that was to be home for the next two nights. The journey was long but largely uneventful and having stopped to fill ourselves with a variety of healthy and unhealthy consumables on the way, we managed to arrive before midnight (a rare feat on a friday!).
Our long term plans had been to climb Snowdon on the Saturday, something some of the party had not done before, and with a variety of options depending on the weather. With the forecast looking excellent after a cloudy start, minimal wind, and with an experienced set of groups we decided to head to Pen-y-Pass for a bit of an adventure.
Pen-y-Pass lies to the south east of Llanberis and the clouds were still hunkering over the summits as we travelled to get there. There were a few anxious looking faces in the back of the bus as they looked upwards towards the mountains. Having found the car park full, the groups were dropped off with a quick shuttle to the park and ride for the drivers. The first two groups had already set off and I found the last group waiting for me already wearing the borrowed hats and gloves and probably every layer they had brought as the cloud was still down! A lesson learnt that kit check isn’t a waste of time and to bring everything on the kit list. Luckily the weather improved and within 10 minutes we had stopped to remove several layers.
Pen-y-Pass is the start of the classic Miners track and Pyg track routes. We had decided that the groups should be able to cope with Grib Goch, a grade one scramble that starts 1/3 of the way up the Pyg Track. Once at the summit of Crib Goch, the route follows the arête – a knife-edge ridge – to Garnedd Ugain summit before meeting up with the Llanberis path which you follow to get to Snowdon Summit itself. The summit was really busy, a result of good weather and frequent train arrivals (Snowdon has a railway to the top and a café at the station!). One group was sufficiently confident and quick to complete the whole of the “Snowdon Horsehoe” which drops south from Snowdon Summit and along the opposite ridge back to Pen-y-Pass – a major mountaineering achievement. Having coped well with the first ridge the other groups would have had no problem coping with the tricky terrain but we decided that we would not have sufficient time. We opted to return via the Miners Track, a less difficult option but one with the opportunity for a paddle as by now the cloud had gone, the sun was out, and the temperature was hot.
We passed several groups that had obviously underestimated their chosen route and the Scouts were very diplomatic in not showing them up too much. Apparently 6 people had to be escorted by Mountain Rescue from Crib Goch that day which goes to show how well the groups did. We also passed an unfortunate lady who had been injured slipping on the track and was waiting to be air lifted, a good lesson for the groups to keep an eye on where you place your feet!
Sunday saw two groups of Scouts and Explorers summit Tryfan via the hands-on north ridge route along with a compulsory photo stop on the way at the cannon stone. Some brave souls made the jump between Adam and Eve on the gloriously sunny summit where we stopped for probably too long. We headed down just as the weather was turning for the worst. The leader group climbed Foel-goch via the Mushroom Garden and summited Y-Garn before descending via Devils Kitchen.
The photos really tell the story of a fantastic weekend with a great group and weather good enough to enable us to make the most of what Snowdonia has to offer.
The next walking weekend sadly clashes with Green Beret so I hope not too many people are disappointed. We are heading to the Peak District again and will be staying at Glenbrook. Hopefully the weather will be kind as I have a few new routes in mind. The date is 18th-20th November and details will be out soon.
See you on the hills!