05 September 2012

Snowdonia: first day

I am a bit of a hopeless case with taking long weekends off for caving. I am not the only one! Lionel had organised a weekend to Snowdonia, and by sheer exception I had joined. But most club members were similar to what I tend to be like, and it was only five of us heading that way. The group was Lionel, Hugh and me in one car, and Richard and Laura in the other. I hope the first 4 don’t need an introduction; Laura is a rather new member, but quite a motivated one, so this was already her second weekend in this neck of the woods.

We got there rather late, but by sheer coincidence, both cars arrived within 5 minutes of each other. It was time for a very late meal and then bed. And a look at the weather forecast; the next day would be rather good! A day for surface exploration, in other words!

The view from the hut

The next morning Lionel woke up early (as he seems to normally do). So by the time we staggered into the kitchen the kettle was boiling and the fry-up was on its way. And that was a good thing; we would have a long day ahead! We drove to a convenient location, parked, and set off. We started on a road, but soon the terrain got prettier. And prettier. And prettier! We had clear skies, sunshine, and amazing views. We walked up to the Devil’s Kitchen (for whom that means anything), and a bit further, and it was all very beautiful. We were very lucky! We all had a great time. I hope the pictures communicate the loveliness of the day…

How the trip started

It got serious! Two little dots in the scree are Hugh and Lionel

The strange formations at the top

At some point, when we were very high up, we saw the weather change, and decided to go down. It was quite steep. After a day of serious climbing it was quite some work for our muscles to get us back to the road. We had to follow it for the best part of an hour to get us back to tourist trap Llanberis, but it was worth it; there was a climbing shop and a pub there!

How we came down; Llanberis lake in the distance

Llanberis, a proper Welsh village: most traffic on the road consists of sheep

We wouldn’t use whatever we bought in the shop, but we sure enjoyed the pub. But we didn’t stay too late; we were hungry. So we walked up a path through slate quarry waste, back to the climbing hut we had rented. There were many interesting quarry relics on the way; winch houses, quarrymen’s cottages, and what have you; enough for me to get so distracted I lost the others. Luckily I had a rather good idea of where the hut was, so that all turned out fine. Another very late dinner, and it was time to go to bed, as the next day would be quite something too!
A winching house

The very slaty path

Quarrymen's cottages, or the ruins thereof

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