When Saturday came I was doing my morning exercise routine when the phone rang. It was one of the Cornish guys! They come to Wales every year and clearly, they were around again. They didn't give me much notice! They wondered if I wanted to join them on a hill on Sunday. I had stern (house-related) plans for that day but I can postpone that for the Cornish! It's always good to see them. I used to Saturday to get as much done as I could, and had dinner that night with Jaco, Marjan and our Sabbatical guest Jeff. That was nice! But I was home slightly too late.
The next morning I chucked lots of hiking stuff into a bucket; I didn't know what mountain they had in mind! I had just brought two pairs of boots, and crampons, warm clothes, an ice axe, and food and drink. We would meet at Ogwen Cottage. I got there first, and minutes later I saw a van pull up. It was them! They had a two-vehicle trip in mind so they suggested I jump in and we'd drive further down the valley. Good! But we made sure to exchange hugs before we set off.
They had a farmer's track in mind that goes up to Llugwy Reservoir. From there a path goes along it and then up the ridge. You're then pretty much ready to scamper to any of the Carneddau and all other peaks there too! The weather was lovely and there was a fresh pack of snow on the mountains. It was lovely! And I was on my clunky boots, and had freshly repaired gaiters and hat, and I had my crampons that I had repaired yonks ago. They would finally get a testing!
The walk up started subtle (although steeper than one may think) and soon we were on the path onwards. It was beautiful! What a great day. I did realise quite soon though that I had forgot my glacier glasses. Oh dear! I immediately had flashbacks from climbing the Mönch quite many years ago. This wasn't good! It turned out that the men didn't have any either, and had considered phoning me to ask if I had any spares. I don't, but at least I would have thought of bringing my own! But some clouds were starting to appear in the blue sky so maybe providence was with me.
Tryfan and Llyn Ogwen looking pretty under a blue sky
We started to meet people coming the other way. One clutch mentioned there was sheet ice ahead. Time to put the crampons on! And it got a bit scrambly too. But that's OK. And suddenly we were on the ridge. From there we had a lovely view into Cwm Eigiau. I pointed out where all the airplane bits were. The men thought these were interesting!
We went on to Carnedd Llewelyn. It was windy there! And by then we were in a white-out. We decided to walk on a bit to some sticky-outy rocks to shelter behind, and there have a sarnie. It was about time!
It gets cold at higher altitude!
Pretty icy structures on grass
Three intrepid hikers!
Daz and Mike on the top, with a hint of view
Sometimes a slither of view appeared out of the white-out. That was nice! And we made a plan for the way on. We decided to go back to Carnedd Llewelyn and there decide if we would head for Pen yr Ole Wen, along the river Llugwy, or back the way we came. Daz didn't like the thought of coming down something as steep as Pen yr Ole Wen, and I was wondering if we would safely find our way to the river if we would still be in a white-out then. So we went back the same way! Almost. We popped over the top of Pen yr Helgi Du, and down y Braich. The first bit was very cold as the wind was strong, but soon we got to lower altitudes, the wind abated, the sun came back and we were quite comfortable.
The way down
Further down: out of the cloud!
Pen yr Helgi Du
Soon we were back at their car! We went to get mine. We couldn't have a coffee in the Ogwen Cafe as it was closed, so we decided to the Joe Brown that used to be the Pinnacle Cafe. But it isn't a cafe anymore! So we went on to cafe Siabod. There we had a beverage and another stare at the map. I showed the men where 'my' house was! And pointed the dam in Cwm Eigiau out. And lots more of that! It was nice. But I was tired and hungry.
We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. It had been a good day! I drove past the 24 hr supermarket but it was closed. Oh dear! I went home, made some emergency food, realised I had left my ice axe in Daz's van, and got back to the chores I still had on my list. I was knackered, badly fed, unprepared for the day to come and ice-axe-less, but it had been a good day!