Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Snowdon Round.

The weather forecast today was much more optimistic, especially for later.  We were able to walk directly from our hotel this morning and set off up the tourist track up Snowdon from Llanberis.  This was not our original plan; we had intended to approach via the Watkin Path and Lliwedd but thought that, if the winds were still as strong, the tourist track would be safer.  Our fears were not justified, however, and although very strong on the summit, the gales of yesterday had ameliorated.  As it was winter and early in the day, we very nearly had the tourist tack to ourselves and it made an ideal way to approach the mountain. Climbing higher, we passed the great cwm of  Clogwyn Du'r Arddu to our right, that we were to return over the top of later, and then the cloud closed in around us.  Soon afterwards we found ourselves in snow and then hard snow/ice which necessitated crampons.  It was amazingly cold on the summit, with fantastic ice formations on rocks and  any upright objects.  The ice forms as the wind blows moisture onto solid features and the crystals grow outwards into the wind.  There was one lone herring gull by the summit railway station hoping for crumbs from visiting walkers - I am sure there must have been easier pickings.  The other birds of note that we encountered during our day on the high tops were majestic ravens, usually in pairs, wheeling and tumbling in the air with their croaking echoing around the rocks; fabulous!  It was too cold to tarry any longer than the time needed for a flask of soup and a bite to eat and we were soon on our way back down the Snowdon Ranger path which took us over the top of 'Cloggy'.  Once below the summit we came out of the cloud and by now the sun had emerged and we were treated to glorious weather and views for the remainder of the day.  We pottered about above the Clogwyn cliffs enjoying the dramatic scenery and impressive cornices before continuing down and then detouring over the grassy summit of Moel Cynghorion.  Here we had wonderful views across the valley to Mynydd Mawr and the Nantle Ridge.  By now the sun was sinking below layers of cloud from time to time and we were treated to the sight of wonderful crepuscular rays or 'God's Rays'.  After a final hot drink stop at the col we wandered back down the wonderful Maesgwm valley to Llandberis, passing the attractive ruins of quarry workers houses on the way.  Back at the hotel it was definitely beer o'clock and time to slake our thirst and celebrate a wonderful day in the hills.
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