Yesterday I climbed Snowdon; the highest mountain in Wales for the first time with UMHC. I’m not quite sure what’s taken me so long to have a go at it, but I think it’s status as a major tourist attraction was probably part of the story (Snowdon has a railway up the side and a visitor centre on top). That means in the last 12 months, I’ve done all of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.
We ascended from the Rhyd Ddu side up a relatively unnamed path (according to the map) and returned, largely, via the “Rhyd Ddu” path..
There was no snow at the bottom in the carpark, but above about 800 metres there is a significant amount of snow, packed and frozen. This made the somewhat exposed ridge section just before the summit (which we navigated twice!) particularly “interesting”. Shortly before the summit we encountered our second group of other walkers of the mountain – a breakaway section of another UMHC hike that had decided things were going to slowly. We had lunch at the summit (the visitors centre was closed and looked like a Bond-baddie’s frozen hideout).
On the way down, I thought we were making good time, but it became clear we were going to be late for the 5:30 bus. Unfortunately there was no signal so apart from sending some SMS and hoping my phone would find some signal to send them with [it didn't], there was nothing we could do.
Towards the end, I think we lost the path, possibly in our esteemed hike leader’s rush to return. In hindsight, I’d suggest that the “the straightest route to the lights” is probably not always the best route. It was getting dark by this point and even though I had a head torch, not everyone else did. We ended up walking through significant numbers of bogs, climbing over several stone walls and gates; it was entertaining – bordering on farcical towards the end.
We were over an hour late back to the bus, having not been able to make contact with them. It turns out they were not happy bunnies, being a bit worried that something bad had happened, compounded with the coach driver threatening to leave if we didn’t turn up within “the next 10 minutes” someone had just been dispatched to call the Mountain Rescue; thankfully we were able to stop them in time.
The UMHC committee has an award called “embarrassment of the week” for committee members. I think our esteemed hike leader has probably won it for the next few weeks in a row!
Ah well, all’s well that ends well.