Two weeks today, I will be in the foothills of Mount Kenya and heading upwards. Today’s walk was intended to test out a pair of boots which I may use in Kenya and also to see whether all my effort in the gym has made me even halfway fit enough to climb a 17,000 feet mountain.
I parked at the Rhyd Ddu carpark and, at first, followed the Rhyd Ddu path but ignored the Yr Wyddfa sign and kept going East for another couple of km before climbing up the South ridge. This had seemed a good idea when I was planning the walk, but I was starting to remember my dislike of scrambling (and falling off mountains), so I was a little nervous of just how scrambly and razor-sharp the ridge was. Luckily, the visibility was so poor I could barely see the drop to the right, so my fears didn’t get the better of me. (Maybe I’ll tackle Crib Goch next time the cloud is low!)
Halfway across Bwlch Main I decided that my Micro-spikes would be better on my boots than in my pack, although they didn’t add much traction on the soft slippy snow.
Driving to Snowdonia, the views had been quite clear and I’d seen beautiful snow-dappled peaks. Of course, by the time I got there, the cloud had closed in and I only glimpsed occasional peeks at the peaks. I had seen Hafod Eryri, through a break in the cloud, when I was still about 30 minutes walk away. I next saw it when I was about 3 feet away from it!
There were quite a few people at the top, including the usual mix of jeans and inappropriate foorwear, although I know they hadn’t come up on the train (as it wasn’t running) so maybe I was just overdressed? There being no shelter, apart from the lee of the caff wall, I didn’t hang around before heading downhill again via the Snowdon Ranger route. The thick snow at the top, coupled with the cloud, meant that it wasn’t obvious where the path was, but I guessed that a huge stone was probably a path-marker and I turned out to be right.
I’d come up the Snowdon Ranger path last time I visited Snowdon and it was tempting to have a dig around to see if I could find the Laser Competition
toothpicks tent pegs which I’d unwillingly left behind. That was such a windy night, whereas today was quite calm.
Anyone who has walked in the area will know how much the landscape is shaped by slate quarrying. There are lots of ruined buildings and it’s obvious that the mountain has been heavily worked in the past. One of the footpaths I used was signposted up and over a spoil heap!
I wondered what this construction was for. At first I assumed it was some sort of sheep dip, as there was a gap at the bottom at the far end, but I think it’s far more likely to be connected to quarrying. In the photo, you should be able to make out two holes on each side, so maybe some machinery was mounted there? Any ideas?
Today’s walk was just under 16km with around 900m of ascent. Time taken: just under 7 hours. Oh, the boots passed the test. As for my fitness, well there’s still time to work on that!