|Well, thats what we'll be heading up in a bit|
The route was about 17 miles, and helpfully, spread between the 2 sides of the Snowdonia Explorer map. (Having now run around the route, I'm convinced that the reason for not running in the area before simply because of the map faff factor, but thats another thing).
At the carpark there were already a number of other cars, the weather was fairly overcast, but not (yet) raining), we put our stuff on, I performed my first trip of the day, getting my mudclaws caught in a bag and falling backwards out of the Landy, but no serious damage was done. Decisions on what items of clothing to wear and take were interesting. It wasn't all that cold, but it promised to be pretty chilly later on, and also wet. I ended up with Mudclaws, thick wooly teko socks, CW-X leggings, a merino helly and Rab Stretch Vaporize, with a buff, hat and lobster sealskin gloves on, just for good measure. Proshell gortex in the bag, with a pair of £10 Quechua waterproof trousers for emergencies.
|Too hot on the way up the first hill|
|Foel fras Trig|
|Ice on a fence|
A couple of photos of the ice, and off we went, also finding some rather spectacular ice formed on a fence- which actually fell off about 10 seconds after I took the photos. Across and onto the path, and through icy mud and bog water up to Garnedd Uchaf. The mist coming and going as we forged along, so that the view off to Foel Grach and the Carneddi was there, and suddenly obscured. On up to Foel Grach, and then a decision.
From the peak of Yr Elen, in the wind, looking down at Ffynnon Caseg, and thinking what a lovely place it would be for a swim... in the summer, we picked our line off the hill to the South in preparation for going right down into the valley, and then climb back out up to Carnedd dafydd. There is a lovely grade 1 scramble up one of the ridges, but it was decided that with all the snow and ice up there at the moment, it might not have been the best idea in the world, so we instead decided to go up earlier, hit the ridge and head to the peak from there. The descent was excellent, we picked a great line that missed out 2 patches of scree, the hill was ridiculously steep, and as long as you didn't hit any stone patches, you could generally stay on your feet. Not even Mudclaws can grip on wet rock, and we all spend some time not necessarily on our feet.
|Off Yr Elen|
Hit the bottom, crossed the stream and straight up the other side. Hearts pounding we ascended a fair way, and just before getting to the top, recognising that this was going to be the most shelter we were going to get before well, almost the end of the run, we decided to stop and have lunch. John handed around coffee, sandwiches were broken out, and we looked at a rather delightful vista spread before us. I noticed a rock tumbling down from where we were stood. As it fell, I thought, hmmm. thats black, I didn't realise there was coal up here. We watched it go for a short while and John said. "Hang on. Thats the top to my flask". We waited for it to stop, and thankfully, it only went about 25 metres down, and he set off after it, with Andy and I chuckling and digging about for our cameras.
|Retrieval of coffee top|
Up and onto the ridge, and the wind was really howling, the rain was driving, and we slogged up the hill, hoods up. The rain was pounding into the side of my hood, without that I suspect I'd have had rain driven right through my ear. The noise was almost so loud that I thought my ears were going to start ringing. The frozen turf was ok, but as soon as we reached bands of scree that we had to cross, each and every one of us started imitating Bambi on ice. No grip whatsoever. Wet rock and fellshoes do not mix in any way shape or form, and if anyone knows of a shoe that might grip on that kind of stuff, please start selling it. Average speed, already not all that fast was cut in half on the rock, and it was all we could do to find the fastest way across it to get back onto frozen grass again.
Toward the top, of course, its entirely wet, icy, frozen rock, so we teetered along, completely unsure of any footing, with wind and rain howling around us. Needless to say there was no photo stop as we gathered our thoughts and trotted off toward Carnedd Llewellyn. A lot of that track is also slick rock, so average speed across there wouldn't have broken many records either, and as we crossed the NE/SW ridge, the wind gathered speed and strength so that we could barely walk, let alone run... standing still involved comedic levels of lean into the wind, and footing was still pretty unstable and uncertain.
|shelteres side of the ridge|
|Andy looking for his camera|
Andy was a little slow with his camera, fishing about in his bag, and by the time he had it out, the cloud had come in again. Camera safely back in the bag, and it cleared... right. I'll send him some of mine then.
Off down the hill, again missing a couple of crags, opting for steep, (but not sheer) ground. Down and down, through bog and mush, round a few horses which Andy has a mighty aversion to, over a river, up a bog and back onto a path, which would lead us back to the car.
|We were up there. In the mist.|
A decent 26km day out in the hills, never mind reccying for races, THIS is what fell running is about.
And if you are interested, here is the Garmin track
|Tall tales in the pub|
|Generic kit in the landy|