North Wales was my destination again last weekend. On Saturday I carried out a mercy mission to rescue my mum from Anglesey, where she'd fallen down the caravan steps and couldn't drive home thanks to the resulting very badly sprained ankle. This meant I caught the train from Chester across the border and all the way west to Holyhead; as far as it's possible to go without ending up in the Irish Sea. It turned out to be quite an interesting journey, including (amongst other things) the airfield where the wings for the Airbus A380 are made and one of the largest off-shore windfarms in the world.
On the way back from Anglesey, we stopped at Ogwen so I could fit in a quick run. The weather was some of the worst I've seen up there for a long time, so I wasn't out for very long!
A couple of laps of Cwm Idwal in the pouring rain was enough to make me feel like I'd got some exercise, so we headed home from there.
Trepidation mixed with anticipation greeted me on Sunday morning, as we set off to bivvi on the summit of Snowdon, thereby hopefully achieving a long-term aim of my Dad's. With an MWIS forecast for "unusually cold" summit temperatures of -2 degrees (accounting for windchill), I wasn't convinced it was the best idea we'd ever had! Dad had also been worried that a general lack of fitness would mean a slow and laboured ascent, but as it happened there was no drama at all and we reached the summit via the Miner's Track in a respectable 3h 30m. Fortunately the cafe was still open so we refuelled on sausage rolls and tea. A quick discussion about the weather confirmed that we wouldn't be sleeping on the summit – the forecast wind and rain had hit us at Bwlch Glas, and persuaded everyone else that going back down to somewhere more sheltered would be sensible. Phew!
We descended to Llyn Llydaw and settled on a spot near the north-west side of the lake. Dad proceeded to jettison his precious army rations on the grounds that they looked and tasted disgusting! An hour and a half slipped by as Gareth and I walked back down to the Pen-y-Pass Youth Hostel to call out the MRT to some climbers benighted on Lliwedd, but otherwise the night was quiet if a little windy.
I was impressed by how well my flimsy-looking Terra Nova Photon 2 stood up to the gusts, and after a decent night's sleep we returned to the new(ish) Caban Cyf cafe at Pen y Pass for an excellent breakfast.