I had a weekend which was both Grand and National, involving an excellent wedding in Berkshire on Saturday, and some running in North Wales on Sunday and Monday.
After bidding farewell to the happy couple on Saturday night, we returned home on Sunday to rescue the dog from his first ever night in kennels (he survived), and I raced west to seek out the snow.
It was so warm on Sunday morning that I ran up to Devil's Kitchen in a t-shirt and shorts. There was still plenty of snow cover around though, with the axe being brought out at Idwal Slabs. I knew John and Ben were planning on climbing the Devil's Cellar, so I traversed below all the ice routes just in case they'd ended up on something else.
There was no sign of them, but I did spot a cheeky git on The Screen removing John's peg that I'd failed to extract when seconding the route with him earlier in the year. After cursing the thief, I carried on up the Kitchen. Speaking to Ben and John later in the day, it transpired that the thief was actually Ben, and I just hadn't recognised him! So John got his peg back but I didn't even say hello!
The steep slope up to Glyder Fawr is always more amenable in the snow, and there's some serious bum-slide potential there at the moment. The sun was still shining, and I was having a wonderful time.
The leisurely jog across the plateau was disrupted slightly by the sections of snow with a solid icy crust which wasn't quite weight-bearing, resulting in bashed-shin syndrome. Nevertheless, I was soon past Castell y Gwynt and on to Glyder Fach. It's usually a pain to get around the summit, but with so much snow around it was a simple run past the cluster of rocks and right to the foot of the Cantilever.
The steep screes at the side of Bristly Ridge looked a bit dicey in running crampons, so I flew down the east flank of Glyder Fach and then cut back along the Miner's Path towards Bwlch Tryfan instead. The head of Cwm Tryfan was decidedly steep, and a slip would have meant a loooong slide – funny how normally innocuous terrain can become so much more serious in winter.
At the bwlch I had a chat with a bloke about how Bristly Ridge probably wasn't advisable with a walking axe and no crampons, and then descended Bochlwyd Stream (so easy in the snow!) to Ogwen. Lovely.
Monday morning saw an early start, with sheep causing maximum disruption at Pen y Pass while I got ready in the car park.
The aim was to head to Y Lliwedd from the Miner's Track, thus avoiding the strong westerly winds which were forecast.
Another glorious morning found me in solitary bliss as I left Llyn Llydaw and started climbing. The wind noise akin to a train coming over the ridge as I ascended the last steep snow slope made me re-think my plans, and I beat a hasty retreat to the lake. Having lost my hard-won height, I once again climbed – this time onto the Horns.
From the Horns, with time pressures mounting, I dropped down the Pyg Track in it's full winter garb. Normally a awkward knee-jarring rock-fest, it was fast and fun all the way back to the car park. From there the real-world kicked back in as I drove home for an afternoon of work, the pain softened somewhat by a cracking weekend.