Busy busy

Written by Haydn Williams

We’ve just got back from a week in Snowdonia, staying in a cottage between Capel Curig and Snowdon. Well-placed for pretty much everything, really, so we got a lot done.

First up was the Powerfan Plummet, a climb up a 100ft pole followed by a jump off whilst attached to a ‘parachute simulator’. It essentially brakes your fall, and proved quite interesting but not as adrenaline-inducing as we’d hoped!

The pole from which you jump to begin the 'plummet'. © Paul Cordell 2012
The pole from which you jump to begin the 'plummet'. © Paul Cordell 2012
James pretending to be more scared than he actually is. © Paul Cordell 2012
James pretending to be more scared than he actually is. © Paul Cordell 2012

Day two was a pleasant dog walk around Llyn Gwynant in the morning (albeit resulting in a trip to the vet for one member of the party), followed by some wet laps of Idwal in the afternoon. Becs, Paul and James walked around  with the dog, while I ran three laps in increasingly strong wind and rain. Nevertheless, I had great fun!

Running along the northern end of Llyn Idwal. Apologies for the poor quality - it's a screen cap from a video, but essentially it was very very wet. © Haydn Williams 2012
Running along the northern end of Llyn Idwal. Apologies for the poor quality - it's a screen cap from a video, and with rain on the lens, but essentially it was very very wet. © Haydn Williams 2012

An all-abilities wander along the river at Betws y Coed on day three was a gentle half-day to offset a more strenuous walk up to a bothy in the Carneddau in the afternoon.

Nothing says 'holiday' like hiding in a log. © Helen Sumner 2012
Nothing says 'holiday' like hiding in a log. © Helen Sumner 2012

James, Jono, Gareth and I wiled away the evening playing cards, and woke to blue skies. The descent back to the car along Cefn-tal-llyn-Eigiau was rather scenic, and included some lenticular clouds too.

Me, Gareth, James and Jono outside the bothy. © Haydn Williams 2012
Me, Gareth, James and Jono outside the bothy. © Haydn Williams 2012
Enjoying the descent. © Haydn Williams 2012
Enjoying the descent. © Haydn Williams 2012

After some lounging around we ventured north to Caernarfon, and I proceeded to put in a poor show at the karting track. I usually get reasonable lap times, but I was feeling tired and so by round two it became a bit of a mission just to hold on into each corner! We were still all pretty evenly matched though, with half a second between our best times. That evening’s dog walk was livened up by a ‘buzzing’ from a Chinook helicopter, and a dramatic sunset over Snowdon.

Low-flying Chinook over Llynau Mymbyr. © Haydn Williams 2012
Low-flying Chinook over Llynau Mymbyr. © Haydn Williams 2012

Day five started lazily, but soon increased in pace as we visited Beddgelert to see what the new forestry commission biking trails are like. They’re all at the tame end of the spectrum, but with people starting to feel the effects of a fairy hectic week that probably wasn’t a bad thing. My hopes of getting to the Marin or Penmachno trails for a good blast were dashed by the presence of a wobbly crank arm and the ripping of a large hole in the sidewall of my rear tyre. Darn slate!

The obstacles get a little too technical to ride. © Haydn Williams 2012
The obstacles get a little too technical to ride. © Haydn Williams 2012

The weather continued the week’s theme of ‘cloudy ‘ when we woke up on day six. Parking at Pen y Gwryd for the morning dog walk and heading up towards Carnedd y Cribau, we soon climbed above the cloud and could see the pocket of poor visibility in which the cottage was sitting.

Our cottage is somewhere at the bottom of that cloud! © Haydn Williams 2012
Our cottage is somewhere at the bottom of that cloud! © Haydn Williams 2012
Caesar enjoying his morning walk. © Haydn Williams 2012
Caesar enjoying his morning walk. © Haydn Williams 2012

After dispatching that, we headed over to Penmachno for a trip around the Rhiwbach slate mine (technically a quarry, actually), run by Go Below. This wasn’t a standard tour, involving as it did tyrollean traverses, abseils, a bit of climbing, and via-ferrata style roped sections. All very exciting, and not a hint of a handrail, concrete step or electric light anywhere in the mine. Highly recommended.

James and Paul strap in to head to the mine. © Haydn Williams 2012
James and Paul strap in to head to the mine. © Haydn Williams 2012
James heading into Rhiwbach slate mine. © Haydn Williams 2012
James heading into Rhiwbach slate mine. © Haydn Williams 2012
Me on the tyrollean traverse. © James Devine 2012
Me on the tyrollean traverse. © James Devine 2012
James abseiling down to the chamber floor. © Haydn Williams 2012
James abseiling down to the chamber floor. © Haydn Williams 2012
Intrepid explorers / tour clients. © Haydn Williams 2012
Intrepid explorers / tour clients. © Haydn Williams 2012
This is the only remaining incline bridge made of timber IN THE WORLD! All the others are either made of stone or have rotted away. © Haydn Williams 2012
This is the only remaining incline bridge made of timber IN THE WORLD! All the others are either made of stone or have rotted away. © Haydn Williams 2012
The beast which took us to and from Rhiwbach. An ex-army gun tractor with a 3.9L V8 engine, that's served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Germany. Mental. © Haydn Williams 2012
The beast which took us to and from Rhiwbach. An ex-army gun tractor with a 3.9L V8 engine, that's served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Germany. Mental. © Haydn Williams 2012

We emerged at the top of the mine that afternoon into glorious sunshine, which continued all the way back to the cottage. Snowdon just looked too tempting as we approached from Capel Curig, so I grabbed my running stuff and set off from Pen y Pass up the Pyg track. I got as far as Bwlch Glas, but turned back at that point to help / watch a rescue of a climber with a suspected dislocated shoulder from the broken ground between the Pyg track and Crib Goch.

Sunset from Bwlch Glas. © Haydn Williams 2012
Sunset from Bwlch Glas. © Haydn Williams 2012

The precision and control demonstrated by the crew of the RAF Sea King is something that you really can’t appreciate until you see it up close (and I’m speaking as someone who watches a lot of Highland Emergency!).

 

The RAF Sea King about to despatch a winchman to an injured climber below Crib Goch. © Haydn Williams 2012
The RAF Sea King about to despatch a winchman to an injured climber below Crib Goch. © Haydn Williams 2012

By the time I’d spoken to various Llanberis MRT people on the way down, it was going dark and I was treated to a lovely sunset and a torch-lit run back to the car at Pen y Gwryd.

Night falls over Snowdon and Llyn Llydaw. © Haydn Williams 2012
Night falls over Snowdon and Llyn Llydaw. © Haydn Williams 2012

1 thought on “Busy busy

  1. Stu says:

    ahh we saw the heli buzzing round on fri eve and the MR station at Nant Perris was open unusually late! also that ex military landrover looks a lot like one my friend has!

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