Musical Mountains

Written by Haydn Williams

I felt more relaxed than usual as I drove through to Llandegla a couple of weekends ago. I think it had something to do with a rare day off work and some sunshine. After three hours of being taught how to corner (it turns out I’ve been doing it all wrong for 20 years) I drove up to the Bowline hut near Llanberis.

I was particularly enjoying the music on in the car on the way, and the selection from Capel to Pen y Pass prompted a particularly enthusiastic sing-along…

Madonna, Immaculate Collection, 1990.

The original plan had been to take it easy, but Snowdon looked really inviting so I swung into Pen y Pass car park and pulled on my running shoes.

First glimpse of Snowdon.
© Haydn Williams 2019
First glimpse of Snowdon.
© Haydn Williams 2019

By this point it was going dark, which obviously meant… wobbly night-time photography!

The way ahead on the Pyg Track.
© Haydn Williams 2019
The way ahead on the Pyg Track.
© Haydn Williams 2019

I usually pick the Pyg Track because it’s nice and sheltered, but unusually I was was being battered around a bit by the wind as I moved past the Trinity Face and up towards the snowy zig-zags.

Gullies: not complete.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Gullies: not complete.
© Haydn Williams 2019

I was eventually beaten back before I got to inspect the cornice-type affair guarding the way to the finger stone, which is just as well because my axe and crampons were still in the car.

Not visible on this photo: lots of wind.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Not visible on this photo: lots of wind.
© Haydn Williams 2019

On returning to the car park, I was greeted by my bike, sat patiently in the moonlight waiting for the next day’s fun.

I went a bit old-school on the descent to Llanberis, belting out a variety of tracks from a record which is rather terrifyingly now old enough to be almost graduating from university (21 ½ years, released 1997)…

Green Day, Nimrod, 1997

Saturday began with a walk/ride up the Llanberis path, with the intention of descending the Snowdon Ranger path. With continuing gales, our high point was just above Clogwyn Station, where the wind was picking up the back of my bike and swinging it around the handlebars as I gripped onto them for dear life!

It's not an exciting photo, but you didn't come here for words so don't complain.
© Haydn Williams 2019
It’s not an exciting photo, but you didn’t come here for words so this is better than nothing.
© Haydn Williams 2019

At the top section we left Chris to bravely fend off the boulders on his hardtail, while Richard and I bombed down on our full suspension. By this point my mental musical accompaniment had moved on, although I don’t think it was a subconscious comment on my own suspension setup.

“Soft Shock” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, from “It’s Blitz!”, 2009.
Destination: The far end of that lake in the background.
© Haydn Williams 2019
Destination: The far end of that lake in the background.
© Haydn Williams 2019

We had much fun, until Richard’s puncture. And his second puncture. And his third! The bits in-between punctures were very enjoyable though, and far more rideable than I remember from nine years ago. My music selection changed halfway down as we passed someone singing Biffy Clyro’s “Many of Horror” – I suspect they were actually singing the X Factor version, but I sang the Biffy one because I’m rawk.

Biffy Clyro, Only Revolutions, 2009
A quality ride. Snowdon Ranger can wait until summer.
© Haydn Williams 2019
A quality ride. Snowdon Ranger can wait until summer.
© Haydn Williams 2019

We eventually made it to the bottom, beaten by Chris “no punctures”, and rode back to the club hut to dump the bikes before heading off to Anglesey for a wander over to Llandwyn island.

The helicoper wasn't for us.
© Haydn Williams 2019
The helicoper wasn’t for us.
© Haydn Williams 2019

The next day I joined a Facebook MTB group for a ride around somewhere in Shropshire. It was a bit of a muddy root-fest, requiring sufficient concentration that I was unable to take any photos, but enjoyable once I got into the swing of things. And I was accompanied by the final track of the weekend, courtesy of a text from a friend…

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