Snowdon sideways

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My last post was Snowdon from the back way, this day was about approaching it from the side. A little-used ascent route, not surprisingly because it was horrible (more later), then the great Crib Goch north and east ridges and the horseshoe route to Snowdon summit.
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Snowdon by the back way

Mynydd Mawr above Rhyd Ddu
Mynydd Mawr rears above the hamlet of Rhyd Ddu with a steam train just about to arrive in the station on picture left.

This route is a less popular way to top out on Snowdon, with some nice airy ridge walking near the top and plenty of squelchy bog trotting towards the end. Views are, as usual on Snowdon, either tremendous when clear or non-existent when the clouds come down. Continue reading

Place Fell from Brotherswater

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Sorry about the lack of posts recently, been distracted…

I haven’t been going out on big mountain walks for quite a while due to achilles tendon problems. Now I think it’s time to say sod it to the achilles tendon and go walking regardless. For this Cumbria trip, I fancied Place Fell.

Place Fell is a high of modest altitude but big attitude. It sits in a prominent spot at the southern end of Ullswater. I’d been looking for viewpoints around Ullswater for a while and had been thinking of Place Fell but I’d never been up there. The obvious starting point is Patterdale. I chose further up the valley at Brotherswater because I’m a cheapskate and you can park for free there.

You can start out walking through very pleasant woods on a path just next to the road but eventually you’re forced onto the road until Patterdale. This is a handy spot to buy sun cream and a hat in case you’re stupid enough to have come out without either on a sunny spring day. Obviously I would never be that daft.

Over the river now and then up the path to Boredale Hause. Turn left here and follow the steep path to Place Fell’s rocky summit. The spectactular 360-degree panorama includes Ullswater, Helvellyn, High Street, the Patterdale Valley, and Blencathra. It was somewhat spoiled though by the icy cold gale blowing at the top which meant you couldn’t stand in the breeze for more than a few seconds before retreating to shelter. I donned all the clothing I had to try and keep the cold out.

Now to descend northwards towards the lake and the hidden surprise of the Lowther Tea Room. I was heading for what I thought was just another stone barn, to sit and have a sandwich. Only when you’re standing right in front of it do you realise it’s a tea room right by the lake. I didn’t go in (did I mention I’m a cheapskate) but it looked very nice.

The return is on the lakeside path. The trees looked particularly beautiful in their early spring foliage. From the head of the lake, I stayed on the east side of the river all the way to Hartstop for a beautiful day out.

Moel Gyw

Joy and I did a great walk around the south-eastern end of the Clwydian range in north Wales, the physical and metaphorical high point being the summit of Moel Gyw. The approximate route can be found at www.plotaroute.com/route/335828

I was fortunate to have some good light from the low winter sun. Combined with some very shapely hills and tremendous views it made for good monochrome photographs.

In 2017 I’m intending to spend a lot more time in Wales and I think this walk will have to be done again. It has great potential for sunset photography.

Bwlch Tryfan, 19th January 2016

This was Joy’s last hurrah before going back to full time work so we made the effort to get to the mountains and find some snow.

We did a simple route that I thought we could do quickly and then extend if we had time to spare, though I over-estimated our speed. We did a round of Tryfan, going up to Bwlch Tryfan from the Cwm Bochlwyd side and back again down Cwm Tryfan.

From the road the path is almost immediately rough scrambling and very wet but with glorious weather. Dazzling snows on the summits, plenty of colour low down, very little wind. It started to cloud over as we approached the pass but still good weather.

Snow conditions up to the pass were easy but the snow was much deeper on the south side with some exciting traverses across steep slopes. No footpaths were visible under the snow so we relied on map and compass, backed up by footprints. These only mean someone else went this way, not that they got where they were going. This proved true as we dropped further down into the valley. We followed the map and compass and used our mountain sense to find a sensible way but it was very slow going along rough boggy ground, still under snow.

Eventually I reckoned I could predict where the proper path was so I took a look and hey presto! there it was. This speeded us up a little but it was still a five hour round trip back to the car.