Quad Camp Day 3 – Snowdon
Day 3 of the quad Camp brought with it a super sore throat and snot galore. Lovely!! Big, thick green slimey snot that seemed to go on forever. It was the sort that has some proper weight to it and brings a sense of immense but short-lived satisfaction when ejected from ones nostrils. Short-lived because as soon as is it ejected more takes its place. Where does it all come from?
Sorry for the clarification about the exact nature of the snot, but I do like to paint a picture if I can. Outside the picture was altogether more pleasant. The sun had yet to rise from behind the mountains but the peaks all around were bathed in its warm glow. Geese floated serenely on the calm dark green waters of the lake as wisps of mist rose around them. All was still and all was quiet. Quiet that is other that the twitter of the birds in the woodland across the lake and the distinctive call of a distant cuckoo. If you could choose weather conditions for a camping trip then these were the conditions you’d choose.
‘Orrible ere in Wales innit!!
There were various plans for today, most of which seemed to involve Snowdon. Well, when camping with the summit of Wales just over the hill it would be rude not to.
Pete and Jeff were planning a walk from the campsite to the Watkin Path which they would take to the summit before descending via the Pyg or Miners track to Pen y Pass and then back through Nant Gwynant to the campsite. They were setting off and 7:30am. It sounded like quite a slog and as though it would take most of the day.
Jean and Dave we’re heading in the same direction but not until 9am. They were also taking Molly their very old dog so were just going to see how far they got and had no intention of summitting. That sounded better as I could get back in time for a paddle or a swim as well. So my plan was to have a relaxed start, go with Jean and Dave and maybe push on ahead for a bit if I felt like it, maybe making the summit.
As usual though I was up at 5:30am and full of snot. After breakfast and an hour or so writing blog posts and reading books it was 7:30am and I was raring to go. I decided to quickly get ready, leave Jean and Dave a note and head off towards the Watkin path on my own. Pete and Jeff would have left just before me so I might even catch them on the way.
I was soon running along the woodland trails alongside Llyn Gwynant. Up over Elephant Rock and the down to the lakeside once again.
Here I found myself rock hopping from boulder to boulder for a while before picking up a trail that took my alongside the Glaslyn River. After crossing some boggy ground I found a nice track that took me to Nant Gwynant. I then started climbing up along the eastern side of the Cwm Llan river with its tumbling waterfalls.
In hindsight I think I overtook Pete and Jeff here as we took slightly differing routes. I dropped down to the top of the waterfalls, crossed a little footbridge and then climbed up onto the bottom of the Watkin Path.
I was climbing steeply at points. The sun was shining, the scenery was amazing and I was moving well. I had just shorts, a T shirt and a pair of lightweight running shoes on. I was travelling light for the mountains so making a good pace. I did have to be cautious at times though. I soon overtook a couple of girls but other than them I had seen no one. I was alone in the hills.
I continued on up the path. Running at times, walking powerfully at others and having to scramble a little in the steeper sections. I did see two other people walking up here as I overtook them. I then stopped for a photo and realised I had some mobile reception so sat down for ten minutes to send Anna a few messages, upload some session to Strava and delete a few emails. As I did so the two guys overtook me but I soon caught them again once I got going. Not long after the path steepened significantly.
There was no chance of running now so scrambling it was. I was hauling myself up across the loose ground, holding onto boulders where possible and gaining elevation quickly.
I soon emerged out onto the ridge where there was quite a wind. There were also views to the north out over the Menai Straits and Anglesey, and views out over the mountains of Snowdonia to the south.
Here I joined the Rhyd Ddu path for the last few hundred yards to the summit. As I reached the café the shutters were just rolling up ready for it to open.
I stopped for the obligatory summit photo and then started heading back down towards the Pyg Track. I know this was never the plan but it had been easy so far and I’d made good time so I thought I may as well do a circular run. The same route that Pete and Jeff had planned all along.
I did actually manage to run much of the way back down as well. My knees felt OK so on I went. Before I knew it I was closing in on Pen y Pass. I did contemplate turning around once I reached the car park and heading back up the Miners Track just so that I could summit twice in one day. I felt fine and could have done it but decided it would probably be more sensible just to head down into the Nant Gwynant valley and back to the campsite. That’s what I did, running along the lower level path back to where I started. It was pretty hot by the time I arrived back at the campsite. The entire route has taken 3 hours 15 minutes which I thought was pretty good going in that terrain. The actual climb up the Watkin Path to the summit and back down the Pyg Track probably took about 2 1/2 hours.
Back at the campsite I took my shoes and socks off and waded out into the lake up to my waist. After a run in the hills it was lovely so I just stood there for ten minutes letting the cold water ease my muscles. I then got the lounge air out of the van, inflated it and chilled in the sunshine for an hour or so with a litre of cold chocolate milk. several chocolate brownies and my feet up.
John and his wife arrived a little later so I headed onto the calm waters of the lake for a kayak paddle with him. Nothing too strenuous, but we did do a few one minute efforts. It got a bit of a sweat on so I jumped in the lake afterwards to cool off and then lay there in the sunshine with my wet clothes on to dry off. This was accompanied with more brownies for me.
Jean and Dave were back from their walk by now so I then convinced Jean and John to come for a swim with me. The lake was lovely, quite a bit warmer than two days ago thanks to the hot weather. We didn’t swim far, just out to Elephant Rock and back.
Pete and Jeff were back from their walk now as well. They had done the same as me I think just taking a little more time. They looked pretty weary after a long day in the hills – just the way you should do after a good day out.
The afternoon was coming to an end by now so we chilled in the sunshine before showering and clearing up. I did some basic laundry in the shower as well, washing the sports kit I’d worn today at the same time as washing myself.
Another good day and despite the lurgy I managed to get plenty done.