28 March to 1 April 2013: Easter Trip to North Wales

Easter being so early and so wintery meant there were only seven members on this trip, but the clear and dry weather, and the generous snow covering, made for magnificent scenery and, provided you had the equipment, great winter walking. We spent four nights at the well-equipped Gwydyr M.C. hut in Capel Curig. This hut’s one drawback is that the dining table really only seats eight at a time, so there were advantages to a small group. The hut did not feel too empty as there was also a similar sized group from the Gwydyr M.C. itself.

Jonathan, Annie, Nigel, Anne and Humphrey on the hills behind Beddgelert, with Cnicht and the Moelwyns behind

Jonathan, Annie, Nigel, Anne and Humphrey on the hills behind Beddgelert, with Cnicht and the Moelwyns behind. Picture taken by Dave, with Sarojini out of view.

On the Friday, we all drove over to Beddgelert to do a circular walk which began by walking south through the Pass of Aberglasslyn, which had changed drastically since I was last there: it is no longer the “railway tunnels walk”, as the railway has been rebuilt and the footpath has been diverted lower, closer to the river. We then headed north up through the hills east of Beddgelert, following Cwm Bychan. Dropping down to Llyn Dinas, we stopped for mugs of tea at the Sygun Copper Mine, then followed the river back to Beddgelert. That route took us past the new Lancashire M.C. hut which Red Rope has a share in: building work was still under way, but the roof was on. In Beddgelert most of us had proper cream teas. Annie commented afterwards:

“For me it was one of the best trips I’ve done in ages. The walk that sticks in my mind more than others was the Beddgelert, may be just the pleasure of being out of London but those panoramas were something else.”

The new hut, with some Red Rope walkers

The new hut, with some Red Rope walkers

On Saturday three of us went over to Llanberis, for the gear shops, then walked up beside the first part of the mountain railway. The other four started up Moel Siabod, the mountain directly behind the hut, but three had to turn back because they did not have crampons. I carried on, and had a great view of Snowdon and its horseshoe.

On Sunday, most of the party drove over to Snowdon and followed the Miners’ Track up to the third lake.

Along the Miners' Track, by Annie

Along the Miners’ Track, by Anne

Anne commented: “By the lakes it was like a winter playground with loads of young people having a great time in the snow. I really enjoyed the trip, the beautiful mountains and everyone’s company.”

A frozen lake below Snowdon, taken by Sarojini

A frozen lake below Snowdon, taken by Sarojini

Also on the Sunday, Dave Doody from Nottingham Red Rope and I went up Carnedd Llewellyn, the most isolated of the 3,000 foot mountains in Snowdonia. This was very much a winter mountaineering expedition, and we definitely needed the ice-axes and crampons we both had with us.

Humphrey with Carnedd Llewelyn in the background

Humphrey with Carnedd Llewelyn in the background, taken by Dave

On Monday, Anne Barham, from Bristol, and Annie left early. The rest of us did a relatively low-level circular walk from the hut, first following the Afon Llugwy  for about a mile east then north through the woods to Llyn Bodgyndd and Llyn Geirionydd. The ridge separating Llyn Geirionydd from Llyn Crafnant is only 100m. high, but there was enough ice on the path to cause some problems. Fortunately the cafe on Llyn Crafnant was open, but less fortunately it was absolutely packed with people, so we had to sit in the tea gardens instead for a rather chilly tea-and-cake stop.

Looking back to Llyn Crafnant

Looking back to Llyn Crafnant

We then took the direct route back to Capel Curig and the hut. Dave set off for Nottingham while the London car, despite only leaving at 20 past 4, was back in time to drop Nigel off at Victoria station at 9 pm for his train to Croydon.



About Humphrey Southall

Director, Great Britain Historical GIS; Reader in Geography, University of Portsmouth
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