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The day before

For the past six months or so every trip out into North Wales was with the plan to get myself up to the Carneddau, weather put us off most of the time and a contingency plan went into effect, but yesterday was different, the weather reports were giving favourable conditions, so I decided to go for it, even though I would be making this attempt solo.

But I do have a small companion, of a sort. Just before christmas the doctor told me I had an Aneurism, and after a warm and fizzy CT scan my appointment with the doctor, to decide on which hair raising stomach turning kind of operation was nessesary was due tomorrow.
So on the day before with good weather warnings in effect where else was I going to go.

After our last failed attempt to climb the Carneddau I was definately not going up the Pen yr Ole Wen suicide route, but instead heeded the Gladman and headed up the Afon Lloer to the mirror like Ffynnon Lloer. The path follows the many strands of the river as it babbles and plunges down the mountain side, with Tryfan directly behind me catching the first rays of a perfect dawn on its summit, I was almost rooted to the spot, transfixed by the awsome beauty of this whole Ogwen valley.

When the small lake is arrived at, the first words I uttered was "oh my God",not just at the majesty of the place but also because only from here can we appreciate how far is still to go. All around the lake the towering peaks are still snow covered and the cliffs are mostly absolute sheer. Only to my left is there an inkling of a way up,
but the eastern end of Pen yr Ole Wen is just as difficult looking as the other side, but I make a start on it any way, I get to one tricky point and decide to fffforget that, turning round I can see the easy way from here, its in the opposite direction, so back down to the bog and stream to cross, then up up and so much up that you run out of up.
At the top I come out on top of Ysgolion Duon, and for the second time this morning I invoke the dieties name in wonder, the land drops down vertically, into a wide u shaped valley untill it rises all the way up again to Carnedd Llewelyn, Wales second highest mountain.
For the first time in a long time I'm at the top of a big mountain and it's not a complete white-out, it takes my breath away, it really does, if I were ever to go somewhere exotic like Macchu Picchu I'd probably faint.

Up to my left on the path to carnedd Dafydd is a walkers cairn, the good kind, one that isnt built from someones grave, and warns walkers in fog that the cliff is right there, I pass two of them before I reach the big bronze age cairn that crowns this mountain, fourth highest in Wales.
But it has been despoiled, a huge amount has been pulled aside and a small shelter built from it, next to the shelter the cairn rises once more, but it's not the way it should be.
Just before I was engulfed by white out I could see another cairn down the hill, but untill the fog blew away I lay down amongst the cairn out of the icy wind, usually my thoughts would turn to that of a spiritual wonderer, but today my mind hovers on having a wire squeezed through my entire artery system into my head. I open my eyes and see blue, that didnt take long, I stand up take a picture and tread carefully down the icy slope to the cairn that is southwest of the summit, but not Carnedd Fach.

This cairn is very noticeable standing two meters tall, though that is just how tall the shelter walls stand, yes this ones been abused aswell, but I dont shelter in this one, the mist is coming and going and at no time do I get a clear view all round, just snippets, it teases me, it knows I love it, and it knows I'll be back.
I reclimb Carnedd Dafydd and pass it by following the path that eventually brings the traveller to Carnedd Llwewyn, the weather on either side of me couldnt be more different, down to the left a million natural colours wash across the wide valley giving way to the gleaming white sundrenched mountain tops, but to my right down in the Ogwen all is dark, a low cloud hangs concealing the Glyders and Tryfan summit, just as well, i'm going the other, sunnier way.
I follow the cliff top and sometimes feel dizzy with vertigo, I stay well back from the edge, but soon the ridge narrows and i'm surounded by edges. I sit near the edge staring up at llewelyn, trying to pick out the path by ffynnon Llugwy and watch a helicopter on manouvers way below me.
Time and scardy cat-ness have me beaten (mostly time though) for this mountian visit, I am already planning my next trip up here before ive even started the long wak back.
God willing.

postman Posted by postman
17th February 2011ce
Edited 14th March 2011ce

Comments (6)

Unless you're posting from a wireless laptop in a snowdrift, with fingers falling off, I guess you made it home safely mate. Wonderful stuff, of which I am immediately jealous needless to say. Keep up with these though and I hope all turns out well on the health front too.

Seriously top stoneheadedness.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
17th February 2011ce
Ha! Go to the top of the class at once. Top effort........... GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
17th February 2011ce
Thanks very much, it was an awsome day out, if only it was like that all the time,
I'm sure i'll be fine, doesnt half play on your mind though.
postman Posted by postman
17th February 2011ce
Wishing you well postman. Littlestone Posted by Littlestone
20th February 2011ce
Only just read this, great stuff! I've only "done" the Carneddau once, but it was a cracking day out - fun scrambling, temperature inversions, Brocken Spectres, ancient cairns, and wonderful company. Really must make the effort to get down again this year...

All the best to you postman, hope all turns out well.
1speed Posted by 1speed
14th March 2011ce
Ive already got a return trip planned, partly to take a look at what coflein describes as a possible collapsed megalithic chamber, and to get up to carnedd Llewelyn, so it'll have to turn out well.

Thanks to you and Littlestone
postman Posted by postman
14th March 2011ce
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