Sunday, 12 August 2012

Oggie 8 - Completed

We arrived at Gwern Gof Uchaf campsite at 8:00pm on Friday. It is situated just under Tryfan and is directly over the A5 from the Ogwen valley mountain rescue hut. After setting up the tents we headed over to register our teams’ arrival and have our kit checked. The Rescue team where very hospitable and we had a tour of the base which was very interesting before heading back to the campsite.
After sitting around for a while chatting and getting fed up with the midges we all turned in for the night. The next morning I got up at 5:45am and the campsite was already a hive of activity with a least 3 other teams getting ready for the day’s events. The weather was perfect albeit a bit hazy, and the forecast for the rest of the day was very good with no precipitation expected. Apparently this is the first time that it has not rained for the Oggie 8. We must be lucky.

Once we were sorted we headed over the road to the Rescue base for the prompt 7:00am mass start. All the teams gathered round the back of the base with some good banter and swapping of team photos for each other. After a quick briefing we were off accompanied by a flare.
Team photo at the start

The first ascent was a bit of a procession really with everyone following each other up the hillside at their own pace. It was fairly boggy under foot in places but nothing major, it was not long before we were on the Carneddau ridge and heading to Carnedd Llewelyn which was visible through the early morning haze along with its satellite peak Yr Elen. The last time I was up here the wind was blowing strongly and made it difficult to walk this time it was perfect a nice cooling gentle breeze especially after a brisk ascent straight up from the start of the walk.
First ascent of the day

Carnedd Llewelyn & Yr Elen in the early morning mist
On Carnedd Llewellyn we got our route card punched a quick team photo and headed off for Yr Elen, which did not take long at all, with the first teams passing us in the opposite direction as we headed up onto Yr Elen summit. The two team members on the checkpoint had camped up here over night and mentioned that it was great just lying there looking up at the clear starry sky, I can imagine that it was a spectacular sight. Anyway after some light hearted banter about our team name “We ate all the pasties” which derived from a Google search of Oggie and thus the resultant “Giant Oggie Pasty Company”. They thought from our team name we would be favourites to finish last or not even finish at all!! We all had a good laugh about it and went on our merry way; taking the path which skirts around the side of Carnedd Llewelyn back to Bwlch Cyfryw-drum ridge. It is a straight forward walk from here up onto Carnedd Dafydd but along the way we were treated with some fantastic views down into the valley which the Afon Llafar flows, this really is a beautiful valley and one which is rarely visited, it also has some good scrambles up onto the Carneddau.
First one chalked off - Carnedd Llewelyn
Dafydd summit checkpoint was very busy nevertheless we were greeted with Jaffa cakes, which is never a bad thing. We continued onto Pen yr Ole Wen which again was a straight forward walk and in no time at we had 4 peaks down 4 to go. We timed the descent of Pen yr Ole Wen down to Ogwen cottage perfectly as we had the rescue team member responsible for videoing the day in front taking numerous videos of us coming down this steep face….. Thankfully no embarrassing falls or trips and a text book descent was hopefully captured, although I have not seen the footage yet so I reserve the right to change the “text book descent” comment
David, Paul & Gary approaching Carnedd Dafydd checkpoint
Carnedd Llewelyn poking out the mist from Dafydd

The descent down to Ogwen cottage from Pen yr Ole Wen
Eventually arriving at Ogwen cottage brew hut at 12:00 and hour ahead of the cut off time, we topped up on water and enjoyed a warm vegetable soup which was kindly provided for all the participants. Next was the bit I was dreading, the ascent up onto the Glyders. Not that it is difficult it is just after walking across the Carneddau to then head back up to 3,000 feet I knew the legs would be hurting however I don’t know what they put in that soup but I felt really good heading up Y Garn and made pretty good progress all the way to the checkpoint, When we got there and said our team name again we had the comments we thought you would struggling, so after much laughter we set off to Llyn y Cwn which was the final cut off point, we needed to be here before 3:00pm and again we arrived with over an hour to spare. This is where we lost one of our team members unfortunately David knees where now starting to hurt and he decided to call it a day. Naturally disappointed that he could not go on he can hold his head high. To walk up Y Garn after completing the Carneddau section is a massive achievement. Also Y Garn was a first for him so another positive to take from it. Well done David and don’t be too disappointed.

Y Garn Next

Paul Halfway up Y Garn

Nearly there

View down the Ogwen Valley from Y Garn
Sadly leaving David behind we headed up onto Glyder Fawr, this ascent was draining on the legs as it was over steep loose terrain, after searching around the summit of Glyder Fawr for a few minutes we eventually realised that the next checkpoint was actually at the foot of Castell y Gwynt D’oh!! So we continued on across the lunar landscape to locate it. After the checkpoint we bounded up the large boulders to the Cantilever stone on Glyder Fach by chance we arrived at the same time as another team and we swapped taking team photos for each other. We could now clearly see our final summit of the day, Tryfan.

Heading up Glyder Fawr looking back to Y Garn and Llyn y Cwn

Glyder Fawr - Nearly there

Team photo before heading up Castell y Gwynt not looking so happy and jolly now!! (we are actually team 6 checkpoint card upside down)

Looking back to Castell y Gwynt

Team Photo on the Cantilever stone
We descended down to Bwlch Tryfan via the steep and loose track which runs alongside Bristly Ridge. The penultimate checkpoint was situated in the col and it was at this point that Gary decided he was not going to come up Tryfan. Again although not making the final summit Gary can also hold his head high, As he completed the whole route with the only exception being the final up and down of Tryfan. So Myself, Mitch, Richard & Paul headed up. It was a really enjoyable scramble up onto the top and I surprisingly felt fresh in the legs, after a quick view of Adam & Eve we punched our card and headed back down to Bwlch Tryfan to meet up with Gary who was resting his aching knees.

Tryfan - Leap of faith
The journey back to the Rescue Base was straight forward along a well-defined path however something must have clicked psychologically as once I had chalked off the last peak I could feel my legs getting weary and I stumbled on a few loose stones heading back. This was the only point that I actually felt really tired during the whole route. A quick talk to myself (in my head) I re focused. When we reached the campsite I dumped my rucksack in my tent and changed to a fresh clean top before heading over to the base to complete the challenge, with a team finishing time of 11 hours 3 mins.
Nearly finish - heading back down to the base.

We also had a great evening with a hog roast and local ale on tap. Prizes where given out to the winning team who managed to get round in a superb time of 5 hours 13 mins, hats off to you that is going some. Anyway I can see my Oggie Pasties team coming back next year to better our time.


  1. Well done to you and the team. It looks like you had excellent weather and had time to take some fine photographs. Nice area.

  2. Thanks Gibson, weather was superb. We did not rush so plenty of time to take some photos and enjoy it.

  3. Phew, makes me tired thinking about it. Well done and a great report!.
    There are two routes I've never tried in that circuit: the very steep ascent (descent in your case) of Pen yr Ole Wen and the direct ascent of Y Garn from the valley. Either one would make my legs hurt these days.

    1. Thanks Geoff, The Pen yr Ole Wen route is tough in ascent however it is better than the descent, which is a killer on the knees and leg muscles. If you do ever descend it keep to the left as that is the easier route down. The route up Y Garn I really like done it a few times now.

      It really was a great day out and one which we all enjoyed, we also mangaed to raise over £300 for the MRT. A great cause.

  4. Just stumbled across your blog whilst route planning. Really nice to see real people with a passion for outdoors much like myself. Nice photos. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comment Luke. Yeah I do like to get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as I can. In fact I'm back in Snowdonia this weekend.