Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Welsh 3000

What a perfect send off, we drove past the turning for the Llanberis Pass along the A498 heading towards the Watkin Path car park when what should come on the radio but ‘Eye of the tiger’ by Survivor we all burst out laughing with the timing of the song it couldn’t have been better as we readied ourselves to start our Welsh 3000 challenge.

With 50km and 14,000ft to go we set off heading for Snowdon’s South ridge, it was a great evening for a walk no threat of rain and a nice breeze we passed plenty of people coming down off the mountain coming to the end of their days walk to the top of Wales. Snowdon’s South ridge really is a very enjoyable route up; the summit tip was always shrouded in cloud. As we gained height the views opened up out towards the coast and the Lleyn Peninsula. We passed over the Bwlch Main ridge right on the cusp of the cloud base and immediately after this ridge we set up camp on the few bits of flattish grass around. With the summit only 200m away it was rude not to head up there so we did, and it was well worth it we had the summit to ourselves a rare event these days. It was actually quite eerie up there in the mist with no one around and the building all shut up, still it was nice to have the summit to ourselves and we enjoyed the silence before heading back down to our camp spot.

Morning came and after a spot of breakfast we packed up and set off for a long day at 6:00am to the sound of voices as the summit was already becoming a popular place. As we had already been up to the steps to the trig point the previous night we didn't bother this time and continued past towards Garnedd Ugain.

The next section was the most technical of the whole route and this is where I slow up as I like to make sure of my footing etc. Also my head for heights is not that great, Crib Goch is the limit of my comfort zone. Just as I was gearing myself up for only my second crossing of this knife edge ridge two fell runners came past that were also doing the 3000’s. Luckily we went across early enough to avoid the usual flow of traffic. The descent off Crib Goch down to the Llanberis Pass was steep but waiting for us at the bottom was our support vehicle and some Bacon butties, luxury. 

Elidir Fawr is the only peak of the 3000’s I had not done before so I was looking forward to getting up there, however that anticipation didn’t last long as the long drag up from Nant Peris was soul destroying and one route I will not be rushing back to do in the foreseeable future. After what seemed an eternity we topped out. A quick snack and we pushed on to Y Garn bypassing Foel Goch. Once on Y Garn we stopped for lunch, and were joined by a new friend, a seagull that nervously got closer and closer to us during the rest stop.

Next came the leg sapping climb up the scree slopes of Glyder Fawr which was accompanied by a Sea King Rescue helicopter flying past, once up on the moonscape summit we made our way across to Glyder Fach, it took an age to get up on the summit rocks as we timed it badly as a large group were taking it in turns to each have their photo taken, looking across to the cantilever stone we decided not to bother with that as it was crammed. The decent down to Bwlch Tryfan by the side of Bristly Ridge was steep and lose, my left knee (old football injury) was now starting to feel it; I wasn’t the only one as Ryan was suffering with blisters. Tryfan next I always enjoy the easy scramble up Tryfan from the South and this was no exception even though I was now getting tired. A quick photo by Adam & Eve then yet another steep descent down the side of Tryfan. My knee & Ryan’s blisters were now starting to feel every step. The original plan was to then head up Pen yr Ole Wen and camp out somewhere along the Carneddau, but we decided to call it a day at the car park…. Once we sat down with a nice warm pasty I don’t think any of us where getting back up again. This also gave Ryan time to dress his blisters and for my knee to rest overnight.

Sunday came and we felt refreshed after a good night’s sleep. We set off knowing we only had 7 more peaks to chalk off and once we up on Pen yr Ole Wen the bulk of the days climbing was done. As we ascended we headed further into the clag and once we hit the summit the wind hit us, we were sheltered from it on the south side of the Carneddau but once we were on top it bombarded us all the way along to the last peak, along with visibility of about 50ft there isn’t really much to write about this section other than we chalked off the peaks one at a time, stopped for lunch in the shelter on Foel Grach, then celebrated a fine achievement on the final peak. As we descended from Foel Grach we picked our way down to Llyn Anafon and walked back to our support car parked near Foel Dduarth to be greeted with a sausage roll and a bottle of local ale, Welsh Pride for me and very nice it was too, a very well earned treat.
Ryan did exceptionally well to complete the challenge as his blisters were very painful, there was no way he was giving up though as he did this challenge to raise money for the Stroke Association, which is close to his heart for family reasons, well done mate great determination.


  1. Fantastic effort! Would love to have a crack at this one day. Great pics too...

    1. Thanks for the comment JC, yeah it really is a great challenge. I would fully recommend giving it a go.