Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Snowdonia Weekend

I spent a great weekend in Snowdonia cycling and walking, I led a group from work on a team building walk up Snowdon this group included many first time mountain walkers and for that reason I chose the Llanberis Path. We stayed in Ben’s Bunkhouse between Nant Peris & Llanberis, hiring the whole place out for the weekend. The weather was very kind to us and I could not have picked a better day for the walk if I had ordered it.

I arrived at the bunkhouse on Friday evening around 6pm, I excitedly rushed around getting changed to go out on the bike doing a there and back again ride up and down the Llanberis Pass, it is such a wonderful road to bike up and down, you really get a sense scale with the Glyderau and Snowdon massif towering above you on either side. When I got back most of the party had arrived and we set off down the road to Llanberis for a meal at Peak restaurant which I have to say was very nice indeed, really is top class grub and very welcoming.

Saturday we woke to clear blue skies we got ready and a few of us went to Petes Eats for Breakfast. Some having the full breakfast, I just had a Sausage sandwich (with brown sauce of course). After, we all re grouped at the train station and set off, the first part of the Llanberis path is a very steep road section and I think quite a few people were now regretting that full breakfast experience. The look of shock on some of the faces said it all “if it is like this all the way, I can’t do it” I reassured them it wasn’t and sure enough the gradient eased when we turned off the road and onto the path.

We made steady progress up to the Halfway Café, where we rested for a few minutes and everyone admired the views. We set off again and after a while the gradient increased again as we headed up to Clogwyn station area but the reward was stunning views across to the Glyderau which just opened up in front of us as we went under the train track. Next a very steep section which we took at a gentle pace with plenty of rests. Again the clear skies presented us with some great views and this helped ease the pain of the incline. When it eased we rounded the corner and the summit was in sight we walked past the pillar marking the Pyg track and joined the queue for the summit. I was expecting it to be busy at the top but the sheer number of people up here totally surprised me. I took the view “hey, at least they are out doing something, so good on them” but it was slightly frustrating trying the wade our way through the throng. We managed to get a group photo at the top and the people who hadn’t been up there before joined the queue for the summit view point and ‘Selfie’. We had many smiling and happy faces having accomplished the goal. I was very pleased for them all especially the ones who hadn’t done anything like this before.

After a while taking in the views and snacking we headed back down retracing our steps, I quickly took one of the group up onto Garnedd Ugain. It started to rain briefly as we past the halfway café and we turned round to see the cloud had come in over the higher ground. We got back to the bunkhouse relaxed looked at each other’s photos and ordered an Indian takeaway.

Sunday everyone went their separate ways, and I took this opportunity to do some more cycling hill climb practice ahead of the Fred Whitton Challenge which I’m doing in two weeks’ time. I did a 44 mile ride out to the coast past Caernarfon Castle and back inland to the mountains through the Village of Nantlle and up the climb of Drws y Coed; I then dropped down into Beddgelert and then the long climb up to Pen y Pass and the exhilarating descent down the Llanberis Pass back to the car. This topped off a great weekend of activities.

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