I love the mountains – so decided for my 50th birthday to come to Snowdonia with Jen. We’ve been really lucky with the weather – initially the forecast for today (Sunday) was very high winds and lots of rain. Thankfully that hasn’t materialised.
I knew yesterday was going to be good so planned to do a decent long run in the morning. Using the Suunto App I planned out what looked liked a good 10k route – and one that would take me over to Crib Goch. As happened with the route I planned for the Lakes 3 years ago, the dotted green line on the app wasn’t a path. It was anything but, so for the first 3-4K it was open uphill moorland, large tussocks, reed beds, potholes, streams, gorse. Anything and everything to compound the slope and make moving uphill as hard as possible. As a result the run turned into a speed hike. This went on until I hit a path that was being used by walkers. It started at a couple of small waterways and was made up of steps carved into the mountain side. To get to the path involved scrambling up some slate (which was fun). At this point I was struck by this whhoum, whhoum sound above me. Looking up I could see a crow flying overhead. The sound being its wings slowly moving up and down as it lazily moved forwards, something that I haven’t had the pleasure to hear anywhere else I run. Either due to the noise pollution around me or the lack of wildlife flying around. This happened on more than one occasion as I ascended, every time it made me stop and look up. It was incredibly satisfying hearing the wings move in that way and made the run / hike more than worthwhile.
By now I was quickly shifting up the steps / scrambling up the rock. I passed through a group of scouts who were surprised at my speed (which in all honesty didn’t feel that fast). One surprised at me hopping up a rock. I hope that this inspires some of them to move into outdoor running as they get older.
Nearing 6k I was feeling the journey in my legs – but could see what I thought was Crib Goch gleaming in the sunlight. However to get there meant ascending onwards, into the clouds that had covered the peak of Clawdd Coch. BY this point I’d been going for 1h 10 mins and I’d planned on being out for 3 hours at most. I suspected I’d not be getting as far as I wanted.
On I went and became enveloped by the cloud, temperature dropped and the air was heavier with moisture. I was pretty sure I didn’t need my coat on at that point (alongside which my rucksack was making me feel warm). I got to the top of Clawwd Coch and looked at the time, 90 mins passed. At this point I struck up a conversation with a guy on a mountain bike (brilliant and nuts) who had come from over the other side. He talked of it being cloudy, poor visibility and a large queue to the summit. None of which appealed to me, but the summit part slightly confused me. I really wanted to get to Crib Goch, but felt that was at least 30 mins away, leaving me until 2 hours to turn around. I thought this too much so turned.
What I didn’t know, but realised later is that on my map – Garnedd Ugain – is Welsh name for Snowdon and I’d planned a route that l’d took me through and over Snowdon. Not something I’d intended and a good lesson learned as it reinforced what a good base Beddgelert is as a place to explore Snowdon from.
Heading down was a lot more fun than heading up. Whilst not particularly fast I enjoyed skipping down some of the way and able to run down the last 3k, completely different to the way up (at least 15 mins quicker).
Today was wild swimming day – we went for a nice easy walk along the river that runs into the village (originally from Snowdon) until we reached Llyn Dinas. Really peaceful with ambient air and cool water we had a great dip for 3 mins.
Making sure we didn’t get in too close to the mouth of the river it served – which could have seen us pulled down it – it was wonderful. I found myself getting warm whilst still in the water, as opposed to leaving the lake, which was more normal.
The peace and tranquility of the mountains never disappoints.