The web site Caledonia Hilltreks details my ascents of the Munros, Corbetts, Grahams and New Donalds. The blog, Scottish Sub 2000 Hills describes my ascents of the Scottish Marilyns below 2000 feet. This blog will detail my ascents of the English, Welsh and Irish Hills.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Northern Carneddau, Wales

Garnedd Uchaf

Garnedd Uchaf and Foel-fras, Carneddau, Wales.
Height – 926 metres and 942 metres.
Map – OS Landranger 115.
Climbed - 3 November 2010. Time taken – 5.75 hours.
Distance – 17 kilometres. Ascent – 850 metres.
Trip Report Details:

The forecast was for another wet and windy day in North Wales so we decided to climb the two Northern Carneddau 3000 feet mountains, starting from the small village of Gerlan, above Bethesda. The roads were quite narrow here but I did find a parking space just beyond the now closed down Spar shop.

On leaving my vehicle we walked up the narrow street called Ciltwillan past several houses and eventually to the road end where we crossed a stile and entered a field containing numerous sheep. They appeared to be gathered here for the tups.  We walked through the sheep and headed uphill crossing a couple of stiles.

This led to the open hillside and an ascent of Gyrn Wigau, where it was raining quite heavily. A short descent was followed by some more climbing to reach a vehicle track which ran below the south side of Drosgl and Berra Bach. This track became quite wet and boggy before a path was followed below Yr Aryg still on the south side. The cloud occasionally broke to give us views of the mountains we had climbed three days earlier, Carnedd Dafyyd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Yr Elen and Foel Grach.

Eventually we reached the rocky summit of Garnedd Uchaf where we stopped in the rain for a coffee break before following a rather wet path towards Foel-fras. A stone dyke was reached but it didn’t afford much shelter from the rain and also now a strong wind. The trig point was reached but there was no value in lingering here so we returned by the outward route stopping on Gyrn Wigau for lunch as the rain had ceased. From here we had views of Bethesda and out to Conway Bay.

Unfortunately the weather was to deteriorate over the next few days so that was the end of our trip to Wales. Another visit will be required to climb the 3000 feet hills of Snowdon.

Photos taken on walk.

Elidir Fawr, Wales.

Elidir Fawr

Elidir Fawr, Wales.
Height – 923 metres. Map – OS Landranger 115.
Climbed - 2 November 2010. Time taken – 5.25 hours.
Distance – 8 kilometres. Ascent – 810 metres.
Trip Report Details.

It was a wet and very windy morning when we drove along the A4086 to Nant Peris, south-east of Llanberis. Parking was quite limited within the village but I did manage to find a space on the main street.

The rain had ceased as we walked along the narrow road to Fron and just before this farm a signposted route took us up the side of a field and to the Afon Dudodyn. The track was reasonable but once we entered Cwm Dudodyn the underfoot conditions were pretty awful. My map showed the path crossing the stream and following the west bank but it wasn’t obvious on the ground. However there was a wet and boggy All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) track on the east side of the stream which we followed until it later disappeared.

Higher up the ground was a bit drier underfoot and we climbed to Bwlch y Brecan where there were views across to Pen yr Ole Wen. Here there was a path, which we followed west, and commenced the ascent of Bwich y Marchlyn looking down to Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir. The views were short lived as it started to rain and the cloud lowered. It was still windy. The path was followed to Elidir Fawr although the last few metres to the summit cairn were over wet and slippery boulders.

There wasn’t much chance of the cloud lifting and as it was very wet and windy we retraced our steps back to Nant Peris. Not long after leaving the summit we passed a group of walkers and a guide. Lower down we emerged from the cloud and the rain stopped.

Photos taken on walk.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Glyders, Wales.

Y Garn

Tryfan, Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr and Y Garn, Wales.
Height – 915 metres, 994 metres, 999 metres and 947 metres.
Map – OS Landranger 115.
Climbed - 1 November 2010. Time taken – 8.25 hours.
Distance – 12 kilometres. Ascent – 1230 metres.
Trip Report Details:

We returned to the A5 and parked midway along Llyn Ogwen in an official car park, which I was surprised to discover, was free. Again we were the first vehicle there although a few minutes later another car arrived.

It was a lovely sunny morning when we crossed the stile over a stone dyke at the back of the car park and climbed steeply on a man made path. As the gradient eased there appeared to be several routes towards Tryfan, which was our first challenge for the day. We selected the route that took us to and across the Nant Bochlwyd. This stream was followed up the west side of the waterfall and onto Llyn Bochlwyd where the adjacent hills were reflected in the water.

The path was followed to Bwich Tryfan where we crossed another stone dyke by a stile. It was a bit cooler here and there was an increase in the amount of cloud which was a bit disappointing. We followed the dyke towards Tryfan but discovered that it was best to be on the west side so re-crossed the dyke by another stile and made an approach to the rocks of Tryfan.

We commenced the ascent of this mountain with a few scrambles but as height was gained we realised that the further west we were the less scrambling was involved and in fact there was some scree paths to follow. Another stone dyke was reached and after a bit more scrambling we arrived on the summit with its two large boulders, Adam and Eve.

Shelter was found for a cup of coffee with views down to the north ridge before retracing our route to Bwich Tryfan, avoiding most of the scrambling. By this time the cloud had covered the top of Glyder Fach. A scree path led up the north ridge and into the cloud.  Rocky outcrops including the Cantilever Stone were passed before a massive area of boulders was reached. On taking advice from a guide, who had just left the summit with his group, we approached from the west side, which was apparently easier, and scrambled over the boulders until the highest point was reached.

The cloud broke briefly to give us a view of the west ridge and of Castell y Gwynt. We descended this ridge and by-passed these rock formations to the south and onto Bwitch y Ddwy-Glyder where a path was followed to the summit of Glyder Fawr. Here it was cold and windy and we sought some shelter for a late lunch. Afterwards we descended steep scree paths to Llyn Cwn. We expected an easy climb to Y Garn but the wind had increased speed again and it was now quite strong with some heavy rain showers.

Once we reached the summit of Y Garn we retraced our steps to Llyn Cwn before making the descent of the Devil’s Kitchen by a well engineered path which still required a lot of care. Eventually we reached Llyn Idwal and followed the path along its east bank before descending to the A5 at Idwal Cottage as dusk fell. It was then a short but wet walk along the side of the A5 back to the car.

Photos taken on walk.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Southern Carneddaus, Wales.

Carnedd Dafydd

Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Yr Elen and Foel Grach, Wales.
Heights – 978 metres, 1044 metres, 1064 metres, 962 metres and 976 metres.
Map – OS Landranger 115.
Climbed - 31 October 2010. Time taken – 9.75 hours.
Distance – 19 kilometres. Ascent – 1350 metres.
Trip Report Details

This was my first adventure to Wales and I was hoping that in six days I would manage to climb the fifteen Welsh Furths, or as some know them the Welsh Munros, mountains over 3000 feet.

The clocks had gone back an hour during the night so we managed an early start. We found our way onto the A5and just east of Llyn Ogwen, parked at the side of the road. There was no other vehicle there so I was bit concerned that parking wasn’t permitted at the edge of the roads in Wales but a chap from Cheshire arrived a few minutes later and parked behind us.

We crossed the road and followed the marked path passed a bungalow and on towards Tay Llyn Ogwen. Just prior to this farm the route was signposted up the side of the burn, Afon Loer. The path was wet and muddy in places and we forded the burn a couple of times. There were views back across Llyn Ogwen to Tryfan but they were short lived as the cloud soon lowered and engulfed us. We followed the path which led to a rocky gully and involved a bit of scrambling. Once above the gully there was an obvious path that took us onto the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen. On this section of the ascent the cloud broke briefly and we had a view of the top of Carnedd Dafydd.

With no views from the summit we descended Pen yr Ole Wen’s north-east ridge where we saw a couple of Brocken Spectres. We were passed by a large group of youths as we climbed to the cairn at Carnedd Fach where we stopped for a coffee break. After this break we headed along the ridge, Cefn Ysgolion Duon, where we saw several Brocken Spectres, although the photos don’t do them justice. Another ridge, Bwich Cyfryw-drum was climbed before we reached the second Furth, Carnedd Llewelyn.

Visibility was poor on this summit so we took a bearing and descended north-west following a path then climbed Yr Elen. I found it difficult to decide which was the summit but once we were satisfied that we had been on all the high points we returned to Carnedd Llewelyn.

The weather hadn’t improved and we headed down Carnedd Llewelyn’s north-east ridge but lost the path and went slightly off course. Once relocated, we climbed to the summit of Foel Grach, the final Furth for the day, as we had insufficient time to continue to the northerly two.

We returned to Carnedd Llewelyn and as we approached the summit for the third time the cloud started to be break up a bit and we spotted some ponies. The south-east ridge was located and we descended Bwich Eryl Farchog with glimpses of the nearby hills as dusk approached. The descent involved a bit of scrambling before following a steep and eroded path to Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir. The path continued along the east side of the Reservoir before joining a tarred access road which led to the A5. In darkness we walked back along the main road where occasionally there were sections of pavement.

Photos taken on walk.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Skiddaw, Lake District.


Skiddaw, Lake District, England.
Height – 931 metres. Map – BMC Lake District.
Climbed - 23 September 2010. Time taken – 8.5 hours.
Distance – 17.5 kilometres. Ascent – 1050 metres.
Trip Report Details:

We were staying in Keswick, so rather than drive to one of the starting points we walked along the old railway line then followed a path which led to Spooney Green Lane. This lane, a ‘Public Bridleway’, led round the west side of Latrigg Hill to the car park at the end of Gale Road.

From here the marked route led to a monument where the path split. The Cumbria Way headed east while we continued north up the west side of the Whit Beck. It was a fair slog up the steep gradient but eased higher up and before we reached a gate. The option here was either to go through the gate and make a direct ascent of Skiddaw or climb the path onto the Little Man. We took the second option.

There had been a couple of brief showers earlier in the day but now the heavens opened and the cloud lowered. We reached the Little Man before descending its north-west ridge to rejoin the route to Skiddaw at Broad End.

The heavy rain eased then ceased just as we approached Skiddaw’s summit cairn, trig point and indicator. We had lunch at the cairn as the cloud began to lift and break up, which allowed us views of Bassenthwaite Lake and Blencathra.

After lunch we returned along the south ridge before descending a scree path to Carside Tarn before making the short climb to Carl Side. This was followed by a long descent of it’s south ridge which was steep and eroded in places and in low cloud which had returned. The path emerged onto the public road beside Millbeck and we walked along the road through Applethwaite and back to Keswick.

Photos taken on walk.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Scafell Pike and Scafell, Lake District.

Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike and Scafell, Lake District, England.
Height 977 and 964 metres. Map – BMC Lake District.
Climbed - 22 September 2010. Time taken – 9.5 hours.
Distance – 19 kilometres. Ascent – 1600 metres.
Trip Report Details:

This was to be the longest and toughest of the three Lake District walks planned as it involved combining the ascents of Scafell and Scafell Pike. The alternative was a ninety mile round trip from our base in Keswick to climb Scafell on its own,

We drove to just north of Seathwaite Farm and, as others had done before, parked on the east verge before walking through the farm and up the east side of the River Derwent to Stockley Bridge. Once across the bridge we followed the path up the side of Styhead Gill and onto Styhead Tarn.

Just before Styhead Pass we headed across to Sprinkling Tarn where we encountered the first rain of the day. From this tarn there was a slight descent before the path climbed to Esk Hause where the showers became a bit more frequent.

At Esk Hause we had some views towards Esk Pike and Ill Crag before continuing our ascent of Scafell Pike. The cloud lowered as we left the path and climbed to the summit of Ill Crag where we had a brief view of the River Esk below. From Ill Crag we took a bearing for Broad Crag and crossed the Scafell Pike path before a slight climb onto this top. At the summit of Broad Crag we had lunch sheltering from the breeze with occasional cloud brakes to give a view of Scafell Pike.

After lunch we returned to the path followed by a slight drop to the col before climbing Scafell Pike’s north-east ridge, which was initially a bit narrow. This led to the summit where a number of folks were hanging around despite the inclement weather. We had already met several people including a few on their descent.

Visibility was pretty poor and a few paths led off the summit. It wasn’t possible to say which one we required so we took a bearing and followed it for a while before we came across a cairned path which descended to Mickledore Ridge and the mountain rescue post.

It was then a steep descent down scree to the point where we expected to locate the path for Fox’s Tarn. Visibility was poor and it had been raining steadily since we left Scafell Pike. We saw the gully with its stream but didn’t imagine it as an ascent route so satisfying ourselves we were at the correct location we took a bearing towards the Tarn and after working our way up some grassy rakes, initially on a faint path, round and over some rocks, we reached a large cairn at the top of the stream.

The next section of the walk involved following eroded paths to the summit of Scafell where it was wet and windy with poor visibility.

We returned to the cairn at the top of the stream where we met a group of walkers, possibly on a course, who were planning on camping lower in the valley. They were surprised that we had managed to navigate our way from Scafell Pike and pointed out the location of Fox’s Tarn which we still couldn’t see for the low cloud.

We decided to descend the stream gully, which was cairned at the top, and the group later followed us although we lost them in the low cloud. The path wasn’t particularly easy as it did involve a bit of scrambling over some large wet boulders and a few were quite slippery.  If the burn was in spate I think our alternative ascent route would be better.

Once back at the foot of the gully we climbed Scafell Pike by the route used earlier that afternoon. Here we stopped for a quick snack before descending to the path at the head of Ruddy Gill. Instead of following the morning’s route we took the path down the east side of Ruddy Gill with all the streams now in spate. Fortunately there was a bridge lower down to facilitate our crossing which would have been impossible otherwise.

The rain had ceased by the time we reached Grains Gill and dusk was falling so we continued across Stockley Bridge and back to the start.

Photos taken on walk.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Helvellyn, Lake District, England.

Helvellyn, Lake District.
Height – 950 metres. Map – BMC Lake District.
Climbed - 21 September 2010. Time taken – 3.5 hours.
Distance – 9 kilometres. Ascent – 985 metres.
Trip Report Details:

This was my first visit to the Lake District and after a morning spent travelling we drove south on the A591 Keswick to Grasmere Road , along the east shore of Lake Thirlmere. At the south end of this lake we parked in the car park beside Wythburn Church at a cost of £4 for four hours. Parking in the Lake District is obviously expensive.

From the north end of the car park we followed a path through the forest, across the ‘Permitted Path’ from Dunmaill Rais to Swirls, and onto the open hillside. The path followed the fence line, which ran along the edge of the forest, then above the south bank of Comb Gill before climbing round the tops of Comb Crag and High Crag.

It was early afternoon so there were a number of folks descending the path as well as few making their ascent. Higher up we left the path and climbed to the summit of Nethermost Pike. The cloud was floating around the summit of Helvellyn but we did manage views of Striding Edge and Grisedale Beck.

A short descent north from Nethermost Pike was followed by an easy climb towards Helvellyn passing a shelter before reaching the cairn perched above the east ridge. A short walk along the edge of the ridge took us to the summit trig point. The cloud broke briefly and allowed views of Red Tarn and Swirral Edge.

The descent was by the return route missing out Nethermost Pike. We made it back to the car park with half an hour to spare before the parking fee expired.