Or starting the Solstice on Snowden. This is one of those “since it is on the doorstep, I really should check it out” things. Despite having lived in Snowdonia for a few years now (industrial doughnut permitting) I’ve never ventured on to the higher levels before now. With the Solstice pending and what looked like a favourable weather forecast it seemed a good day to change that.
Weather on Wednesday was pretty gorgeous and the forecast for Thursday looked good with a promise that any rain would blow over. The plan was to head up to the summit and await the sunrise on the Solstice.
Our three person team became a two man expedition, but we headed off to Pen y Gwyrd. A hotel there was much beloved of Sir Edmond Hillary and his team while they trained to tackle Everest in 1953. Then it was a brisk walk uphill to Pen y Pass.
We then started on the Pyg Track in the foothills of Crib Goch (not our destination). My friend, Alan, favours the explanation that it is called the PyG track after Pen y Gwyrd. Others suggest it was because they drove pigs over the hills in bygone years, or carried “pyg” a form of pitch tar up to copper miners.
The weather wasn’t bad. A touch windy at points, but those clouds were hanging round a bit more than we would have liked. The route runs parallel to a location where King Arthur is supposed to be resting, pending his recall to duty. We didn’t meet the water monster or the Twylwth Teg (fairies).
At least I don’t think we met any? We weren’t the only people on the mountain. Some folk were heading down, a few bikers went by and there was a competitive event in progress. Still Yr Wyddfa beckoned, but note that cloud above. It was determined to stick there.
Still as we got higher the cloud closed in around us and the grand views vanished from sight. We made the summit, 3,650ft above sea level, around ten and climbed the steps on the cairn.
The cairn has a couple of painted stones “hidden” on it. I found a Mickey Mouse stone which remains on the summit. We followed up with food and coffee and tried to get a few hours kip. It rained a bit and the temperature dropped during the night, but the cloud was a steadfast fixture. Still there come the morning when some ladies from Pwllheli reached the summit.
Catching the sunsrise on this occasion seemed a forlorn hope, so we headed down the Llanberis route. In theory this should be a bit more gentle than the Pyg track but my knee decided to play up a bit. Ouch.
Lower down things brightend up, but walking back to our start point it was still possible to see cloud cover brushing over that summit. Oh well, next time ...