63 miles 28,000 ft
Not long after completing the Bob Graham round, on June 23rd last year, I decided that I wanted to attempt to complete the Paddy Buckley and the Ramsey Round next, and both within 24 hours. So the next target was to be the Paddy Buckley round. After 1 aborted attempt in August last year I steeled myself to organize another attempt.
Road support Wynn with help from Jean Williamson and Bec fawcett
Leg 1 Hebog and Nantlle ridge
Bill Williamson, Leigh Warburton, Neil Shepard
A nervous start saw us go straight down the road and 150 yards past the path that goes up through the forest. Anyway it amused us for a while, until it dawned on us that Iain’s absence (he mistook the day) was going to make the navigation hard work. When we cleared the forest it was as if someone had erased Bryn Banog, the cloud was low down, so quickly Leigh got the map and compass out and started checking our progress with compass bearings. It was difficult but with my reasonable knowledge of the route combined with the compass bearings we made good progress. It however meant we dropped off Banog and ended up too far right on Hebog. Committed to this side we had to ascend it through the crags. It was a steep route but fairly direct and fast. However given the option the grassy ramp to the left would have been our line.
The rest of the leg went well and as the mist cleared a familiar figure appeared on the decent of Trum y Ddysgl. Ian Roberts had run up to join us. I felt fresh here and we were going at a good pace, unfortunately too hot for Ian. So he waved us on. Neil Sheperd also lost a bit of ground and at this point decided no matter how much Wynn encouraged him; he wasn’t going to do the round. At Pont Cae’r-gors I ate some rice pudding as the midges ate me, until Ali fought back with some midge repellant.
Time 3:40 gained 23 minutes
Leg 2 Snowdon
Rob Woodall, Chris Reade, Bill Williamson
As we departed Wynn said “you’ve done your warm up now” and that’s exactly how fresh I felt as we headed off for Craig Wen. The pace was a bit quick for Bill who had been on the previous leg and he waved us on. It felt good knowing that even in the dark and the incessant cloud; I had more confident navigators with me. It was easier, mentally, not to have to worry about going wrong so much. We had a nice distraction when descending Yr Wddfa, some supporters for the 3 peaks yacht race were heading up, this made an unusual sight as we neared midnight on Saturday. It also opened up a new conversation that lasted until Navigation issues took over again.
We had to slow a few times on Carnedd Ugain, and the ridge to Ellio, to check bearings and comically, coming off Carnedd Ugain we ended up having to back track out of what I think was a sheep fold, which had a 4 foot drop off the far side.
The only other incident was when looking for the summit on Foel Gron, I ran into a barbed wire fence support, and gave myself a nice 4 inch cut in my shin as a momento. Other than that things went well. The final part of the descent off Ellio was aided by Yiannis shinning his head torch from the farm, and then guiding us down to the car park.
Whilst greedily eating 2 bacon buns Wynn massaged Voltarol on my left knee, it was aching, like my in growing toe nail, but I new that neither were too serious.
Time 4:43 gained 17 minutes
Leg 3 Glyderau
Yiannis Tridimas, Chris Reade, Duncan Elliot
Chris carried on with Yiannis, Duncan and I through the quarries and as soon as we had negotiated the greasy rocks of the Ellidirs the rain came. By the time we descended Y Garn I was getting cold. I remember Chris mentioning he had a spare top. So now it was time to squeeze it on. Duncan and Chris forced it on; I was certainly snug in a top that was way too small. Duncan decided he had had enough of dropping back and being encouraged by Chris with a “come on boyo”. So he dropped down via The Devils Kitchen vowing to meet us on the next leg.
The rocks on the Glyders were slippery and challenging, but that’s how I thought of it, as just another puzzle to solve, it was made easier by following Yiannis over them. One small mistake on Glyder Fach wasn’t really a problem we still made good progress in tough conditions.
Tryfan was tiring especially descending the steep top section, my toe was hitting the front of my shoe and really throbbing, but the clouds were lifting and with the increased light I felt better. Although we lost time on this section I reminded myself that the hardest sections were done. At llyn Ogwen it was more rice pudding, Voltarol on both knees, a change of socks , and a change of top to one that fit me.
Time 4:25 lost 9 minutes
Leg 4 Carneddau
Alan Duncan, Duncan Eliott, Chris Reade, Ali Welsh, Ali Raw
I still felt fairly strong and knew that if I dug in on the climb up Pen Yr Ole Wen, it would be the last long steep climb. I made good progress and gained some time. Once on the top I felt a bit lethargic, normally this is ground I can cover quickly but I couldn’t get going. Even the clearing skies didn’t spur me on. A toilet break when descending Pen Yr Helgi Du seamed to help though and I felt a bit better.
Alan and Duncan had picked the perfect grassy lines all the way but I still lost a bit of time on this leg, I think it was just a long rough patch. On the descent into Capel Curig I did pick up the pace a bit, just as the rain started and the mist rolled in again. A run down the road dodging cars brought us to the Pinacle Café and the awning made a great shelter, no idea what the customers thought though! At this point Chris thought that ½ a Paddy was enough for 1 day and ended his “ultra support” here. More rice pudding, Volatarol on the knees and my lower back (a product of all the scrambling I think) and some very nice chocolate cake, it’s a shame I could only chew half of it.
Time 3:29 lost 3 minutes
Leg 5 North Moelwyns
Steve Cliff, Sean Bolland, Neil Shepard
Moel Siabod is the last big climb but the angle is quite nice and the ground quite comfortable. It was good to have Neil join me again after the trials of leg 1. But halfway up it started to rain heavily and get windy. So the Rab jacket that was put in the rucksack as a last minute decision was put on, and Sean was glad to have my sodden jacket to wear as an extra layer. By the top of Siabod the hood was up the cuffs were tight and the draw stings pulled to breaking point. Over the coming hour we got a good soaking, but I was snug in my jacket, and Steve was navigating perfect lines so all I had to do was follow him. The flat tussocky parts, that weeks earlier I could run were now so saturated with water that I thought running them was going to take too much out me, so I decided not to risk it and walk the really squelchy bits. The skies started to clear as we approached Ceriig Cochion and it was nice to start feeling warm again. We made steady progress and had a good decent into the Quarry for a welcome rest. A pot of rice pudding and some cake, with a coffee made it a nice break. Neil left us here, and Wayne and Rob joined us.
Time 3:48 Gained 3 minutes
Leg 6 Moelwyns and Cnicht
Steve Cliff, Sean Bolland, Rob Woodall, Wayne Percival
Foel Ddu is a short sharp climb, and I wanted to get it out of the way. I felt strong again, possibly because I was on firm ground again, and pushed on to do it as fast as my reccie. Steve told me to slow down but I new it wasn’t too fast, I felt pretty good. I like the rest of the route over Moel Yr Hydd and then the descent onto the miners track followed by a nice out and back circuit ending on Moelwyn Mawr. The long arcing run to Cnicht was also good fun and we were now bathed in sunshine. The route up Cnicht was a lot easier than I remember from my previous attempt, which isn’t to say that I found it easy. But the top came without the usual battles that I remember from past efforts.
Descending the difficult steep upper slopes of Cnicht was a pleasure knowing that I had 1 hr 47 minutess left to finish in less than 24 hours. Alan Duncan met us on the way down and we all ran down the long track together. Steve had a bit of a fall just before we joined the road. But he dusted himself off and we all negotiated the road section back to Aberglaslyn car park. 23 hours and 12 minutes after leaving I was back. We all had a good chat and some soup and cake whilst bathed in sunshine. It was a great end to a fantastic day in the Welsh hills. Thanks to everyone that helped. You meade it a wonderful day.
Time 3:07 Gained 2 minutes
Total time 23:12