The Welsh 3000s

......Will have to wait until next year.

28th Nov
11 miles 5,700 feet

Sometimes the weather is just too bad no matter how much you want to do something. The risks are sometimes too great. Today was the first time that I have been thwarted by the weather on a challenge. The Welsh 3000s will have to wait until the summer.

The challenge is simply to set foot on all the 3,000 foot peaks in Wales in one continuous effort. Luckily these all happen to be within 22 miles of each other. The time starts when you set foot on the first summit and ends on the last summit. This can either be Snowdon to Foel-Fras – as we had planned or Foel Fras to Snowdon, traversing the 13 peaks in-between.

Will, Bill and I were kindly driven to Llanberis by Ian. Setting off at a ridiculous hour we arrived at Llanberis to sleet and then snow. I had never been over Crib Goch, but was aware of its exposed ridges. Bill had; and before we got out of the car he was saying it wasn’t going to be safe with our level of kit today. I was hopeful of at least doing some of the route. It had just turned to daylight as Ian joined us up Snowdon. On the way up we decided to scrap the idea of doing the 3000s and go to Snowdon summit then Carnedd Ugain and do the rest of the route that we did a couple of weeks ago down to Llanberis.

Our decision proved to be a good one. We passed 2 hardy mountain bikers pushing there bikes up through the ever deeper snow. As we approached the top of Snowdon we used the railway track as the drifts were quite deep and awkward. The combination of snow on the ground, snow drifts and low cloud made for a very cold hostile environment. Coming off the summit the wind whipped the snow into our eyes. We had ice coated jackets and it was thoroughly unpleasant. I even lost my balaclava on the way up Carnedd Ugain, I was trying to put it on for the first time. Gutted. Thank god we weren’t going to do another 14 of these. It would have been a very long day even if we could have negotiated Crib Goch.

The rest of the route was at a lower level, and by comparison much, much warmer, there was still snow on the ground though. We finished the run, and as is now customary, had a feed in Pete’s eats. Not the day I had imagined but I suppose a true if disappointing adventure.

The PB Snowdon leg in daylight.

15th Novemnber 2209
12 miles 6,200 feet

Ian, Will and I decided to do leg 4 of the Paddy Buckley in preparation for their joint effort in June 2010. We left the car in a lay by at pont caer gors and set off for Craig wen. The weather was decent for November and we made good progress to the next top Yr Aran where we tested two different routes down. I went the longer route out to a wall and dog legged around on very slippery rocks, whilst Will and Ian went the direct route off the top. It was a little amusing to see them struggling down the toughest bit of scrambling on a rocky ridged outcrop. They picked the worst line down possible. But as Will said when you haven’t been that way before it is hard to know, until its too late. Needless to say the long route was best.

On Snowdon the weather closed in at it rained for the next hour or so. We got the line off Canedd Ugain wrong and ended up in some crags that we had to re-ascend to contour back onto the route. Looking at the maps afterwards I realised that we crossed the track that we should have followed oops.

The weather faired up and we finished the run over the smaller hills ending on Moel Ellio and the nice run down to Llanberis. A feed in Petes Eats refuelled us for the Taxi back around to the car.

It was good to do the whole leg in daylight for the first time. All the other times have been either me doing the round (twice, once successful) or supporting a round, all of which are done at night.
We did the leg in 4 hours 15 mins, not bad considering the unscheduled detour.