Saturday 23 August 2014

North Wales Weekend - Dudley goes 'Carry on Camping' - Day 1, Snowden

After a month of multiple emailings in which every possible permutation of events had been covered in minute detail, including contingency plans,  I got home from work on Friday to a flurry of emails and texts asking when, where, how, and if.
Such a simple plan - drive to North Wales,  and meet up at the camp site,  what could possibly go wrong?
We arrived at the camp site at 10.30pm. It was pitch dark, the site was packed, and we had no phone signal. Enquiries at the gate about dodgy looking people from Dudley Caving Club drew a blank.
After driving round a bit looking for the others we gave up and found a parking space. Suddenly Amy pulled up next to us, followed by Brendan, followed by Chloe! The only one we mislaid was Matt, who we found asleep in his car next morning.
After pitching the tents and a cuppa in the mess tent lent by Ian, we retired to bed,  Mark and I having to slum it in our 4-poster-bedded van.
Next morning Loz and her better half joined us and we all set off to walk from the site up to the summit of Snowden. Half an hour from camp the rain started. We also discovered our route took us across several streams, so by the time we arrived at the Pen Y Pass cafe we were all slightly moist, and Amy was saying "I'd rather have paid the £10 parking fee and driven up!!" Not as much as she wished she had later though...
We didn't actually leave the cafe till about 1pm, suitably fortified, and the rain held off for the rest of the day, which was helpful. We set off up the PYG track and then some of us split off to climb over Crib Goch. Loz and Chloe particularly enjoyed the scramble up and over the knife edge arete - Loz enjoying it so much she was fairly hugging the rock in places - and we arrived at the summit to find Brendan and the others turning a fetching shade of blue in the minus temperatures.
Fortified again in the cafe we set off down the Watkins path towards the campsite,  with promises of on-site pizzas and drinks around the campfire. It was actually quite a long way back to camp. A really, really long way. Chloe, Matt, Loz and Richard sped on ahead, and the rest of us weren't far behind, until a few things happened -
a) the soles of Daniels boots, which had been loose all day, finally turned into flip flops and had to be bound up with tape and bits of cord.
b) it started getting dark
c) we took a short cut back to the camp.
We really don't need to go into details of the muddy track that went on deeper and deeper into the woods, not enough torches, Mark slipping down a bank...suffice to say that by the time we reached the campsite there were no pizzas and the others had been combing the countryside for us! Anyhow, we just managed to catch a Balti house in Llanberis before it shut and finally dropped into bed about 1am.

Present: Jess B., Mark B., Brendan M., Chloe B., Amy S., Daniel, Laura A., Richard, Matt M.

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