I headed over to Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon on Saturday with some Marsden mates and my son (also a mate). I knew them all but (stick with me) they didn’t all know each other before the walk. I forget how a big a village / small town Marsden is.
Five of the guys hadn’t walked up Snowdon before so there was a nice sense of excitement. I’ve been on a few ‘Snowdon in the Snow’ trips over the last 4 years, always sociable fun and a good day’s walk. But being in January or early Feb, they had all been susceptible to poor weather. In fact, last year saw four of us battle a blizzard and turn back (sensibly) just before the Clogwyn Coch area.
So this year’s trip, falling as it did in the third week of March, could have brought clear skies and amazing vistas.‘Could have’. We actually had low cloud and gale force winds the whole time. But the weather wasn’t so appalling that it deterred us from getting to the summit. We had all the right kit to keep warm. And three of us had ice axes as well as spikes as the Llanberis mountain rescue website had suggested. They weren’t needed but you don’t know that until you get high up, so ‘better safe..’ etc. I was (as always ) amazed to see folk in trainers and jeans heading up. And one guy in a sweatshirt with a transparent poncho (free from a theme park I guess). Hopefully they weren’t all intent on getting to the top (which was freezing in the strong wind and saturated cloud).
Here are some photos (all from the phone and some through the weather proof case I have, so a bit grainy).
After some food we made a hasty exit off of a very cold summit. I’d grabbed a photo for Tony of his first trek up Snowdon – I couldn’t actually stand up to take it, the wind was being pretty pugnacious at that point.
Speaking of pugnacious: as we got back down to the Halfway House cafe I took a couple more photos of some of the guys enjoying a mission accomplished. Photos instigated by me it has to be said. And I wanted one with my son Joe, as it was his birthday at the end of that weekend. I was interrupted / berated by one of the group for keeping them from a coffee at Stefan’s cafe (the Pen-y-Ceunant Tea Rooms) which was down the hill from us. The question barked at me was: didn’t I have enough photos of clouds already? Putting aside these were friends not clouds, we didn’t actually have any plans for the rest of the afternoon and evening (beyond food and beers and hostel).
I’m not getting into what ever issues were behind the cantankerous question – we all have off days, to be fair. But it made me think about this thing of constantly recording all of our experiences. I’m probably worse than most. I know there is a school of thought that says looking at views through a lens (or holding up a phone) somehow negates the ‘natural’, ‘now’ experience. ‘Life streaming’ conflicts with in-the-moment raw (mindful?) connection that we can have with the world around us. I get that, to an extent. But it can also be the opposite for me – I look harder at things in the process of anticipating or composing a shot. And I really value looking back at photos from trips and seeing friends having a great time. Anyway, food for thought but I’m glad I did take the photos albeit the moment with my son was marred by the interruption. Ironically, I was the first through the door at Stefan’s cafe. More ironically, my photos were liked by the curmudgeon on Facebook. Go figure.
We ate that night in The Vaynol Arms in Nant Peris (great pub and excellent food). And then commandeered a side room at the (refurbed) Pen Y Pass hostel for a night of beer and a bit of a music session (friends Mac, Tony and Jeff all being musicians).