A quick trip up the little Glyder
At the West Beach cafe in Llandudno, Lucie and I were sat wondering how much more excitement we could reasonably take before sensory overload transformed us into a pair of dribblers. We’d walked the prom, explored the pier, ridden the speed boat and taken a cable car onto the Great Orme which had made me come over a bit queer if the truth be told, I’m not overly keen on heights!
What were we doing in Llandudno you may ask? Well, after a soaking on Snowdon’s south ridge the previous day we opted to hedge our bets, observing the mountains from a dry vantage point and in that respect the Orme served us well. Our day could easily have been completely lost to the fleshpots of that fine Victorian resort and sore of leg as we were it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing but when, from across the bay we observed the cloud lifting to reveal the Carneddau giants there was only one thing on my mind; “Let’s get some grub inside us and leg it to the mountains”!
So, with half a day to spare and ill equipped as we were with nary a map or compass between us (quick, someone call the hill police!) we needed a quick fix and I knew just the thing to rouse my good lady from her candyfloss induced stupor…Eryri’s preeminent grade 1 scramble, Bristly Ridge.
The short but steep path up to Cwm Bochlwyd always hurts but I endure it in good grace for I know my reward is near at hand. I adore that cwm, I really do and it never fails to rejuvenate whether I’m hopelessly tired, hung over or just plain miserable such is its power to heal; it’s a panacea to most if not all of my ills and so it was this day.
The bouncing Czech likes it too so after crossing Bochlwyd stream we found ourselves bounding giddily along with rare vigour, my good self waxing lyrical about a scary gully and spires of perfect rock soaring into the sky, tearing the ragged cloud cover to shreds. The bouncing one just rolled her eyes until to the foot of our ridge we came where she pointed an accusatory finger skywards. “There’s no way up there easier than Vdiff”, her words delivered with a conviction usually reserved for occasions when I really should be doing some domestic chore or other. “Au contraire ma cheri, walk this way and all shall be revealed” I declared in an attempt to sound as exotic to her as she does to me, failing miserably in the process and inspiring more eye rolling accompanied by a barely stifled snigger.
Suitably humiliated I bounded off towards Sinister Gully, or at least what I have mistaken for Sinister Gully for the last umpteen ascents! Apparently, according to Steve Ashton’s book, ‘Sinister’ can be found to the left of the big obvious fissure I have always climbed, our gully has no name but deserves one; until a better suggestion is put forward I propose we call it ‘The Grotbox’.
I’ve always thought The Grotbox was a little bit hard for a grade 1 scramble and laugh if you must but I think there is a wee bit of real rock climbing at about diff halfway up. The foreigner concurred, and not a little rattled saw fit to shun my sage words of advice in an expletive riddled tirade. Well that’s the last time I cast my pearls before swine…ahem!
Anyway, we were soon enjoying the ridge proper and sharing each and every bristle as cloud swirled about us. The somewhat Jurassic atmosphere was augmented by the fact that apart from across the bwlch on Tryfan’s rocky skull there was no one else to be seen. Now then, solitude + spiky rock formations + a camera = Lucie throwing shapes; an equation that meant I had to endure a series of silly poses in improbable places though I draw the line at planking and chastised the poor girl as she threatened to cheapen the good name of Castell y Gwynt. I do put up with a lot but that’s taking the piss!
Then a funny thing did happen. Rather than descend the way she went up, I watched, incredulous as Lucie disappeared down the ‘other’ side of the Castell at the very moment the clag saw fit to envelope us and everything else in the vicinity. As said earlier, I had neither map nor compass; not a problem for me, I know the Glyderau like the back of my hand but Lucie? You can guess the rest!
We were eventually reunited somewhere in-between Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr where I decided to call a halt to the proceedings. We’d had far too much fun for one day, I was getting hungry and as it happens so was Lucie; hungry for more scrambling that is! Being a generous man and all round fantastic fiancé I ushered her off to Y Gribin where we indulged in a little more hands on action to round off what had been a fun and varied day. Next time I think we’ll try Pwllheli!