It’s funny how things go sometimes. Of all the occasions I’ve been up Pen yr Ole Wen I’ve always gone up the East Ridge. Of course I have. Why wouldn’t I? The direct ascent from Ogwen is too steep to be a comfortable walk, not steep enough to be a real scramble and everyone I know who’s been foolish enough to do it has come back to me spouting unutterable oaths so naturally I vowed never to tread its evil side. Strange then that in the space of a month I’ve done it twice!
In December I dragged myself up there in the name of adventure and completion. The rocks were covered in verglas and the snow cover was unconsolidated making for an exciting and insecure venture made all the more invigorating by a gale force arctic blast once on the summit. Never again I said!
A couple of weeks later on a perfect blue sky day I decided that Lucie should experience its dubious pleasures too and surprisingly she was in agreement. Unfortunately in the name of honest reportage I am duty bound to divulge that within an hour there were tears and recriminations. Ok, it was hard work but I saw no reason for such a melodramatic exhibition. The air was still and very cold, the mountain deserted and ten feet below us a big ginger fox had arrived on the scene, eyeing us with suspicion before darting headlong down the mountain. How could anyone not be enjoying themselves?
Things improved when onto the summit we crawled; the hard work was over, for a while at least. Onwards to Carnedd Dafydd then where the boss would decide whether or not she wanted to continue on over to Llewelyn which as it happens she did.
It’s a lovely walk along the rim of Cwm Llafar and Lucie seemed to be enjoying it too. Happy days indeed and I would have been jumping for joy were it not for the clear blue sky. It’s not good for photography you see. Worse still, our original plan had been to traverse the Snowdon Horseshoe which come the morning we decided against. Guess what? Over on the Snowdon Massif great dramas were being played out as swirling clouds came hither and thither before being torn to shreds by the sharp peak of Yr Wyddfa; oh how I wished I was there but of course I wasn’t.
Anyhow, I decided that it wasn’t all about photographs and resolved to forget about Snowdon and enjoy the beautiful weather, the like of which I haven’t seen for months in these parts. This enjoyment came easy until the final slog up onto Llewelyn’s balding pate where the recriminations resumed in earnest, “You and your shitty mountains, I’m sick of you” being one of the milder offerings!
As my beloved disappeared into the blue distance I realised that you can’t please everyone all the time and so decided to please myself for the time being and go on a charm offensive later. However, once down in Cwm Ffynnon something happened that made an exercise in damage limitation the last thing on my mind. Oh yes, from the south the clouds did roll in and what wonderful light was it that filled the hoary cwm?
In paroxysms I flew across the bog almost walking on water as I went searching for the perfect composition, quite oblivious to anything or anyone before returning to Lucie who had been waiting patiently on a large boulder. I was a very happy man and Lucie had cheered up a bit too, that is until she discovered that there was two and a half miles of tarmac bashing between us and the car, a mistake I promised both Lucie and myself I wouldn’t make again.
Who was it that said promises are made to be broken? The very next day we went for a great walk up the Rhyd Ddu and down the Snowdon Ranger and guess how that day ended; a tale for another time maybe!