Monday, February 09, 2015

Sunshine, Snow and Ice, Snowdonia at its best.

Its been over a year since I enjoyed a long day in the hills. With a divine forecast and the mountains painted wintry white I was destined for a day on the Snowdon Horseshoe. Others had spied the excellent conditions and the car park at Pen-y-Pass was almost full by 9am.

The path to the foot of Crib Goch was tricky from the start with compacted snow that had thawed the re-frozen. It was difficult to "look well to each step", because the view along the ridges and down the pass was so intriguing with the swirling mist and changing light.

In places the snow made the going on the ridge a little easier than usual. In others it made things damn scary! We took our time but eventually left the excitement of Crib Goch and Crib y Ddysgl behind us pausing briefly on Carnedd Ugain to take in the views.

We wanted to have lunch on the summit of Snowdon but as we peered across, we wondered if there would be enough room for us amongst all of the others who had the same idea. The carnival atmosphere was reinforced by a bunch of lads celebrating their arrival with bottles of ale.

The descent of the steep southern slopes required careful attention. The warm sunshine was rapidly melting the deep snow covering the gravelly path. The the coast to the west had been largely obscured by low cloud and mist. However, from the summit of Lliwedd, there was beautiful view over Porthmadog and the Dwyryd Estuary to the south.

We followed the final ridge path and left the sunshine behind us with a challenging descent picking our way across snowy ledges and small icy gullies towards the chilly shores of Llyn Llydaw. A broad path lead the way back to Pen-y-Pass. Anti-climax gave way to an overwhelming awareness of sore feet. A great day out!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Cross-country Skiing in the Peak District

Around Manchester the snow came down in fits and starts. At one point the airport was closed until both runways could be cleared of snow.

Trevor and I had planned to do some cross-country skiing near to Mam Tor in the Peak District. At first our plans were in doubt because of mild overnight temperatures. However, it was the freshening northerly winds and roads blocked with drifting snow that provided us with the first challenge.

We eventually parked the car near Mam Tor and set off across the the rolling hills so the South.

Stiles, gates and low walls were often completely buried in snow drifts. This made our journey much easier than expected.

The wind was getting strong enough to take your breath away and regularly whipping up blinding blasts of spindrift. It was whilst we were sheltering beside a wall that we spotted several people with mountain bikes. We said 'hello!' and had a brief chat. They seemed in good spirits but must have been having a very difficult day.