Sunday, January 12, 2014

There may be snow on the hills

Driving up the A5 towards the mountains of Snowdonia it was difficult to see whether there was snow on the tops or not. We could see a dusting on some of the higher slopes but anything higher was cloaked in low cloud.

As we scrambled our way up on to the cold and gloomy heights of Pen yr Ole Wen, the ground became littered with snow granules like polystyrene. It wasn't worth hanging around on this inhospitable summit so we headed north east along the ridge towards Carnedd Dafydd.

Just as we arrived we were treated to a few breaks in the cloud giving us teasing glimpses of blue sky and brief 'peek-a boo' from Anglesey. During our lunch break the cloud broke almost completely leaving us in dazzling sunshine with the peaks of Snowdonia revealing themselves one by one.

In spite of the warming sun it was too chilly to stop for long so we headed east for the next peak on the ridge. Carnedd Llewelyn is inhabited by a lone raven that has developed a liking for hill walkers' snacks, especially chocolate biscuits.

Once satisfied, the raven allowed us to leave. We quickly descended along the ridge that leads to a short scramble up Pen yr Helgi Du. From this last peak we cruised down the gentle grassy slopes to the A5 and back to the car with 'Llewelyn the mighty' bathed in the last of the days wintry sunshine.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Winter break and festive frolics

Christmas time is my cue to escape the festive norm get as much fresh air as possible! Christmas Day was spent mountain biking with Chris and Jill around the moors near Darwen in Lancashire. We got all sorts of weather in one day so I was grateful to finish up at their house with mulled wine and a fish supper.

Photo: Chris Bolton
The next day I left sanity behind when I attended the Manchester Canoe Club annual Boxing Day paddle dressed as a Christmas fairy complete with too-too and wand. I'm still trying to work out how I'll ever live that one down!

The embarrassment being to much to bear in my home town, I headed off to Anglesey... right into the teeth of a howling gale! Strong winds and heavy rain pounded the Anglesey Outdoors Centre to the extent that I couldn't sleep for the noise and movement in the building.

Between storms I managed to get out to do some paddling. I joined Liverpool Canoe Club for a pleasant trip along the coast near to Moelfe and Dulas. This was a bright and breezy trip which took in a visit to Ynys Dulas.

A couple of days later I joined John, Aled and Steve on one of their lung busting race training sessions on the Menai Strait. Circuits, sprints and recovery... all rather similar to track sessions with the local running club, only this was in strong tidal flow, and at night!

Finally, I dashed through a whistle stop tour of Llanberis, Brynrefail and Porthmadog before seeing in the New Year with a sizeable dram next to a bonfire on Criccieth beach. Happy New Year!