The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 30 March 2009

Carneddau Quickie - Part 3

With tea drunk it was as a party of four that we left the bothy. Our timing was impeccable: the sun that had briefly broken through whilst we were indoors was once again covered by cloud and soon hail was in the air again.

We had not gone far before Alan and Robin decided to cross over to the other side of the valley and take a direct route back towards parking area, from where they would head over to Capel Curig. Given that we had only walked 2.5 miles from the parking area on Friday, I was after something of a longer walk on Saturday, and walking back towards the car so early in the day didn’t seem like it would achieve that. So, goodbyes were said as, in the absence of any advanced route planning, we chose a hill at random (small hill that is; in fact, more of a lump on the ridge really; we were avoiding the bigger tops on the basis of the wind strength and the lack of visibility) and set off to walk up it.

It was not only good TGOC training, but also a good test of the waterproofness of my new new boots (must blog separately about the problem that led to the replacement if my shiny new boots), as we yomped across country over tussocks and through bogs, steadily making our way up onto a ridge.

Our day continued on the same theme as each time we reached our next objective we picked another within our sight and set off towards it. As is Mick’s tendency, he did at one point pick out our next objective, only then to veer off in a different direction. Sometimes in such a situation I question why he’s heading in a different direction to the one he’d just indicated and sometimes I don’t. This time I didn’t and just trailed on behind (oh, I miss being fit!) and it wasn’t until we reached two rocky outcrops that he explained that he thought they looked more interesting than the lump for which we were heading – he just failed to communicate the change of plan to me!

Being blown around on top of our fourth lump of the day I dug the anemometer back out of my pack. Fifty miles per hour was the answer. There was something of a windchill accompanying it too, so we didn’t hang around too long, but found a bit of shelter before tucking into the snack-bar supplies.

It didn’t take us too long to run out of lumps along the ridge, so we took advantage of the good visibility down low (actually, by this point the higher tops were often out of the cloud too, but we weren’t moved to retrace our steps back along the ridge towards them) to come up with a vague plan as to how we were going to get back to the car.

The plan was easily executed, albeit with quite a lot of prickling when we had to wade through overgrown gorse along one (significant) length of path. I was thankful to be wearing Paramo; I hate to think of all the tiny pin-pricks of holes that may have resulted in GoreTex.

The temporary fine spell we had been enjoying waned as we rounded a spur on the other side of the valley. Suddenly it was cold again and the clouds were threatening to throw more hail at us. Then, before we knew it we were back on the track we had followed on our outward journey, from where it was just a hop, skip and a jump back to the car.

It was only 1pm, so it hadn’t been quite as long a walk as I had been after, but in terms of quality it was right up there. Not only had we tackled a good variety of terrain, but the lumps that we visited were perfectly lovely – and no doubt overlooked (no pun intended!) by the majority as they make a bee-line for the bigger tops.

Having unnecessarily carried lunch with us, a picnic was had before we set back in the direction of home and whilst Mick did the driving I did a bit of catching up on my sleep. Home was reached almost exactly 26 hours after we had left – so as trips go it really was a flying one, but a good one all the same. We’re planning something equally brief for next weekend, albeit it will be closer to home, so less time will be spent driving and (hopefully) more walking.

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