9 June 2010

family climb up Snowdon for my brother Fraser's 50th

when I heard my brother Fraser was musing about climbing Snowdon, Wales to celebrate his big five-O, we jumped at the chance to join him.

And so did the remainder of our close family when they realised it was a flyer, save my twin Jackie, who's just started a new job unfortunately.
Tony and I have had several discussions about completing this walk but they've come to nothing.

So, our base is to be the delightful village of Betwy-y-Coed, Tony and I are in the local pub with accommodation in room 9a with a four poster bed, we push the boat out a little, called the Ty Gwyn, and everyone else is at the far side of town in a smashing self catering house together.

So, we're up at 5am on Saturday, the day of the walk, and we drive to Wales to begin.
Our timing is perfect, dropping our bags off, and heading out at 10am to meet up with the family party, who are raring to go at the foot of the mountain.

Mixed ability of walkers, 3 children & 8 adults has our choosing one of the popular ways up, the Miners track, once used by the copper miners of the area.
Ambling at first, so our party keeps together well, and we're walking and talking, resting to pick up the slower ones.

Then the track eases upwards, and the gentle incline means we progress at different levels.  No worries, our mobiles keep us in contact.

My brother Fraser seated in red & white and Julie his wife, with Tony 

And by no design, Tony and I lead the kiddies up, as we are at the front of the pack.  Turns out it's better that way, as there are no ifs or buts or negotiations.

This is where we explain to my nieces Lauren (10) Abby (12) & my nephew Jack (13 in 2 weeks) there is only one way, and that's up!

 our destination in the distance, it's not as far as it may look

An hour later, we have made the zig-zag intimidating ascent, and are upon the last leg of the walk up

Tony in blue and Lauren drinking water

Abby and Lauren, don't they look pleased with themselves

We see my BIL Chris on the track and he catches us up, in blue with Tony

and this is the ridge up to the summit, I've taken a panorama of the view we have, it's beautifully clear

And we make it to the top for a small selection of sandwiches and water as we wait for others
I can't believe it, there's a cafe and facilities at the top, I've never had that before.

My brother Fraser and the SIL Julie are next.  

And that's it, we text, and are meeting the others on the way back down the slopes.
That's a blow, they've got the snap.

Not long before we are all reunited

and we all work our way back down at our own paces.  Tony stays with the children way ahead, and I stay with the last of us, up the rear

My sister Karon in blue, and my niece Samantha in red

My niece Samantha, me with my sister Karon taking holiday photos

My sister Jane, chatting

and after 7-ish, we are in the Swallow for one birthday drink to celebrate

Tony and Jane - cheers Jane!

Our walking party complete, don't we look pleased with ourselves, far left to right

Tony, Jane, Fraser, Abby, Jack, Julie, Samantha, Karon, Chris, me & Lauren


Lucinda said...

Hi Gill

That all sounds and looks really lovely and a wonderful thing to do with your family. Well done to all of you and especially the youngest members for persevering and achieving it.

Thanks for sharing.

Debs @ DKC said...

Glad you had a great time. Happy 50th birthday to Fraser.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

What a fabulous family outing, Gill! Thanks for all the photos - the view was breathtaking!

Gill the Painter said...

Good morning Lucinda Debs and Celia

It was a lovely day, thank you. We don't often get together as a family, but when we do, we like to put a bit of effort into it.

Next 50th coming is Karon.

Joanna said...

I started up that mountain once when I was 14 and didn't get anywhere near the top! I know what a big climb it is, oh yes.

So WELL DONE ALL OF YOU!!!!! In the malvern hills there is a cafe at the top too (in case you are ever over there) but that is a doddle compared to Snowdon. x Jo

Gill the Painter said...

We walk in the Malverns.
There's a few ice cream vans dotted along the landscape, so you can finish off your walk with a cider lolly.


Choclette said...

What a fantastic thing to do for a birthday and well done. Looks like you had a lovely time. I've never been to Snowden, but CT had a friend whose job was to walk up Snowden everyday to take the rainfall measure - I think he might have been a little fitter than me!

Joanna said...

No cafe any more in the Malverns? Maybe I dreamt it. My hill walking 'career' is littered with sliding down scree slopes in the late district, screaming and falling over in the bracken. I usually moan continuously on the way up and then again on the way down. Avoid.

Gill the Painter said...

Hi Choclette, yep, that'd keep you fitter than a butcher's dog.

There's probably a cafe in the Malverns still, Joanna. I've just don't seen it yet.

Lush said...

I've enjoyed reading this Gilly - it's brought back some colourfull memories for me!

When I first met His Lushlyness he was an avid climber/hiker, his stamping ground was The Lake District most weekends, so when we met he had to resort to being a hiker (but I did do Striding Edge...!):-> Lol - It must have been love!

Anyhow, we managed to get two thirds of the way up Snowdon - we could see the summit but it was starting to get dark and we had to make our way back down. I can't believe the risks we took back then - we had no route planned out - just stopped the car, got out and started - I do remember it being very difficult though!

Close to that range is THE eeriest place I've ever been called The Devil's Kitchen (suddenly realised how apt that is now!)
The mist literally wasn't there one minute and suddenly we were in the thick of it - it was seeping in at full force through this crack in the range, and surrounded us totally - it was terrifying - I couldn't see my hands let alone my feet!
You have to be really young to take those kind of risks - but I wouldn't have missed it !

I also have good memories of Betws-Y-Coed, we stayed at the local pub and every night the blokes in the bar burst into spontaneous song - all perfect natural harmony - talk about making the hairs on the back of our necks stand up!

Gill the Painter said...

Striding Edge.
That brings back memories for me too, Lushly.

Scary stuff the elements isn't it.
It's surprising how soon it engulfs you - in a heartbeat.

I didn't hear any singing on our stay, but I was overwhelmed at how friendly everyone was.

Lush said...

I was on all fours at the finnish of Striding Edge Gill - the sheer drop either side to the tarn below, coupled with plaques every few feet dedicated to climbers who had fallen to their deaths at various times had that effect on me!

We got caught in a really bad snow blizzard half way down Kirkstone Pass one time too - after a day's walking I was exhausted and it had already gone dark, only just managed to keep going until we reached the pub at the bottom where some kind soul with a huge 4x4 drove us back to where we were staying.

I've never really thought about it before, but we always hiked everywhere in the depths of Winter, Himself never considered going in Summer - too many people around for him and he liked a challenge, besides, he was a tough Northern Boy wasn't he.....
Or maybe he was testing me....?

Food for thought....!:-)

Gill the Painter said...

Are you married to a Sean Bean, it's 7 o'clock & my tea's nor on't'able, look-alike then?

We did Helvelyn my birthday before last Lush, but didn't go across striding edge or squirrel pass.

Like His Lushly, we do these walks in February (for my birthday) and it was ice up there.
We saw some nasty falls too, which is enough to make you rethink why you're up there.

It looks as though you passed the test then!

Lush said...

What a lovely way to spend your Birthday Gilly!
All this talk has made me hanker after going back there soon - it's just such a schlep from the south isn't it!

Glad you didn't attempt Striding Edge - wild horses wouldn't get me across it now - I'd have to be helicoptered in.....!

And no....Lol - not a Sean Bean in sight - The Lushly's more of a soft southerner now - and even shaves his head...........:-o !!

Lush said...

Forgot to add that your neice Lauren looks a lot like you in those pics!

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