Winter walking in the Carneddau
Seven members stayed at a new venue for the club, Caban Cysgu, a converted school in the village of Gerlan above Bethesda in the Ogwen Valley.
The hut manager turned out to be a local mountain leader and gave the unwelcome news that neither crampons nor ice axes were likely to be required over the weekend as there was no snow on the hills. We also found that the hall we were using for cooking and dining would be shared with an Art Class on the next morning but that no problems were anticipated.
Foregoing the Art Class, Mick led off through the village in the morning initially in sunshine but frozen scree on the paths and verglas on boulder fields in the shadow meant a much longer than expected climb up to the summit of Carnedd Dafydd and back into the sun. A biting wind followed the party over to Carnedd Llywelyn and eventually to the welcome shelter of the Foel Grach refuge. From there we picked up a line of stones marking an ancient pathway down to the valley until it became time to don headtorches and descend back to the hut. The usual Gentian three course meal accompanied with beer and wine followed.
A short drive down to Ogwen cottage on Saturday saw Mick take the party up through the Devils Kitchen, fortunately with no verglas, for a first lunch stop in the sun on the lower slopes of Y Garn. Views of the massive bulk of Elidr Fawr followed as we traversed the ridge to reach Carnedd Filiast. The various options for the descent from the end of the ridge were considered but eventually we descended through heather to the working quarry at the end of the ridge and then up to the hut.
The consensus on Sunday was for a shorter outing which encompassed the four foothills to the N of the hut. Despite the cloud on higher peaks there were good views over the Menai Straight. Returning from the derelict trig point on Moel Wnion a shortcut led to another quarry before the easier path back was located. Time then for a final cup of tea before heading home after an excellent extended weekend.
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