Journeys in the hills and mountains
Having missed the previous trip to Rydal Hall, I was keen to join CUHWC on their visit to Caseg Fraith, a favourite bunkhouse of the club situated at the foot of Tryfan. Setting out on Friday evening from Cambridge I found myself called upon at the last minute to drive the minibus, and the leg from Birmingham to Snowdonia proved rather miserable with heavy rain as we left England for Wales. At this point the weekend did not promise to live up to the optimistic forecast. I nevertheless woke on Saturday morning to a glorious view of Tryfan from the bunkhouse, and immediately set upon repeating the North Ridge, by far my most climbed route in Snowdonia. I joined forces with Elena and we set off up the North Ridge with a group of six. The first part of the walk entailed an enjoyable discussion about the nature of Roman society in Britain in the first half of the first millennium, though talk of history and archaeology quickly subsided as we began some of the more challenging steps of the scramble. We did a good job of staying on the ridge, overtaking several crowds which took the small diversions that frequently branch eastwards from the main ridge.
All was well until we reached the cannon and the usual photography session ensued. Soon after this, however, Elena slipped on a rock and fell. She landed on her head and, like most head injuries, this bled quite a lot. After slapping on several swabs and dressings we bandaged up Elena’s head so that she looked like (and I quote) ‘a cross between an Egyptian mummy and P-Diddy.’ Joe’s group had joined us by this point and I joined him to walk Elena off the peak. At Tryfan’s south col we parted: Joe walked with Elena down to Idwal Cottage, whilst I made for Caseg Fraith to collect the minibus. The only difficulty proved to be finding the minibus key which had, rather sensibly it turned out, been stored in a cutlery drawer. A (relatively) quick trip to Bangor A&E and we were back at the bunkhouse to enjoy an evening of good food and more questionable singing.
On Sunday I set out with Peter and his group to climb Tryfan (again). Our aim this time was to climb to the summit by Little and North Gullies, a simple scramble that I last did several years ago. After reaching Heather Terrace we climbed up to find the gully entrance, though cloud descended and enveloped us, making finding the start of the gully tricky. We set off up what we assumed was the gully, though it did not take us long to come off route in the mist, and we ended up doing something significantly harder. Although I couldn’t pick out the precise line afterwards, I think we began a little too far south, and then strayed south further, emerging above south gully. In the end the scramble was quite enjoyable with a few tricky moves and a couple of airy traverses, though one or two group members would have perhaps preferred that we had stuck to our original route!
Having reached the top of Tryfan we stopped for an early lunch before setting off for Glyder Fach via Bristly Ridge. The route finding on Bristly Ridge is, of course, quite easy and we emerged from the gully to the summit ridge and enjoyed climbing over the pinnacles before emerging on the summit of Glyer Fach. After the customary cantilever stone photos we descended back down to Caseg Fraith and made good time in the minibus back home to Cambridge. All in all, a most interesting and varied weekend.