No pain, no gain…

This year hasn’t been a particularly mountainous one for me, in the literal sense.  As in, I haven’t been out walking and climbing in the mountains much.

In fact, I think my trip to the Glyderau range last Saturday was probably the first one of the year.

The Glyderau, part of Snowdonia, are about the second closest group of mountains to where I live (the Carneddau are closer, and the Snowdon Massif itself is just a little bit further away) and are the ones closest to my heart.  Largely that’s because my first trip into Snowdonia after I moved to Wales (fourteen years ago last week) was to these very mountains.  Also, I find the rugged, rocky, windswept landscape up there particularly beautiful.  I’m fairly sure I’ve been up there on at least five previous occasions, so it’s almost certainly my single most-visited bit of the mountains.

On this trip, we ascended via Bristly Ridge, a scrambling route up from the foot of Tryfan, to the north.  This is classified as a grade 1 scramble (i.e. the easiest grade) although it’s apparently towards the top end of the grading and the particular route we took, up the appropriately named “Sinister Gully”, is one of the more difficult ones.  The scrambling itself is not too bad but the fact that a lot of it is quite exposed and even on a dry, sunny day some of the rocks are quite wet and greasy adds to the fun.

This was my first ascent of Bristly Ridge itself, although on one previous occasion I went up the scree slope just to the left of it (on my way “down” from my first ascent of Tryfan).  After that trip, I wrote a couple of tunes in honour of a friend’s wedding (my friend Phil, with whom I made the trip).  One of them I named “Bristly Ridge” (I think in the mistaken belief that I’d actually been up the ridge itself) and the other was called “I don’t Adam and Eve it” (a reference to the two stones at the top of Tryfan).  I haven’t played either tune for several years, but I have managed to find the manuscript book in which I wrote them down and I hope soon to make a recording of them that I can put online (not that they are particularly great tunes).

Once we got to the top of Bristly Ridge, we checked out the Cantilever (a popular photo spot – though I forgot to take my camera with me on this trip) and the summit of Glyder Fach before scrambling up Castell y Gwynt on our way up to Glyder Fawr.  The clouds came in briefly several times while we were up on the top, although for the most part it was a lovely clear day.

We went back down y Gribin, the next descending ridge along from Bristly Ridge.  This was at least the third time I’ve descended from the Glyderau via this route, although I don’t recall ever having gone up this way.

Interestingly, when I first went to the top of Glyder Fawr its height was listed on the map as 999 meters.  It was resurveyed in 2010, using more accurate (GPS-based) techniques and the height was established as 1001 meters.

It was a lovely day out in one of the most beautiful places I know, with some good friends.  It was also quite a physically (and at times psychologically) demanding walk/climb and I’m still feeling a little stiff and sore almost a week later.  Looking on the bright side, every time I feel an ache in my limbs it reminds me of my exciting mountain adventure.