scribbles tagged ‘Snowdonia’

umbrellas at the ready

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Why I love England #19:  Umbrella’s at the ready
a break in the rain

Within 30 minutes of starting our hike up Tryfan from near the Ogwen cottage  – the rain put in an appearance. No real suprise. For me the suprise was the back and white spotted umbrella that arrived to help keep the rain off.  I had to chuckle.  Surely only the English would take an umbrella as rain protection up a mountain when wearing high tech water repellant, goretex, clothing.

Here we see the happy hikers taking a short rest break in the rain, accompanied by the cheerful umbrella.

Excellent show!

 


3 bits of fabulous banter »

Being there: GOLD highlight

Sunday, August 19th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

The pinacle gold highlight position for our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking goes to:

Gold winner: being there

TryfanBeing completely there, watching where I place my foot, thinking about my balance, taking a deep breath of damp unpolluted air. My mind so totally wrapped up in the here and now that nothing bursts in. The details of work, home ownership, family membership are temporarily lost behind being on a mountain.

Even when I take a break from walking to soak-up the view I am still totally immersed in being on that mountain. The feeling is exquisit and rare. For me it compares to some unpublishable experiences and:

  • racing a Laser in a force 4 gale
  • climbing the technical move on a severe rated climb (highest grade that I managed).
  • excellent sex

This experience achieved ‘4 Smiles’ :)  :)  :)  :) on the Wendy House rating scale -  Ratings explained

 

This highlight alone more than cancels out all the nastiness of the 3 winning downsides:


4 bits of fabulous banter »

Full-on weather: SILVER highlight

Friday, August 17th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

The much awaited silver position for the penultimate highlight of  our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking highlights goes to:
amazing clouds

Silver winner: Full-on weather

We left the Plas Curig Hostel holding a weather forcast of rain, sunshine, thunderstorm and hail.  Hoorah! No half-measures in this August forecast!  A veritable buffet, lots of bite-sized variety chunks.

“Duck for the lightening, avoid the ridge, and for heavens sake  don’t stand in the water!”

Watching the lightening strike against the black clouds on nearby peaks was exquisit. Counting the seconds ’til the thunder struck then shaking with its power.

Walking through one of the most dramatic scenes in the world, laid on just for us.  We walked on through the sunshine towards a rainbow. No camera, film crew, special effects designer involved – just us directly experiencing the full weather experience – live, unmediated. Very sexy.

This experience achieved ‘3 Smiles’ :)  :)  :)  on the Wendy House rating scale -  Ratings explained

This highlight more than cancels out all the nastiness of the 3 winning downsides:

 


2 bits of fabulous banter »

Spongy bog: GOLD downside

Saturday, August 11th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

Tryfan across the bogThe only bog I want to see from now on is white and made of porcelain (anon)

Before karmic predictability brings the awards for the mountain highs I am proud to present the gold winner of our Snowdonia hiking teams’  lowest experience:

Gold winner: spongy bog

The bog and lack of opportunites it ironically supplied for private, midgeless, ‘wild wees’ were the lowest point of our Tryfan hike.

The bog on Tryfan is high up, soon after the relief of summiting. It’s relatively flat open land on a gently curving ridge. See how pretty it looks:

It’s like walking on a sodden sponge

schhhhlllllop….. ….schhhhhlllllup…. ….sccchhhhhhhhhhllllllllop

There were times when I wanted to use both of my hands to pull my foot out from its last step. Thank goodness for waterproof, tightly tied-on boots. One walker demonstrated that his 6ft pole was easily swallowed by the bog, just a few feet away from our trail.  That depth of water could easily submerge everyone of our party. We cautiously stayed on-trail, behind our guide. Hmmmm….   …..nice firm looking bottom ahead…..

All this water and nowhere to pee in privacy, not a pert little boulder or little rise to sneak behind. The sound of schlurping water taunted our middle-aged bladders. 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour on the bog….  it just goes on and on and on….

The bog broke our spirits as surely as chinese water torture.

This experience achieved ‘3 Frowns’  :(  :(  :(  on the Wendy House rating scale -  Ratings explained


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Swarming midges: SILVER downside

Thursday, August 9th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

Welcome to the 2nd in a mini series of  mountainous, yet not Olympian, awards for our teams’ Snowdonia hiking experiences. In the tradition of reverse-order announcements we’re first going through the downsides, then we’ll celebrate the upsides.  2nd place for the downsides goes to…

a break in the bogSilver winner: swarming midges

Single handedly I saved the lives of about 100 midges by providing essential blood supplies from my face, neck and ears. More generous hikers got their arms, cleavages and backsides out for the banquet.

These midges curtailed all of our rest breaks.  Our lunch stop lasted less than 10 minutes.  It takes about 10 minutes for a few stray midges to gather a swarm and target us.  While we kept moving we just walked into stray midges,  lone biters. So generally we just kept moving and I was left popping peanuts to make up my lunch.

How do such large swarms of midges survive on the top of this mountain? Midge food in the form of other hikers and the sheep were both few and far between – so what do they eat when mammals aren’t about?  Are they canabalistic?

We saw quite a few happy bog frogs.  Frogs eat insects. Midges are insects. Those frogs really do need to up their gameplan, be much more active….

EAT more MIDGES!

 This experience achieved ‘2 Frowns’   :(  :(  on the Wendy House rating scale -  Ratings explained


4 bits of fabulous banter »

Scree scrambling: BRONZE downside

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

I am honoured to present you with the mountainous, yet not Olympian, awards for our teams’ recent Snowdonia hiking downsides. The lows of the experience. These downsides played an essential role in making the highs, the upsides, so much more intense and pleasurable. 3rd place for the downsides goes to….

Up to the saddle

Bronze winner: Scree scrambling

No-one told me we’d be scrambling, we’d have to use our HANDS

The scramble was an unexpected, unpleasant, suprise for those with immaculately mannicured nails.

There were mumbles of being mislead and longing looks back. But no-one mentioned turning back.  Going forward meant that we all had to scramble.

For unmanicured, short-nailed, me – traversing the slippy slate was actually fun. A tad exciting!

Like a prince charming, one young guide took his cheeky disposition downhill to catch any slippers. Some of the girls considered deliberately Miss footing, but no-one was prepared to lose face in order to win a hand up.

 

This experience achieved ‘One Frown’ :(  on the Wendy House rating scale -  Ratings explained


4 bits of fabulous banter »