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Sunday, 8 May 2016


I haven't done the complete traverse of the Nantlle Ridge for over 30 years and thought it was about time for another go, if I wait another 30 years I'll be 93 so best get a move on.
The Sherpa: in my part of the country we have the 'Sherpa' Bus service, this circumnavigates its way around the main massif of Snowdon, sort of.
Proper Sherpa's as we all know are small, hardy, tough folk who carry huge loads at a nice steady pace, our Sherpa's are huge 40 seater, rattly, noisy old buses that once plied their trade in some far off flat place like Norfolk where they were quite good, well here they're Norfolk'n good and carry the driver and me, and lots of empty seats, although they do fly along at an alarming pace on our narrow roads putting the fear God into oncoming tourists.
I set off on the ascent of Y Garn (peak 1) at 9.30 and this was going to be the second time in as many weeks on the steep climb, reached the summit at 10.45 without much hassle, but it was bloody hot.


The next summit, Mynydd Drws y Coed (peak 2) is a short 20 minute scramble from Y Garn, the scramble is easy with some spectacular exposure down into the cwm below Clogwyn Marchnad, despite it being a stunning day I still hadn't seen a soul, the humidity was pretty high so the far views were very hazy.
On to the next top which is Trum y Ddysgl (peak 3) a pretty unspectacular lump but does show the way towards Mynydd Tal y mignedd (peak 4) which boasts the 'mother' of all cairns, this huge obelisk dominates the peak and can be seen from miles away. It was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.


From here the descent down Bwlch Dros bern gives spectacular views down Cwm Pennant (reputed to be the most beautiful valley in Wales)  and onwards to the base of the Trwyn y Graig where a much needed rest stop was required plus a swill of water and the ubiquitous banana for some energy.
The slog up to Cwm Silyn (peak 5) was hot and without a breeze was hard work but soon the plateau was reached and fond memories came flooding back of rock climbing on the great slab of Silyn with my mate Bob, we had a very lucky escape here when we were on the top pitch of a route called Kirkus's Direct and a rock came hurtling down the face and hit the rope we were attached to, luckily not straight through but pretty close.


Most people finish the traverse here and don't tend to carry on to the last two summits, I did the same all those years ago but was determined to do a 'whole' traverse
I decided that 'butties' were in order and this flat top was as good as any with plenty of rocky tables to rest on before the final stint.


The summit of Garnedd Goch (peak 6) is reached by an easy amble over the flat plateau but is worth doing in itself with its rocky outcrops adding to the interest, from here the last summit Mynydd Graig Goch (peak 7) looks tantalisingly close, it's not!


It's a long slog between these two summits and although fairly easy it comes at the very end of a fairly strenuous trek. On reaching the top I was amazed to find that someone had erected a 'flag' pole between the rocks, a 20 ft scaffolding pole had been cemented in place and had the tatty remnants of a Welsh flag hanging from it. Why would anybody want to cart a very heavy pole and a huge amount of cement to the top of this peak is beyond me, very weird.



The decent down to Llyn Cwm Dilyn was a knee killer and i was glad to reach the water board track and what was the end of the route, but I still had the bus trip to look forward to.
I met an elderly couple at the end of the lake and got talking and they asked me where I'd come from to which they replied 'esgob annwyl' a very poetic Welsh 'Good Lord' or WTF!
They offered me a lift to the next village as it transpired that they knew my cousin, which meant I wasn't about to kidnap them, and within two minutes a bus arrived, number 1A although not A1 in condition, this was even faster that the first bus this morning and rattled along the new A487 at an alarming pace, the driver informed me and the other passenger, a woman with a small child which was strapped into his push chair as if he was about to be launched into orbit, maybe she was used to the bus journey.
The (very) young driver informed us that there had been a road traffic accident in Caernarfon and it was disrupting his turnaround time and he had to get a move on, I could see what he meant.
The RTA had long been cleared but these days of course it needs 3 police vehicles, a council lorry and a council van and a bloke with a 10 metre tape and some chalk to make sure everything was safe for us to proceed and give them the satisfaction that they could hold the traffic up and close the slip roads off, mind you I was in no rush as my onward 'Sherpa' wasn't for another hour and a half, and no he wasn't coming from the Himalaya either, although it may have been quicker!
So after a 'Tea & Scone' respite and a wander around town, I and three teenage girls in pristine white trainers and ripped white Levi's pushing designer prams with one hand whilst clutching their iPhone 6's in the other boarded the magic bus and headed for home
I arrived home at 5.45 after what seemed an eternal day of over 8 hours covering a total of 8 miles walking and 17 miles by bus, 25 miles in total at an average of approximately 3mph or thereabouts, after sleeping the sleep of the dead I drove a 100 miles to Liverpool in a shade over 2 hours, nuff said.

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