Sunday, 27 September 2015

Pillar from Gatesgarth

It's a long way to Pillar from Gatesgarth Farm so Pete, Lyn and Bella, Alan and Julie made an early start. There's a climb of about 400m over the pass of Scarth Gap; we made good time but it took us about 2 hours nevertheless to reach the Memorial Bridge over the River Liza in Ennerdale. From the bridge we climbed through the woods into Pillar Cove, under Pillar Rock and up to Robinson's Cairn which stands at the head of the cove at the western end of the High Level Route from Looking Stead. Here we debated whether to venture the Shamrock Traverse or to scramble the NE Ridge above us. The traverse looked wet and uninviting so we opted for the ridge though we took the easier left hand side of it which, though steep and rocky, was interspersed with enough grass to enable us to make our way upwards to the crest avoiding most of the rock. The ridge led onto the broad East shoulder of Pillar at about 850m from where we made our way easily in the afternoon sunshine to the top, about 300m away, having taken 3 hours from the Memorial Bridge; not the easiest way but... as AW himself suggests, undeniably the finest way up the mountain!

After crossing Scarth Gap Alan and Lyn take a breather on the track in Ennerdale above the Memorial Bridge

The Memorial Bridge below with Pillar Rock high above still shrouded in the morning mist.

The Memorial Bridge over the River Liza is the key to the ascent of Pillar from the North.

Pillar Cove with the Rock to the right and Robinson's Cairn in the dip on the horizon.

Robinson's Cairn with Pillar Rock as a dramatic backdrop

Pillar Rock dominates Pillar Cove as Lyn and Julie climb the last few yards to Robinson's Cairn.

While surveying the route from Robinson's Cairn with Alan and Julie, Pete decides to add a layer of clothing as it's getting chilly above 2,000feet

From Robinson's Cairn the views into the head of Ennerdale are spectacular.

Ascending the NE ridge above Robinson's Cairn with Pillar Rock and Ennerdale now far below.

Emerging from the scrambly NE Ridge onto the East shoulder of Pillar high above Pillar Rock.

Spectacular views from the broad East shoulder of Pillar as we head for the summit.

A late lunch at the summit of Pillar 892m  

Pete's trying to get Bella to smile though she's not keen to have her photo taken; Julie and Lyn look pleased though! 

Pete and Bella, Julie and Alan at the summit shelter. It's Alan's 189th Wainwright, only 25 to go now!

The spectacular view from the East Ridge on the way back towards Black Sail Pass. We descended the easy way to cross the River Liza near Black Sail Youth Hostel. The return over Scarth Gap took only an hour and a half so we were back at the car at Gatesgarth Farm eight and a half hours from the start, a hard day but a great day all agreed.  

Friday, 18 September 2015

Carnedd Llewelyn and Foel Grach, Snowdonia

On their first day hiking in Snowdonia last week Pete, Lyn and Bella took the narrow road up to Llyn Eigau from Tal-y-Bont in the Conwy Valley. There's parking above the lake and a track leads across
 the moor and up into the Carneddau.

The mist shrouded the upper slopes of the Carneddau as we approached along the track. The col or Bwlch between Carnedd Llewelyn and Foel Grach came briefly into view.

A wall and fence took over from the track as our guide towards Carnedd Llewelyn but they soon gave out and left us on high  featureless moorland.  

Ahead of us in the mist the land rises then steepens towards our immediate objective, the broad ridge that separates Carnedd Llewelyn from Foel Grach,

Rock formations mark the beginning of the rough NE ridge of Carnedd Llewelyn that leads to the summit.

Here's Pete with the summit cairn of Carnedd Llewelyn 1064m beyond. We descended the NE ridge and navigated in the mist across the broad intervening ridge to Foel Grach 976m about a mile to the north. 

On the descent from Foel Grach the mist cleared and we made out the tops of Pen Llithrig y Wrach and Pen yr Helgi Du across Cwm Egiau to the South

The broad grassy ridge provided a rapid return on good paths to our starting point. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Glyder Fach, Snowdonia last week.

Last Tuesday Lyn Bella and Pete set out early for Glyder Fach 994m from the car park beside Llyn Ogwen. The weather was perfect and held throughout the day. They took the route up to Cwm Bochlwyd and Bwlch Tryfan from where they picked up the Miner's Track across Cwm Tryfan onto the long broad E shoulder of Glyder Fach which they ascended to the summit.

Heading up the path to Llyn Bochlwyd with Llyn Ogwen and Pen Yr Ole Wen beyond.

Llyn Bochlwyd nestles below in Cwm Bochlwyd as the path to Bwlch Tryfan leads upwards. Y Garn and Foel Goch in the distance appear above the rocky ridge of Y Gribbin which leads upwards to the summit plateau of Glyder Fawr. 

The South Ridge of Tryfan from the Miner's Track on the headwall of Cwm Tryfan.

The Miner's Track high above the head of Cwn Tryfan leads from Bwlch Tryfan to the E shoulder of Glyder Fach

Far in the distance on the broad  E shoulder of Glyder Fach nestles Llyn y Caseg-fraith with the bulk of Y Foel Goch rising  beyond.

Llyn and Bella on the summit rocks of Glyder Fach, stripped down for action before scrambling to the top.

Pete and Bella pose with the summit tor of Glyder Fach in the distance.

View W from the summit rock formation of Glyder Fach towards Castell y Gwynt with Glyder Fawr beyond. In the haze on the far horizon is the elegant summit of Snowdon.

The Miner's Track seen in descent from Glyder Fach's E shoulder looking towards Bristly Ridge and Bwlch Tryfan. We made our descent by Cwm Tryfan on the right to the A5 just E of Llyn Ogwen.  

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Wales Yr Elen

On Thursday last week Lyn Pete and Bella set out from the end of the motor road in Gerlan above Bethesda to climb Yr Elen  962m. This is an outlying top on the W.ridge of Carnedd Llewelyn, though classed as one of the "Welsh Threes"nevertheless. It is more often bagged by doing a "runner" from the reigning peak of Carnedd Llewelyn and we thought this might be a possibility when we climbed Llewelyn earlier in the week, however the weather that day was against us and we left Yr Elen for another day.

From Gerlan above Bethesda we walked along a track and on paths that led alongside the Afon Llafar towards Yr Elen looming large ahead.

Yr Elen from the crossing of the Afon Llafar. In wet weather the area between the river and the ridge in the distance is a formidable bog!

Our guidebook warned of bogs and a difficult river crossing; in the event the ground beyond the Afon Llafer was dry and there were stones in the river that offered a dry though uncertain crossing.


Looking SW from the slopes of Yr Elen towards the shapely peak of Carnedd Dafydd with Y Garn in the far distance.

Climbing the W.ridge of Yr Elen was hard work. Here's Lyn plodding upwards towards a rocky turret on the ridge named as Foel Ganol 750m. Bethesda is below and Anglesey in the far distance.


From the rocky turret on Foel Ganol the scree and rock slopes guarding the summit of Yr Elen loom above. 

Carnedd Llewelyn from Yr Elen with the ridge joining the two on the right above the tarn of Ffynnon Caseg. 

Summit rocks of Yr Elen with the reigning peak of Carnedd Llewelyn beyond on the horizon.

Snowdonia, Foel Fras and Carnedd Uchaf.

Pete, Lyn and Bella recently spent a week in Trefriw in the Conwy Valley near Betwsy Coed, a village which is a very handy base for walking in the mountains of Snowdonia. Our aim was to complete the "Welsh Threes", that is the three thousand footers of which there are 15 in all. We had six left to climb and as the weather was in our favour we managed them all. There was an element of a recce too in our trip as the experience we gained over the week will be useful when we come to plan the details of Keswick Rambles' 2016 "Overnighter" which is to be based in Betwsy.

 From the road end beyond Aber Falls the track above the Afon Anafon leads to Llyn Anafon. Far beyond on the horizon is mighty Foel Fras 942m.  

It was rather boggy and hard going as we made our way up onto the ridge above Llyn Anafon.

On the broad grassy ridge between Drum and Foel Fras we found a good path leading towards the summit which was hidden in the mist to the to the SW. 

The mist cleared and the sun appeared though there was a haze preventing us seeing far with any clarity. We made our way slowly up the long tedious SW shoulder of Foel Fras, the going was dry now and towards the top turned quite suddenly into a stony desert. 

Lyn heading across the inhospitable summit rocks for the trig point on Foel Fras 942m.

Pete and Bella pose for Lyn's camera on the summit of Foel Fras

Foel Fras far in the distance as Lyn and Pete head S for the second summit of the day, Garnedd Uchaf 926m.

Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd are far in the hazy distance in this view from the summit cairn of Garnedd Uchaf

Lyn starts her climb up the rocky summit tor of Garnedd Uchaf. In the distance over a kilometre away is the graceful dome of Foel Fras. We retraced our steps over Foel Fras on our way back to our starting point and there met a couple with a new map of the area and were surprised to learn that Garnedd Uchaf has a new name, it's now called Carnedd Gwenllian.