This blog follows on from the Pillar story! Sorry its a little delayed but I’ve had no time to write. Also, apologies for the photo quality.. A few issues have been had!
…As I had descended from Pillar I could physically feel the anxiety creeping in again. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself! Mountains are usually the best therapy but this time was turning into a real battle. The weather was nice, I have a good job, great friends and family etc etc. All the things that should make you a happy and balanced person, and I just couldn’t get my head straight.. That’s the trouble with this stuff, it doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t got. Its irrational.
As I drove back home I decided I would go to Wales! Maybe that’s where I needed to be.. It was worth a try.
I got home and repacked. I was tired and my back hurt but I had to do something. I wished I was normal and could just call a friend and talk to someone but I always choose to run away and hide on my own..
Soon I was on the M6. My head raced around as usual. Lots of thoughts are about what people must think of me. I worry constantly that people think I am faking my pain (as I get out so much) and that leads to me being very anxious. It’s all very odd. I prayed that as I drove into Snowdonia the “weight” would start to lift. I was soon at The Spar in Betws getting some bits for later. The weather was lovely. I wanted to stop at the Siabod Café but my anxiety wouldn’t allow. I then had to go through the process of where to go. I decided on the Glyders so headed for Ogwen. I parked at the Car Park for Idwal and got out of the car. I fiddled with my pack at the boot and looked up at the mountains.. I shut the boot and got back in the car.. I sat, just staring. I didn’t feel better. I needed to focus but just felt like crying. I turned on the ignition and drove away.. As I reached the junction I again wobbled; half of me just wanted to drive home.. I carried on and thought about the Moelwyns-I’d always wanted to bivvy here. As I approached Bryn Glo I swung into the car park. Siabod? I got out and looked up at it. I have fond memories of this mountain as its where I first met Marc. I have camped on the summit previously but not bivvied. There were plenty of good spots.
This time I set off… this was a positive.
The road up is steep to start.. and then it joins with the quarry track. I would head up the Daear Ddu ridge-it has quite a bit of grade 1 scrambling but most can be avoided as I had my heavy pack!
The sun was hot but nice. There was a warm breeze and the ewes and their little lambs were sheltering in the grass from its heat.
I would collect water from Llyn Y Foel on the way past. My head continued to race around, full of stupid questions and pointless, unhelpful answers!
I thought back to when I was last here. Meeting Marc and Glenn was a massive challenge for me with my mental head! I had never met either of them before. It all sounds a bit crazy as meeting people shouldn’t really be an issue – if it was in a café I couldn’t have done it..Ever! But as we were outside I felt better about it. I also knew Marc had read about my anxiety so he would have an inkling about how I would be feeling..
I tried to busy my head with positive thoughts. The sun beat down on me as I approached the quarry. The flooded closehead is very beautiful. I looked around at the old ruins and tried to picture what it would’ve looked like in the early years. A hive of activity. The water wheel pit is still intact and was fed from a reservoir above the workings; if you look closely from above you can make out the remains of the old dam. I love industrial history. It fascinates me, most of us have a fairly comfortable life. I think of the miners. Being up here in winter. Sleeping 4 to a bed with just a few blankets. The beds in the ‘Barracks’ would be riddled with lice. They literally had the clothes they had worked in all day and a small fire to keep them warm. Incredible, hardy people.
My thoughts turned back to the job in hand.
I was soon overlooking the ridge and the Llyn. From the col the ridge looks intimidating-a crest of spikes and pinnacles rise up to the summit. It always looks impressive. I was hoping with the spell of dry weather I could keep my feet dry as the next section is pretty boggy! I weaved in and out of the marshy ground looking for a flowing water source. The water in the tarn was very stagnant and didn’t look appetising even with the Sawyer! I found a small inlet that was ‘just’ flowing and drew water from here. I take an empty plastic bottle now to decant into the squeeze bag as its difficult to fill them if there is no way of getting the bag vertical!
I was soon 2 kg heavier.. Ugh.. Luckily everything is lighter in summer though I was still using my winter bag and mat as temperatures were due to fall with a clear sky promised and I knew how chilly it was on Pillar!
I was soon on the ridge. I put my poles away for a while as I wanted to stay on the rock as much as possible. I was soon recalling my day with the guys and hard we had made it for ourselves. Today would have to be a bit more sensible as I only had Salomon trainers on and my pack was a lot heavier. The rock was cool to touch where it was shaded from the sunshine and hot in other places. I stopped to take in the view. You could see all the way to Cadair and the Rhinogs with the Arrans beyond. It was a stunning day.
I toiled on upwards in the heat. I had seen no-one at all. I could hear a cuckoo in the distance and the larks were rising and falling in the Spring sky. I was pleased I was out. I knew it would help; even if it was a battle.
I was soon nearing the summit, I had really enjoyed the ridge even though it was hard with a cumbersome pack on. There was one lady on the summit. (and a sunbathing lamb!) We exchanged pleasantries and I set about looking for a spot to sleep. The lady was sitting right where I wanted to bivvy! I sat around and waited as she wrote her postcards! I thought she would never leave! She eventually bid ne a nice night a tootled off! At last. It was nearing 5.30 and I was hungry.
I lay my kit out and got organised. I fired up the Jetboil and made a brew and got my Bla Band prepared. It was nice to be alone. Peace and quiet. My head felt slower and less full of crap. I sucked in the view as I drank my coffee. A couple of guys turned up who were running first aid courses at Plas-Y-Brenin. I took a picture for them. They went and another 2 ran up from PYB! I took some pictures of them which I promised to email (and did-I got a lovely relpy!). After they went I was alone again. I ate my dinner and leaned back as the sky started to turn golden.
It was promising to be a lovely sunset. I was totally chilled, wine in hand and my pain was under control with the tramadol. Ii looked around and saw a couple approaching. I was a little cheesed off that my peace was going to be disturbed… They asked me about the ridge as the lads girlfriend had not been able to do it and they had to walk all the way round! Then another 4 lads approached the summit! They knew the couple that were already here! They all engaged me in conversation! The lads cracked open cider and stella! Oh bugger…how long would they stay for.. The first couple left as they were worried about time and had no head torches. The lads chatted away and then went down to the shelter 50m away. They too soon went shouting goodbyes as they headed off.. At last it was quiet! The sun started to drop. It was a stunner.
As it sank the temperature sank with it. My trusty Patagonia Nano Air was under my new Patagonia Ultralight down jacket and I also had my Ultra light down vest with me. Plus, hat and gloves and a multitude of Buffs! It was feeling nippy but I was toasty warm. I watched the light fade over the Snowdon Massif and wondered if anyone else was out.. I sipped my wine and watched the lights start to come on in the valley’s and out towards the coast. The last people out I could see were walking down the Miners Track on Snowdon; there headtorches bobbed along back to Pen Y Pass. All was dark now and quiet. The temperature felt near freezing and when I looked at my bag it had a sheen of frost on it! I was so glad I had the Western bag and not my MHW!
I decided it was time to turn in and watch the stars. The moon had risen behind me as I watched the sunset and it shone down covering the rocks with a ghostly light. Perfect. Despite my head (and a lot of unexpected company) it had been a good day. My back was looking forward to a rest. I cleaned my teeth and had my usual squaddie wash then at last I was horizontal and gazing skywards at the stars and the moon. A gentle breeze kissed my nose and cheeks and I pulled mu Buff up and snuggled down. I was soon unable to keep my lids open and the last thing I saw was a satellite whizzing past the Plough..
Morning dawned fair and bright. My bag was covered in moisture. The sun was already crowning Snowdon with her warm light. It was magical. I sat up. Brrrrr! It was really chilly! I had to force myself up for some photos and a wee before getting back into bed! I wasn’t ready to get up yet. I slept for another hour then when I woke again the sun was high. The temperature had risen and it felt pleasant in the sunshine. I put my brew on and set about airing my kit. A green theme was emerging!
The views were wonderful. I sat in the sunshine and ate breakfast. My kit was dry in no time and soon I was packing up for the hike back. I would go over the top and back down the other ridge and meet the track I ascended on. There is a bit of scrambling but it’s easy.
Soon I was on my way.
I was thinking as I walked down if I should stay another night… I still didn’t know where I wanted to be!!
I had the urge to be on the North Pennines! I would consider my options on the way down. The views were magnificent and I was pleased I had come. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk down. The cuckoo was back and the Larks. Real sounds of summer. I stopped on the bridge and took some pictures of the Afon Llugwy. It’s a stunning river. I saw a dipper bobbing around on the rocks which was a treat, great little birds 😊
Back to the car and back North!