Stat Counter

Friday, 22 June 2012

Tales of Cadair Idris

looking out from cafe akto in the rain
We had initially gathered our expeditionary forces on the half two Arriva Wales train from Birmingham New Street. The That London brigade (Dawn) had snuck on at Birmingham International in order to fool any Cadair spies that an assault was about to take place.
After a bag of fish and chips and/or chicken and chips in Machynlleth, further Arriva Wales transport was commandeered (for the price of about six quid) to land the initial assault force in the howling gale and slashing monsoon of the Minffordd car park (no overnight parking and no camping by the way)
camp horse stone ant nest swamp midge bog
We lead off up the steep path in unpromising conditions. Actually, the conditions were promising to drown us or blow us off the path, but were we dismayed? Well, , yes, actually, but we pressed on  and once in possession of to lower corrie of the Nant Cadair ,where  we sploshed around for a while getting our socks wet trying to find a relatively sheltered spot for the siege camp. We found such a place behind a rock that looked a bit like a horse from certain angles and a lot like a big rock from all other perspectives. Extra guy lines and more than enough pegs were deployed. A substantial larder, sufficient for an extended stay was laid out and a small library of books and maps was created for the entertainment and education of the troops, to avoid boredom and mutiny.
craig cwm amarch and llyn cau
The wind blew gustily and the rain lashed down. tent doors were zipped up and the cosy confines of sleeping bags were occupied. A period of Atlantic Storm lassitude overcame the party. This lasted from Friday evening till Sunday morning. There was no let up in the resistance put up by the meteorological conditions, until, faced with apparent disdain, witnessed by the scoffing of large quantities of bacon, eggs, sausages, stotties, beef stew with real boiled spuds and peas and carrots and delicious and nourishing selections from the sweet trolly, the storm finally packed it in and went to Norway for it’s holidays where easier pickings than our stout crew were to be had.
alan (blog on the landscape)
Just as the sun came out, Alan turned up. He was fed on some spare sausages and his own barm cakes (Lancastrians aren’t usually allowed to eat stotties in case they develop a taste for them and start demanding their own branches of Greggs.).
alan on mynydd moel
A plan was developed to bag Cadair Idris and some of it’s satellites over the next two days, a feat which often takes hillwalkers just the one day. This plan was deliberately developed just to further demonstrate our relaxed attitude to the business and our willingness to wait, doggedly and with determination any thoughts that the weather might have of chucking another wet spanner in the works.
cadair idris
Walk Number One (also know as Walk A) would not even visit the summit of Cadair Idris itself but would just toy with a couple of outlying summits – those of Gau Graig, a 683 metre lump in the far North-eastern reaches with a cracking view which included Llyn Y Bala and the Aran ridges and Mynydd Moel with it's dramatic rock sceenery.. This involved the unusual and diversionary tactic of starting off downhill to get to the start of the path. dawn walked part of the way but returned to camp to protect it from bacon addicts and the awful hooded  Dolgellau sausage snafflers, a feared gang of breakfast thieves with their dirty clothing stained with the careless spillage of other people’s tomato ketchup.
Me and Alan bagged Gau Graig, and Mynydd Moel, a more pointy and rocky lump a bit to the left. This has some impressive rock scenery. We returned whence we came and dined heartily on potatoes in a cheese and onion sauce and chocolate sponge and custard.
yoof camp llyn cau
Walk Number Two (also known as Walk C (Information on walk B is restricted)) Started off in the unusual direction of uphill and visited the bottomless tarn of Llyn Cau.  Its obviously bottomless because a) You can’t see the bottom and b) there’s more water coming out than going in and c) somebody once said it was bottomless. Its also haunted by yoof groups who leave crap everywhere and burn the grass. Like all yoof groups , these are Not Allowed To Talk to Anybody and everything in their rucksacks is On A List which gets ticked off.  Instructions do not, however, appear to include taking all your wrapping paper home, but do include setting fire to the vegetation and your own clothes (apparently)
dawn at llyn cau
nato air support for our climb up Cwm Amarch
We quickly bagged Craig Cwm Amarch. Dawn went back to guard the campsite from arsonist yoof groups and I had a short adventure on some rocks which almost ended badly. Some jets flew past. there might have been twelve of them or, alternatively, they might have come around more than once.
craig cwm amarch
Mynydd Pencoed was also ticked off before the final assault on Pen y Gadair, a lazy lunch in warm sunshine and a wander along the huuuuuuuge escarpment overlooking Dolgellau. This was all quite, quite fabulous.
llyn y gadair
After descending, we had to resort to dehydrated food since all we had left was a bit of bacon, a potato and some cheese (not counting jelly babies, orange chocolate drops or various types of energy bars and porridge). So I had a “chicken” “risotto” and whatever was left in Alan’s whisky bottle.
On Tuesday, we left. Alan took me and Dawn  almost to Machynlleth, but was preventing from entering the town by the lorry just in front of us which had jammed itself under the railway bridge. This caused havoc in mach for most of the rest of the morning. We breakfasted and tried to find beds, but found none at an attractive price, there being a census ordered by Plaid Cymru and all people had had to return to their home towns. We were offered a place in a stable but refused when we heard that some shepherds and some Wise professors from Aberystwyth University were on their way… or something… so we camped up the Parc, where we’d camped before.
white stonecrop up the parc
It was very nice up the Parc. Lots of wild flowers and nice views and its very quiet and a bit discreet.
My stuff suffered some damage over the trip thus:
Akto – Small pole and line to the main pole punched it’s way out of it’s holder due to being battered by wind. This caused outer and inner tent to meet which caused a significant leak which I had to mop up at 3:00 a.m. (Why is it always 3:00 a.m when stuff happens?)
Akto – hanger for inner tent came adrift and needs sewing back on.
Akto – some splashing of hot oil around the door due to frying inside the porch in the storm. this may be additional waterproofing, I suppose…
Akto – One guy seriously frayed and about to break.
Platypus – delaminated. (age)
Cycling bottle for transport of whisky – Hole in lid cause by thumb whilst pushing it into rucksack
Neck (personal injury) – Big lump seeping with body fluids caused by an attack by an irate ant who objected to me putting my tent on his nest. Other ants were involved in failed tent invasions and some were treated (disgracefully) to hot coffee and/or small flamethrower attacks using a small cigarette lighter. Prolly serves me right, I suppose.
Alan’s version of the trip is on his blog here:
walking out up the parc

I expect Dawn will come up with something at some point, and when she does, I’ll put a link in…

And here it is


Geoff Edwards said...

Nice report, you obviously made the best of some mixed weather.
I agree, DOE groups can be a hazard at this time of year!

John J said...

Splendid stuff!
Did you know you can get your Platy replaced under warranty? they have a life-time guarantee.
I've read Alan's write-up, ust waiting for Dawn's now.
Come on Dawn - shape yerself!

Alan R said...

I thought it was reet grand.

Trevor said...

Well reported...This post made a good read.Nothing like a good mix of weather to keep everyone on their toes....

Dawn said...

The one thing we forgot we forgot was a life raft, A good trip though. Fortunately the sheep where friendly????

chrissiedixie said...

Just goes to show that if you stay in one place long enough, the weather will eventually change...

Laura said...

Glad you're back Mike - now I'll have lots to read (I can manage that with one arm!).....

Mark said...

Wotjermeen? I'll have you know that we can hardly move for Greggs bakeries in the North West. And not just cos we ate all of the 'Lancashire' pasties. They don't do stotties though. They call 'em oven-bottom muffins on this side of the great divide.
Cadair Idris looks very alluring. Must make a note to sit out an Atlantic storm there sometime. I once did much the same thing on MacGillycuddys Reeks. (Sp?)

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks everybody - I've let the comments on this post get away from me a bit, unfortunately.
But it were, in fact, reyt grand and not a poor do at all..
Greggs in Lancashire, though..? Whatever next...

PhilR said...

Good stuff Mike, I miss stotties can't get them down here not even in Greggs, might have to have word the management!!
Cadair is a great place been there many times, and probably many more in the future.

Mike Knipe said...

Phil - Wot? Greggs with nee stotties? I shouldn't stand for that...