Being diligent is one thing, but as they say – you can’t account for mountain weather.
Let me set the background, Dean and I had set off from Lichfield mid-afternoon on Friday (15th Feb) with intention of camping in Snowdon, sadly my crap car delayed us by an hour and thirty minutes, therefore we reached the parking at Ogwen Lodge at 3.30pm
Getting changed as fast as we could we set off up the Glyders with the intention of clearing the ridge at Y Garn and camping somewhere between Glyder Fach and our target peak.
Sadly, due to our tardy departure, we only made 2700ft (ASL) by 6pm, just shy of the peak ridge.
With night falling, yet a lovely bright moon, we decided to descend slightly and find a spot to camp near Llyn Clyd.
There’s an odd phenomenon in mountain weather where the wind in the lower valley can be stronger than peak wind, I don’t know whether it’s something to do with the wind being channelled by the slope, picking up speed as it descends, I’m sure someone with better knowledge of these things could tell us why it seems stronger, but any way – by the time we’d pitched our tents the wind was blowing and hard.
The forecast from the Mountain Weather Service and the Met Office had given the wind at 22mph with gusts up to 32mph. I’ve walked in 50mph winds and this was definitely more towards that end, this made for a pretty hectic night and a tough sleeping experience, with the walls of my tent blowing in on me when particularly strong gusts came!
You can see an example of the conditions inside the tent here.
I managed about 5 hours between 10pm and 6am.
The morning brought rain and peak mist, not great for photography, although we got some misty shots from the plateau at Llyn Clyd. Around 9am we decided to give up going over Y Garn and onto Glyder Fach due to the amount of mist on the peaks and extremely poor visibility.
With 21kg packs, the descent was slow and arduous, the wind on Saturday remaining an issue.
We passed many hikers coming the other way who must have been bemused to see us carrying these massive packs coming down the mountain at such an early time.
So we never got to do the star photography at night and ending up huddling in our tents away from the elements, which may give the impression the trip was a write-off, but these experiences give you a chance to test your equipment and your own mettle to deal with adversity.
The casualty was one bent tent pole on my MSR tent, Dean’s Hilleberg was uninjured – a far superior tent!
Looking forward to the next trip and, hopefully, some better weather!