Saturday, 13 August 2011

Welsh 3 Peaks continued....

After a bit of a struggle for a few members of the group, we eventually made the summit of Cadair Idris at around 11:30am. It was surprisingly quiet - just a local family of 3 who had come up from the Minforrdd side, and a swarm of relatively calm wasps. The group shot was ticked off and we took a break on the grass near the summit shelter, enjoying hazy views to Barmouth, The Rhinogs and The Arans.

At this point we decided to split the group into two. Some would retrace the pony path and the more adventurous/idiotic/ignorant among us, would descend the scree slope to Llyn Y Gadair for a dip. I was in the latter group, and somewhere between the the first two adjectives.

Myself and young Naiose literally flew down the scree, with me trying to catch him, but those young Irish limbs had the better of my older Welsh ones. Still, we got to the Llyn first and the other 7 arrived over the next 30 minutes. Cue Yompfest dip time! The water looked inviting but cold...And it was, but not so cold as too force you back out the moment you take the plunge. We all had a short swim and a splash before realising that time was cracking on and we needed to get back to the bus to meet the others.

The next leg on the minibus was excruciating! Harder than any part of the walk. Just keeping your eyes open was so difficult. I sat up front with Nicholls and our driver, and weekend leader, Brian Hayter, talking bollocks to ensure Brian didnt fall asleep at the wheel.

Eventually we reached the Storey Arms and set off on the final short leg to Pen Y Fan. Unlike the first two peaks, and because it was a sunny weekend evening in July, the 'motorway' leading up from the carpark, was very busy.

The walk leader and all round top guy, Brian Hayter.

I think it took between 1½ and 2 hours for the whole group to summit, but we did it! Surrounded by a swarm of small biting insects (midges?) - what is it with swarms of insects and Welsh 3 peak tops?? - we cracked open 3 bottles of Asti Spumante I had brought along for the occasion. Yeah, Asti Spumante! I know how to celebrate, me. A quick formula one style spraying and a group shot, and we were done. Finished in well under 15 hours!

The members of the group had done the challenge in aid of two different charities. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Trust and Ieuan The Lions fund. I was proud to help raise somewhere between £800 and £1000 for Ieuans fund ( - we're still collecting proceeds at time of writing - and we took Ieuans spirit with us to the top of all 3 peaks.

Then, we got off the summit as quick as we could as the midges had become unbearable, and the DEET was in short supply.

All in all, it was a fantastic challenge, in excellent weather, with a great bunch of people.
We arrived back at the carpark and removed shoes and socks to dip our feet in the cold stream. Bliss.
Some of the group opted for an icecream from the van, and a few of us spotted a small board near the van advertising a '30 mile Mountain Trail Challenge' in aid of the Beacons Mountain Rescue on September 17th! Where do I sign......?

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