Beddgelert – March 2017

Beddgelert: hut good, weather *%#!

For a Leicester regional trip the March 2017 weekend at the excellent LMC ‘Cae Ysgubor’ hut in Beddgelert, – in which RR is a junior partner – had a remarkably ‘National’ feel to it, with members from all over the shop gathering on a rather changeable weekend to try to find some mountains to go up. We had been told there are some quite big ones nearby…

Unfortunately the Welsh weather made the deciding call on what walks were possible and though there was not a whisper of wind and the temperatures were very mild, the recent heavy rain had left the ground very boggy and rocks greasy.

That said, there is no shortage of things to do near the hut and on the Friday afternoon, my stroll up the river to Llyn Dinas was rewarded by the company of a kingfisher as I sat admiring the reflection of the mountains in the lake that was as still as a millpond. Sadly, I’d not got my towel and swim gear with me as the water was warm for March. By the time I returned to the hut the kingfishers were in bed, but the tawny owls were out to play with a chorus of twit-twoo. Inside the hut, there was the equally agreeable sound of a wine cork popping. The drinks were poured, the maps were pored over, and plans for the following day took shape.

Saturday saw the group divide into three with Ralph and Prav hitting the crags and doing a climb called Christmas Curry on Craig Bwlch y Moch at Tremadog. It’s very popular and even with damp conditions there were two groups in front of them at the outset. As both Ralph and Prav were recovering from injury, the route was selected because it had the least amount of walk in.

A small party did a circular route (incorporating part of the Wales coast path) through the Vale of Ffestiniog which ran alongside the historic railway for much of the way. The views were frustratingly brief between breaks in the cloud but snow was clearly still visible on the higher slopes and the estuary was spectacular. What should have been a pretty straight-forward walk required a surprising amount of map-reading as many of the walk markers were hard to see or not obviously positioned. In addition, the wind-print of Storm Doris was still much in evidence and at some stages the only way to weave amid the fallen pines was on hands and knees! Dealing with such adversity is thirsty work and as good fortune would have it, the walk features a pub almost exactly at its midpoint.

The larger group headed up the Nantlle Ridge from Rhyd Ddu but the conditions frustrated every step with so much slipping and sliding that, after a few kilometres, the collective decision was made to abandon the walk and return.

Everyone was suitably revitalised by a large, hearty nut roast dinner with coconut rice for afters and talk turned to Sunday. Unfortunately, a rainy morning was forecast so, once again, the weather ruled out some options. In the event a 6km hike up around the copper mines and returning via the river proved a popular choice. Others relaxed at the hut while I continued to bore with recollections of my childhood holidays at Morfa Bychan as part of a 10km stroll along another section of the Wales coastal path.

Typically, the sun came out more or less as we pulled away from the hut to begin our journeys home but, as the saying goes: “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes” and fortunately we were all sufficiently well-dressed to enjoy our fantastic weekend of comradeship in the Great Outdoors.

Simon Skerritt