Well it may not have been a great summer weather wise but in fact & contrary to popular belief we have had a surpisingly good number of days where being on the Hills has not resulted in an obligatory drenching. So here is a quick update of some of the things I’ve been up to, hope they make interesting reading & spur you on.
June kicked off with the Welsh 1,000m race, it’s a bit longer than 1,000m as those in the know will know. I introduced to it the previous year by my mate Fraser who can be relied upon to have his calender even more adrenalin filled than me. I won’t bore you with the full race route as you can find that on the web but this year it was something else as the heavans opened 24 hours before start time & The ogwen valley began to fill up with water to a degree that I haven’t seen in the last couple of years. The race organisers made an at first un-popular decision to alter the route on safety grounds but by the end of the race with people going semi-hyperthermic in the Snowdon Summit Cafe it was clearly a very good decision. As for me over 5 hours of walking/jogging left me shattered but was rewarded by winning a prize in the Over 40’s Walking category.
A few days later Fraser, Neal & I were on our way to a succesful attempt to walk the 95 mile West Highland Way in 4 days, this was hard but had many rewarding moments & I’d recommend it to anyone interested in long distance walks.
Back in North Wales a week later & I was in the inaugaral Coed y Brenin Trail Half Marathon. This was a great but hard course & I have to confess that I was really glad to be heading for the finish line & not back out on the Marathon route for more of the same. Crossing the line it was great to hear my name being called out by Stephen Edwards of Cread as it was Stephen who designed our cafe signage & leaflet.
July arrived with poor weather & The Capel Curig Show being sadly cancelled but every cloud has a silver lining & this one led to the classic Moel Siabod Fell Race HQ being re-located to our cafe, having run it in both the previous two years this was exciting for me & my thanks to Ross for choosing us. Prep. for race day however did not go to plan as I went down with food poisoning (no not from the cafe but from a restaurant in Llandudno) with just two days to go. Race day arrived to reveal a gorgeous sunny day for once & with stomach settled & some energy coming back I decided to give it a go, so glad I did even though I couldn’t match last years time. At the finish & after a dip in the river Gaby & Dorina served Goulash to the runners as they relaxed outside in the sun. A great day, thanks again Ross.
Later in the month I entered & completed The Snowdon International Fell Race for the first time. This is a major event with plenty to do for all the family & good crowds cheering you on. Is a bit of a pity that the trains don’t stop for a bit longer though as the runners & walkers sharing the same path from the top of The Pyg to the summit is a serious accident waiting to happen. Maybe further co-operation by all will solve this although that said it was still a great event to take part in.
July ended with an attempt to do the Welsh 3,000 Challenge in fell run mode rather than the walking one of last year but let me make it clear that it was never going to be a threat to the quite frankly un-believable record set by Colin Donnelly 20 or so years ago. The day started worryingly humid as my mate Bob Postings of ‘Pathfinder’ accompanied me up to the summit of Crib Goch (I make no apologies for liking to be with someone on this airy ridge). As the clock started I left Bob & set off in earnest. Big mistake missing the descent path to Nant Peris led me into what I describe as ‘Death gully’ which took so much out of me that I almost called the whole thing off. Recovered if that is possible on the climb up Elidir Fawr & was feeling pretty good as I reached the car to re-fuel after descending Tryfan. Here I bumped into my climbing mates Georg & John who gave me their usual encouragement to the ‘he must be mad’ as they watched me trot on. With 6 hours gone my target of sub 10 hours looked tight with the 7 Carneddau summits still to go but I made good progress despite the cooling & then wet conditions to achieve 9 Hours & 25 Minutes. Then back tracked over 3 summits as I made my way to the car, sky brightened & relieved to see Dorina walking towards me up the Reservoir Road to save me a painful road walk at the end. Great day, please try it if you are up for a real challenge & if you do why not prepare for it with our Siabod Half Round & Siabod Challenge which I have used as prep for it in both 2011 & 12.
August went quickly & included a week of back to back walks with my brother Ian including some of our lower level Siabod Walks but I suppose the month’s highlight if it can be described as that would be my fall whilst running from Capel to Dolgarrog past Llyn Cowlyn. Lesson learned I hope but after a bit of self doubt & a re-arranged forehead it’s now behind me. My thanks to Bob Postings who patched me up at Dolgarrog & then duely had me scrambling up the gorge & falling into water!
September & the classic Peris Horseshoe soon came around. Last year Mike Blake had grabbed me after I ran the Cnicht race (missed the Cnicht race this year by choosing to spend the day falling on the Carneddau) & persuaded me to try it but I chickened out on race day due to bad weather & not knowing the Glyder Fawr descent. This year was to be different although that said only committed to it on race day itself. Thanks to Kean & Sandra Rowlands who gave me encouragement at the cafe on race day morning & again to Kean for his guidance on the tortuous descent to Pen y Pass. My time of 5 Hours 13 Minutes broke no records but just crept me into the top half which with my recent accident & a field of hardened Fell Runners only was very pleasing for this Johnny come lately to this fantastic sport.
Well hope that wasn’t too long & boring, my next blog will be more about the cafe I promise!