In April 2004 Tony, Spanna, Sean and Cassie went to North Wales for training. Tony and Spanna went ahead and spent a few days before Sean and I arrived on Tuesday 13th. The next day we talked about Navigation Techniques before setting off. Spanna, Sean and I played a game where one person chooses a destination on the map, the second person finds the way there and the third isn’t told the destination but works it out by following the route on his/her map. We took each role in turns making our way up to the Ridgeway path of Creigiau Malwod. At the top the wind picked up and the mist closed in so we decided not to walk the ridge to Yr Elen but made our way down past the small lake which brought back vivid memories of my first Craggers trip to Wales when we sheltered there in February 2001. That was a cold wet day and I wasn’t well prepared! Good to think back and realise how much I have learned and recognise how much more confidant I am out in the hills now.
On Thursday the weather was not good so we spent the morning in the Bell Tent looking at Belay Techniques and other rope work including frequently used knots. We looked at the criteria for the ML and then made a rope stretcher. Making the stretcher took a long time and is also very uncomfortable for the patient. Although this is something you are required to know Tony offered some more practical and comfortable alternatives using survival bags and walking poles.
Tony had injured his back and was in a lot of pain, which was not helped by having to crawl in and out of the bell tent. It was great to have a large tent space for training and social evenings but this was not the right tent. It nearly blew away twice and I was really cold and had to sleep in a bivi bag. It is a summer design and possibly not very well made, as bell tents are usually very sturdy.
That afternoon we went to the pub, as the rain was pretty steady. The next day Sean, Spanna and myself set off for Crib Goch. It was Sean’s first scramble and mine. We agreed contact details with Tony so that he would know if we got into trouble. I had a great time and was also very scared. I had no idea it would be so exposed or drop away either side quite as dramatically. Unfortunately it rained lightly all day so we couldn’t see anything much except slightly spooky mist and huge crow like birds. Very Lord of the Rings. The slippery rain was a bit unnerving for me and my rucksack made my particular way of crawling most uncomfortable! I was very very slow because I was scared although later that translated into exhilaration and I was soon looking forward to more scrambling. I went to Wales in the summer with my Son and we did Tryfan North Ridge, which was really fun.
Because my, and to a lesser extent Sean’s, slow progress it took us 6 hours to complete the scramble and get back down the Pyg Track. Tony laughed when we got back; we had set an all time slow record. Great trip but as always too short. Hope to come back next year …