Trip Organiser: Barry Tucker
Attendees: Barry, Dan U , Dan S, Sarah, Andy D
The Challenge of the Welsh 3000’s consists of climbing the 15 tallest mountains in Wales, all within 26 miles of each other, with around 3000 metres of accent and to be completed in the fastest time possible.
By the time we embarked on our journey up to Snowdonia we had a strong group of 5 keen, enthusiastic walkers determined to complete the challenge. The biggest barrier to overcome on this sort of walk is the logistics of getting around and getting lifts to and from the start/finish points. Having only two cars at our disposal meant we had limited options and made the planning somewhat easier. So in typical fashion the logistics came together in the car journey up to Wales. Quite relieved to have the plan sorted, Plan A soon had to become Plan B when one of the cars had a flat tyre 5 miles outside of Nant Peris (our home for the weekend). At 10pm on the Friday we sat in the pub talking through plan B meticulously and just in case talking through a Plan C and D. Yes, we finally had it and on Saturday morning we decided to set out at 6am.
We set off to the start full of optimism and hope. Luckily the weather was looking calm for most of the day, but looking dim later in the day, so heading from the car park we headed to the top of Foel-Fras, one of the first seven peaks to be in the Carnedds section of the route. By 12 midday we were on course and reached the half way point with a sense of relief and anticipation for the next half which by all accounts is somewhat harder and with more incline and decent to tackle. The next section would see us go over the Glyders, taking in another 5 summits to total 12 before embarking on the final push up Snowdon for the final 3. Time was slightly against us at this point, though after a well-deserved rest at the Café near Lake Ogwen we ventured back up into the wilderness.
We started to realise that the weather was taking a turn for the worst and we knew the fog was going to make things a little tough. We carried on regardless and tried to make good pace. Things started to look a little bleak as we reached the top of Tryfan, probably the hardest of them all technically, so as we approached the summit of Glyder Fach the fun began! We couldn’t see much more than 10ft in front of us and by this time we had separated into 3 smaller groups, so it all started to look a little daunting and worrying, with time ticking away we slowly came to terms that we may not be able to complete the 15.
One group got lost for about an hour and managed to go back and complete 10 whilst the lucky ones with a GPS managed to carry on and complete all but one of the Glyders section totalling 11 for the day. Elider Fawr proving the elusive mountain that was not within reach. A member of the last group managed to get down to the local pub having had an injury to his ankle and he slowly made his way back to the pub near the campsite. With us all managing 26 miles in approximately 12 hours we all sat in the pub proud of our achievements for the day, but also a little disappointed that we were left in a position where we knew we would not complete the challenge fully. Spirits were soon raised after some home cooked food and a few alcoholic beverages to cheer us up. Onto Plan C then…..
With us all waking with some aches and pains we all began to look forward to capturing the last three and a final summit up Snowdon to meet all the tourists and to have a pie and a coffee in the Snowdon café.
As we arrived at Pen y Pass the other car started to show signs that something was wrong. As it turned out the alternator decided it needed changing which led us to Plan D and E. Two members had to try and fix the car while leaving just three of us to claim the glory. We decided to make haste so we managed to get up and down Snowdon via Crib Goch in just over three hours, which is quite some going with some of the tourists looking aghast at the speed we were going. So with 13 complete and no chance of summiting the last two as time was running out it was onto see how they were getting on with the car….
After finally thinking we had fixed the car we headed off home and with a final reminder that we had failed to complete the 15, Eldir Fawr was staring at us in the distance. This view however made us even more determined to come back next year to conquer all.
Despite not completing the 15 the weekend was a complete success with us all having achieved individual goals, covering a lot of distance, overcoming problems and fine tuning the route for our attempt in 2016 – more details to follow!