So the training is over and now it is time to put everything they have learnt into practice and spend three days walking across Snowdonia. Will Chris, Shaun, Jess, Jason and Raf demonstrate that they are ready for their qualifying expedition?
The team drove to Gwern Gof Isaf camp site in the Ogwen valley on Fri 4 May. The weather was bright but very cold, dipping to minus 7 overnight. Here they met Fred who was supervising their Practice Expedition and confirming their training had sunk in. He had the group preparing route cards so they understood what the route actually entailed with distance and height gained.
On the Sat morning the group had a final kit check and then after packing they were driven to the start of their expedition at the high car park on the side of Foel-ganol. The route took them to the summit of Drum, Foel-fras, Garnedd Uchaf, Foel Grach and Carnedd Llewelyn before descending the spur to Pen y Helgi Du and finally back to Gwern Gof Isaf camp site. During the day Fred checked their navigation and discussed their training and what to do if this happened or if that happened. Once he was satisfied, he left the group to continue on their own. A tired group finally arrived back at the camp site.
Sun morning arrived and the weather was still ok, clear but cold. Today’s route was along the valley bottom to Capel Curig and then to ascend the Glyders ridge by the way of Cefn y Capel and Foel Goch before reaching Glyder Fach. Obviously there was the obligatory photo opportunity at the Cantilever Stone for the whole group. Also it should be mentioned that Elaine from Derbyshire Young Adventurers walked up to see the group at the Cantilever Stone and summited her first ever mountain. The group continued along the ridge summiting both Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr before taking an abrupt left turn to descend to their wild camp at the side of Llyn Cwmffynnon. Once again a very tired group by the end of the day and a little friction becoming evident.
Monday morning and the weather was typical Bank Holiday weather with persistent rain. It was decided that the group would take their bad weather alternative and not attempt to summit Snowdon. Instead they headed to Pen y Pass youth hostel and then down the track to Hafod Rhisgl before heading west to Dolwyddelan. The going was slow especially where the tracks disappeared in knee-deep mud. Finally the group appeared very pleased to have finished their practice expedition. On the way home the group stopped for a well-deserved hot meal and some reflection on their achievements.
Now to the qualifying expedition…..
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