Day 2 arrived. We woke in Pod to rain and high winds which carried with it some hefty gusts. By now we were used to being bombarded with bad weather and we knew Pod had stood up to everything so far so why should this week be any different. The fact we were still on a high from completing Snowdon meant it didn’t really matter what the weather threw at us.
Kettle was on and once it boiled we lazed in bed with a hot cup of tea watching the morning news on the tv waiting for the local weather report to appear. It duly arrived and it was as expected .. rain and more rain .. with high winds thanks to Storm Katie. Today we had planned to go scuba diving off Treadure Bay with friends but the wind, more than the rain had cancelled this event.
We eventually crawled out from under the duvet and had breakfast sat in the awning whilst making plans for a lazy day around Betws-y-Coed.
Whilst digging into a bowel of cereal and munching our way through hot buttered toast we began to notice small pockets of water appearing around our feet, interesting, we thought and carried on not doing much for the next few hours mainly a bit of reading and research on stuff to do in the area.
By lunchtime the pockets of water were sizeable puddles and were beginning to surround the table and chairs, not enough to make us retreat into Pod but enough to cause us some worry. The rain was relentless and it appeared this particular pitch had drainage problems and after going for a walk round the site we discovered we weren’t alone and some were worse off than us. We just wanted the rain to stop at some point. Some might say typical Bank Holiday weather.
By now we were hungry and decided to head for the village to find a nice pub to have lunch in, we also thought we’d have another mooch round the shops, if we couldn’t go up a mountain we might as well surround ourselves with walking, camping and climbing gear.
By the time we’d looked round those shops we decided to go back to the Gwydyr Hotel, we loved the atmosphere in there and the layout was nice and very welcoming. The window seat was empty and whilst we enjoyed a pint along with the delicious food we watched the world go by. Before we realised it, it was mid afternoon so we strolled back to Pod feeling content and with full tummies.
This was soon changed to surprise, as we walked up to Pod we could see a huge pool of water at the rear of the awning, we unzipped the side panel and peered in to see the small puddles had gained some depth and it was now no longer possible to sit at the table with feet tucked under it.
There wasn’t a lot we could do, we didn’t have anything in that area of the awning that could be damaged so all we could do was retire to Pod for an afternoon nap. It was nice lying there, chatting and listening to the rain tapping on Pods roof, took us back to being kids all cozy and snug on family holidays in caravans, still Iove that noise.
Whilst cooking our evening meal we began to see the odd van leaving, it seemed the weather was beginning to affect people’s breaks and were heading off early. Hail stones made an appearance and the wind was picking up too, at one point MrB was stood in the awning and if he hadn’t grabbed one of the poles we believe the wind would of lifted the awning from off the ground.
He then made the decision to attach more guy ropes and secure them, along with the loosened ones as best as he could. It seemed to do the trick and the awning didn’t budge for the rest of our break.
Spaghetti bolognese was cooked in Pod and by the time this was being dished up the rain had stopped and our indoor pool had drained to nothing more than the small pockets of water we had started with.
After hot showers we had the Scrabble board game out and whiled away an hour or so before bed, we also remember the clocks went forward an hour for British Summer Time, so glad we weren’t in work the following day.
And it did call, we also found out it had snowed on the hills in the night and there was a fresh layer on Snowdon and the surrounding mountains, it was very picturesque but we were very happy to have climbed it when we had.
Making the most of the day we walked into the village and had a wonder round the local art gallery which was situated under the railway platform, on the way down we passed a metal cage made in the shape of a rhino, it was slowly being filled with plastic bottle tops which would be recycled and money raised to aid the protection of these amazing but endangered animals.
Next stop was the miniature railway, very entertaining, it was fabulous to watch the coal fire being stoked and water filling up the small cylinder in the engine. It would then wiz round carrying as many adults as children, there was also a couple of full sized railway carriages on side tracks which had been turned into a café, great fun.
I know I haven’t mentioned it yet, but yes, it did rain, all day. But on the brighter side the following day looked promising so we had the maps out and made plans to climb Glyder Fach and walk onto Glyder Fawr, the former LB had climbed nearly 40 years ago and she desperately wanted to sit once again on the Cantilever.
Routes planned and weather checked, off to bed we went with another adventure planned in our dreams.
We woke just before the 6:57 train rolled by, after our obligatory mug of tea in bed we were soon up and out of Pod and on our way to the car park at Pont Pen-y-benglog. 20 minutes later we arrived just in time to nab one of the two remaining free spots just outside the pay and display car park.
The weather wasn’t brilliant, very overcast, but for now it was dry. Rucksacks on and we were soon on our way up the path stopping momentarily to look at the carved wooden scenery display, great piece of work in a semi circle, dependant on where you stood you could easily identify the mountains around you. Next we went through the small iron gate, straight onto the open moor land with Tryfan and Glyder Fach stretching out as far as the eye could see. Amazing.
The path was well marked, huge slabs of rock and impossible to miss, hidden between many of the slabs were pools of frog spawn, huge globs of the stuff. Being careful of where we stood we clambered on up the mountain side and at various points it turned into a bit of a scramble, this was great fun and we were grateful to have good walking boots that made this so much easier.
After crossing the stream we began the climb upwards, the clouds were moving in and a light rain was over us, that really annoying stuff that doesn’t seem to be able to make its mind up what it is but gets you soaking wet.
By now we could see the snow hidden in the crevasses of the mountain around us, the higher we got the more of it we saw.
The temperature had dropped considerably and the wind began to pick up a little as we saw a 5ft wall appear, as we climbed over the style we had to be careful as the steps were covered in ice and extremely slippy, on the other side we were met by a totally different scenery. The valley in front of us was covered in snow, it was very still, no one was to be seen and any paths that were there were well hidden.
The scramble up to the top wasn’t on the cards so we took the route that went round the base and up the far left of Glyder Fach, as we reached the ridge we could see cairns in front so we knew we were heading in the right direction. The cloud was now really low and visibility wasn’t great, we weren’t in any kind of rush and checked our bearing regularly.
Because of our detour we ended up coming up right beneath the Cantilever, took LB’s breath away with a squeal of delight. It had been a long time since she’s seen it and it was well worth the climb.
It had been LB’s wish to sit on the top as she had done as a child but it was covered in thick wet ice and it didn’t look possible. An attempt was considered but there was no way to reach it, it would only have resulted in it being a slippery slope back down and being dumped unceremoniously at the bottom of it.
The visibility had now gotten worse and the ground underneath was also solid ice, we couldn’t move without slipping all over the place. We didn’t have crampons with us and even though we had reached this point safely we decided to continue any further would have been foolhardy.
The summit was only meters away but we decided as we didn’t know if the weather was gong to get better or worse the best and safest decision was to turn back, we had achieved what we set out to do, see the Cantilever so we were happy with that.
Walking back along the ridge we decided to go down the shale path, it too was snow covered which added to the journey down but not enough to cause concern, we passed people on the way up and made them aware of the poor weather at the top.
Low and behold as we reached the base of the path clouds began to part and the sun broke through, the wind though was biting and as we had used our gloved hands to aid our balance on the way down our gloves were wet and our hands were cold.
The wall was just ahead so we found a spot sheltered from the wind and tucked into our sandwiches and recapped on our walk.
The negatives had been that it hadn’t gone exactly to plan as we didn’t reach the top of Glyder Fach and we didn’t get any where near Glyder Fawr, also we decided our next trip into the village would involve buying better gloves, preferably water proof. The positives, we had reached our main goal the Cantilever, we’d had Glyder Fach to ourselves and the snow had been amazingly brilliant and a new challenge for us and at the top, given the weather, we had we made the right decision to turn back. We can come back anytime.
Our walk back took us over the wall and down past the lake and stream towards the carpark, the weather had taken a turn for the better and we passed quite a few people on the way up. Once back at the car we dumped our gear in the boot and we were soon on our way back to Pod.
Hot showers were had followed by a Quorn chilli and rice which definitely warmed the cockles and the night was finished off by watching Guy Martin obtain a Guinness Book Record by going round the ‘Wall of Death’ on a motorbike. Very cool guy, seems a genuinely nice down to earth fella.
Morning came with the 7:57 train, our last day which had come round way too fast. After breakfast we headed into the village and during a mooch in a few of the shops we both bought new pairs of gloves, waterproof and fit for purpose.
On the way back to Pod we walked along Sappers Bridge, it was lucky to be here after all the bad weather at Christmas and as if on queue the rain started again so we strolled back to Pod for a bit of R & R, our last chance before returning to civilisation the next day.
The rain continued for the rest of the day, it didn’t look good for the morning and packing up nor for the awning to be put away dry, annoying but once home we could put it up in the garden to dry off properly.
Our last evening game of scrabble as we finished off our beer soon came to an end and our bed beckoned. Neither of us wanted to go as we knew after a good nights sleep it would be time to go home, they say all good things come to end.
Woke to a sunny frosty morning and ice on the car, hadn’t noticed the drop in temperature due to our little fan heater we have in Pod, comes on 15 minutes every hour and kept us toasty and warm.
Thankfully no rain meant we could pack up easier, we had to be off site by 12 so after breakfast we soon had everything packed away and we were on the road back home for 11.30. We need to slow down, back to reality comes soon enough, why rush.
Even though the weather had been horrendous our Easter break at Betws-y-Coed has been brilliant, we had climbed Snowdon and seen the Cantilever and the days these had taken place had each been an experience of their own, we had found our weaknesses and strengths and couldn’t wait to do it all again in a few weeks when off to the Lake District to do Scafell.