We returned to Snowdonia for our annual Burns celebration at the end of January. We were staying in the Gloucestershire MC Hut in Deiniolen just north of Llanberis. We were all looking forward to the weekend in the outdoors and celebrating Robbie Burns birthday! Thursday evening saw three of us heading up to get a full day in on the Friday. Thursday evening also saw Alan W panic shopping for whisky; he’d bought a bottle of Shackleton on special offer months ago and kept it for this weekend. Could he find it when packing? No, hence the panic whisky shopping!
Friday 24th January
Alex did the classic Snowdon Horseshoe from Pen-Y-Pass, with it’s wonderful opening ridge of Grib Goch. Peter and Kathy headed up Elidir Fawr via the lakes from the hut. Graham and Alan M left Milton Keynes early morning and arrived in time to explore the Llanberis slate quarries and the Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir walking from the hut. Dave, Matt, Tom and James all stopped of at Bryn Glo on the A5 and headed up Moel Siabod, reveling in the scramble up the Daear Ddu ridge. They also enjoyed some sneaky refreshments in the Tyn-y-Coed. David and Alan W arrived early evening. With the rest joining us after their evening drives from Milton Keynes. Graham had mastered the multi-fuel stove and had a welcoming fire going which kept us all warm and snug. Being the Burns weekend a wee dram or two acted as a precursor to tomorrow’s celebrations. A start was made on the 750 piece jigsaw map of Snowdonia – the challenge for the weekend.
Saturday 25th January
We’d all planned for an epic winter day in North Wales, there had been talk of crampons, ice axes and stories of last year’s summiting of Pen yr Ole Wen via Right-hand Y Gully in winter conditions. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t playing this year; we’d all been dismayed to see the temperatures rise during the week. Axes and crampons remained in the car boots.
Ogwen was popular with three teams heading there. Louie, Jason and Adam H went scrambling up the Idwal Slabs then the Cneifon Arête, followed by the Dolmen Ridge before descending the Bristley Ridge. Peter, Kathy, Alan M, James and Juan departed Ogwen for the hut starting up the grade 2 scramble of Y Garn East Ridge and taking in the Glyders. Both parties completing excellent mountaineering days out. The final Ogwen party Alex, Dave, David, Tom, Alan W and Graham started off planning an easy lap of Llyn Ogwen. At the Llyn Alex, Dave and Tom decided they wanted to go high and headed up around the back of Y Garn before dropping back down the Devils Kitchen. Alan W, David and Graham continued up to Idwal Slabs and watched the climbers before completing the high level lap of Llyn Idwel only to find that the step across the stream coming down from Glyder Fawr has a bridge over it!
Gill and Adam F went exploring in the slate quarries not far from the hut. Shane and Matt went up and over the Glyders, down to Pen-y-Pass, ‘nipped’ up and along Grib Goch then down the tourist path to Llanberis and back to the hut.
Saturday Evening was our three-course dinner celebrating Robbie Burns birthday. The kitchen was full of people pealing, chopping, toasting, boiling, steaming, stirring, whipping, mashing. It takes a lot to cook for 18 hungry mountaineers! While the kitchen staff were hard at work we could hear the live music superbly performed by Alan M and David. Eventually, all was ready and it was time for dinner – leak and potato soup, before the haggis, neeps ‘n’ tatties were served Alan W had arranged for the haggis to be piped in to Scotland the Brave! He the read the Address to the Haggis and toasted it. To finish off the excellent meal we all enjoyed cranachan. An Excellent evening.
Sunday 26th January
The weather wasn’t the greatest we all pulled together to clean and tidy the hut. Alex, Juan and Alan M all headed off early. Adam H and Jason headed back to the Ogwen Valley and did the Y Foel Goch Horseshoe. Gill, Adam F, Alan W, Peter, Kathy and Graham all headed to the Beacon climbing wall. I think we’d all forgotten how big those big walls are. Gill was chuffed to lead a 5a all the way to the top of the big wall, almost twice the height of Big Rock at Kingston Adam F was also pushing his grades and got off the ground on a 6a+ as well as a 6b!
Shane nipped over to Llanberis and shot up and down the tourist path to the top of Snowdon. He then paid homage on behalf of MKMC at Pete’s Eats while waiting for Gill and Adam F to pick him up for the journey home.
Dave, Tom, Matt and James headed to Church Stretton on the way home, hoping for better weather and a walk in Shropshire. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t playing game so they just enjoyed a more scenic drive home!
Alan W enjoys haggis so much he nipped over to his dad’s for another Burns supper on the Sunday evening.
Another excellent Burns weekend. Thanks to everyone who helped out in the kitchen with all the cooking and the washing up afterwards. Not forgetting thanks to our musicians Alan M and David for their live entertainment. For those who were wondering, yes the ‘collective jigsawers’ did finish the map of Snowdonia! Next year’s trip has already been planned; 23/24/25th January. Book Early as Fred Pontin used to say . . . .