Snowdon Horseshoe

26/10/85

Leaving the campsite at Ynnys in the Pass, we walked the few miles uphill to the top of Llanberis just to warm up. It was a bright sunny day, though not totally clear. At the top of the pass, onto the PYG track and we opened up the pace. One person turned back. We were all spread out, and the PYG track was very busy. I was feeling very good, cram full of energy, full of beans, and was accused of “going at running pace without being seen to run”.

Eventually we burst into the sunshine on the ridge and looked about us. Behind, the valley floor down to Capel Curig was filled with cloud. Mountains poked out from above the milky clouds. Being above the clouds was going to be a theme of the day. Up the steep rock to Crib Goch, seeing the scenery unfold behind us as we climbed. It was extremely bright. The sun was reflecting off Lyn Lydaw, right into our eyes.

At the top, the start of the ridge, there were about thirty people gathered, chatting. People were having to queue up to get along the ridge. The islands in the sun, distant mountains, were a wonderful sight. I tried my hand at a panorama through about 250 degrees. [This was a resounding success and for many years preserved.]

Under the sunshine we moved along the red ridge, balancing on the very top. Crib Goch gets more impressive every time I do it [this would be the third time.] Along the eighteen inches wide strip of rock, seeing the ground whizz by a thousand feet below out the corner of your eye. We followed the crest of the ridge, busy at was, up onto Crib-y-ddysgl. It was a summer day, almost. As we ate our lunch we could see heat haze by Llyn Glas.

We dawdled up to the summit of Snowdon and stayed for over an hour. There were at least sixty people around the summit cairn. As a party we were well split up; we didn’t know, but three of us were already far ahead. On the sharp drop from Snowdon to the col, we spread out again, but were all together again when we got to the top of Y Lliwedd.

It was suitably late as we stampeded down the track to the Causeway. An RAF “Chinook” helicopter rumbled across the massif as we walked. The sun was at such an angle that actual sunbeams could be seen between Y Lliwedd and Snowdon – a remarkable and picturesque effect. An epic and full Horseshoe traverse.

Three of us were still together on the long tramp down the miners road to Pen-y-pass, the others far behind. And at the cafe, a welcome cup of tea. And what a pleasant surprise, one of the earlier finishers had brought the minibus up to collect us and run us down to the campsite at Ynnys. A brilliant day.