Snowdonia 4+1 solo walk – Day 2

Day 2's 12.6 km route with 776 mtrs ascent and 1048 mtrs descent.

Day 2’s 12.6 km route with 776 mtrs ascent and 1048 mtrs descent.

Day 2 was a day of plan changes, steep climbs, great views and a very big descent. In fact the descent down Pen yr Ole Wen dominated all the other activities on this day.

The weather was absolutely superb too – an added bonus.

I finished the day thinking that it couldn’t possibly get any better than this, yet the following two days would prove me wrong on this count! πŸ™‚

Anyways, enough of my whittering, I will let a handful of photos from my Facebook journal tell the story of day 2:

This map shows the original route in blue vs the actual route in red. I was never happy with the blue route during planning as I don't ever like doubling back on myself. It was planned that way because the contours surrounding the Ffynnon Caseg Tarn looked way too steep to be climbable - plus there was no sign of a trail on the map. However, from my vantage point at the Ffynnon Caseg Tarn, it did look climbable so I decided to give it a try. I figured if I couldn't do it, I would just continue on with the original plan. As it turned out, it was climbable and made for an excellent morning on day 2!

This map shows the original route in blue vs the actual route in red. I was never happy with the blue route during planning as I don’t ever like doubling back on myself. It was planned that way because the contours surrounding the Ffynnon Caseg Tarn looked way too steep to be climbable – plus there was no sign of a trail on the map. However, from my vantage point at the Ffynnon Caseg Tarn, it did look climbable so I decided to give it a try. I figured if I couldn’t do it, I would just continue on with the original plan. As it turned out, it was climbable and made for an excellent morning on day 2!

I was wondering what I was going to see on opening the tent that morning - the night time pitch meant I didn't get a good view of my immediate surroundings.

I was wondering what I was going to see on opening the tent that morning – the night time pitch meant I didn’t get a good view of my immediate surroundings.

Home from home! The sleeping bag is out to air, whilst I make preps for breakfast.

Home from home! The sleeping bag is out to air, whilst I make preps for breakfast.

The view of Ffynnon Caseg tarn over the Akto tent. I remembered those mountainous peaks from the night before and the way the moonlight crawled its way slowly down them.

The view of Ffynnon Caseg tarn over the Akto tent. I remembered those mountainous peaks from the night before and the way the moonlight crawled its way slowly down them.

The climb up out of the Tarn is now well under way. Here I'm climbing up the ridge line of Yr Ellen. At this stage I had already done the 4 limb climbing bit and was now walking upright.

The climb up out of the Tarn is now well under way. Here I’m climbing up the ridge line of Yr Ellen. At this stage I had already done the 4 limb climbing bit and was now walking upright.

As I approach the peak, it starts to steepen up again, requiring the use of both hands and feet. I'm a little wary of not slipping on the loose rock under foot as it is a long way down to the tarn!

As I approach the peak, it starts to steepen up again, requiring the use of both hands and feet. I’m a little wary of not slipping on the loose rock under foot as it is a long way down to the tarn!

The view downwards to the tarn - these kind of heights tend to focus my mind a little :) To the right of the tarn I spot what looks like a cave and some kind of stone structure by it...

The view downwards to the tarn – these kind of heights tend to focus my mind a little πŸ™‚ To the right of the tarn I spot what looks like a cave and some kind of stone structure by it…

A zoomed in shot of the now obviously man-made structure. This barricade seems to be erected in front of a cave just off to the right of the photo. I'm wondering who made it and whether they were in the cave or not? Yes - I have an active imagination!

A zoomed in shot of the now obviously man-made structure. This barricade seems to be erected in front of a cave just off to the right of the photo. I’m wondering who made it and whether they were in the cave or not? Yes – I have an active imagination!

The final climb up to Yr Elen. My map assures me that once up top there should be a fair expanse of flat land to walk on - but the sharpness of the ridge line up ahead is giving me doubts about this!

The final climb up to Yr Elen. My map assures me that once up top there should be a fair expanse of flat land to walk on – but the sharpness of the ridge line up ahead is giving me doubts about this!

As I climb up, I take this picture over the ridge that I had climbed toward the Northwest and the sea. The view was just mind blowing!

As I climb up, I take this picture over the ridge that I had climbed toward the Northwest and the sea. The view was just mind blowing!

Once I reach the top, it is indeed relatively flat - so the map was right! If I was a betting man I would not have expected this based on the shape of the sharp ridge line I was negotiating. Here I need to head Eastward along this ridge line up to Carnedd Llewelyn which is currently shrouded in cloud.

Once I reach the top, it is indeed relatively flat – so the map was right! If I was a betting man I would not have expected this based on the shape of the sharp ridge line I was negotiating. Here I need to head Eastward along this ridge line up to Carnedd Llewelyn which is currently shrouded in cloud.

The climb up to Carnedd Lewelyn is fairly steep at first involving yet more climbing. But this doesn't last. Once over this ridge, the ascent is quite shallow.

The climb up to Carnedd Lewelyn is fairly steep at first involving yet more climbing. But this doesn’t last. Once over this ridge, the ascent is quite shallow.

I take a rest on the way up Carnedd Llewelyn and snack out. This is the view from my rest position toward Yr Elen that I had just climbed from the tarn down below.

I take a rest on the way up Carnedd Llewelyn and snack out. This is the view from my rest position toward Yr Elen that I had just climbed from the tarn down below.

The rest of the ascent up Carnedd Llewelyn is actually fairly easy.

The rest of the ascent up Carnedd Llewelyn is actually fairly easy.

I reach the top of Carnedd Llewelyn at 1064 mtrs where I get a stunning view to the South East. I would be climbing this mountain again from a different direction on Day 4.

I reach the top of Carnedd Llewelyn at 1064 mtrs where I get a stunning view to the South East. I would be climbing this mountain again from a different direction on Day 4.

I now start to make my way South West toward Craig Llugwy. Down below is the Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir and to the left of that the route I would be taking on Day 4 over Bwlch Eryl Farchog.

I now start to make my way South West toward Craig Llugwy. Down below is the Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir and to the left of that the route I would be taking on Day 4 over Bwlch Eryl Farchog.

A quick self photo whilst on my way South Westward. Weather wise I was very lucky indeed!

A quick self photo whilst on my way South Westward. Weather wise I was very lucky indeed!

Here I'm headed down the narrow ridge line to the South East to get to Craig Llugwy. This part of the walk was very pleasant indeed with great views!

Here I’m headed down the narrow ridge line to the South East to get to Craig Llugwy. This part of the walk was very pleasant indeed with great views!

To the East I get a better view of my Day 4 route along Bwlch Eryl Farchog. The ridge-line looks very thin from here and the descent from Pen yr Helgi Du is looking quite steep too! Should make for an interesting Day 4!

To the East I get a better view of my Day 4 route along Bwlch Eryl Farchog. The ridge-line looks very thin from here and the descent from Pen yr Helgi Du is looking quite steep too! Should make for an interesting Day 4!

The view to the Northwest back toward the coastline.

The view to the Northwest back toward the coastline.

I have now made it to Craig Llugwy and I'm now preparing to head Westward up to the peak of Carnedd Dafydd at 1044 mtrs which can be seen up ahead.

I have now made it to Craig Llugwy and I’m now preparing to head Westward up to the peak of Carnedd Dafydd at 1044 mtrs which can be seen up ahead.

The climb up to Carnedd Dafydd isn't too bad, but it does seem to go on forever!

The climb up to Carnedd Dafydd isn’t too bad, but it does seem to go on forever!

Once I reach the top of Carnedd Dafydd I find these rather extensive cairn shelters.

Once I reach the top of Carnedd Dafydd I find these rather extensive cairn shelters.

The actual peak of Carnedd Dafydd - Wooot!!!!

The actual peak of Carnedd Dafydd – Wooot!!!!

As I head West I get to see FFynnon LLoer down below me. Apparently two World War 2 bombers crashed in the hills surrounding this lake and the aircraft remains can still be found.

As I head West I get to see FFynnon LLoer down below me. Apparently two World War 2 bombers crashed in the hills surrounding this lake and the aircraft remains can still be found.

To the South is Tryfan. This mountain dominates the landscape in this area and is something that I get to see for the next three days. One day I hope to climb it, but I don't think that it is possible with a 20 Kg multi-day pack - so I will have to book in at a hostel and make a day of it!

To the South is Tryfan. This mountain dominates the landscape in this area and is something that I get to see for the next three days. One day I hope to climb it, but I don’t think that it is possible with a 20 Kg multi-day pack – so I will have to book in at a hostel and make a day of it!

To the SouthWest I can see Mount Snowdon looming out of the clouds in the far distance.

To the SouthWest I can see Mount Snowdon looming out of the clouds in the far distance.

I'm now at Pen Yr Ole Wen. From my map I know my descent is up ahead on that bit of rock sticking out in the middle of nowhere. I'm now a little worried as to just what I'm going to see when I get there as it looks a long way up!

I’m now at Pen Yr Ole Wen. From my map I know my descent is up ahead on that bit of rock sticking out in the middle of nowhere. I’m now a little worried as to just what I’m going to see when I get there as it looks a long way up!

As I climb down the views from Pen yr Ole Wen at 978 mtrs are very impressive. I think it is because one gets quite a lot of elevation exposure here.

As I climb down the views from Pen yr Ole Wen at 978 mtrs are very impressive. I think it is because one gets quite a lot of elevation exposure here.

This descent consists of all fours scrambling, flat bits like this and some pretty steep rocky slopes. Once again, I'm left wondering what I'm going to see when I get to the end up ahead.

This descent consists of all fours scrambling, flat bits like this and some pretty steep rocky slopes. Once again, I’m left wondering what I’m going to see when I get to the end up ahead.

The descent is very steep. I have never experienced this kind of elevation exposure before, it really makes one think about what one is doing!

The descent is very steep. I have never experienced this kind of elevation exposure before, it really makes one think about what one is doing!

Here I'm around half way down. This part is walkable, but with my heavy rucksack I'm taking care not to slip on the loose rock and have the pack's weight take charge. These still photos really don't do the height above ground any real justice! :)

Here I’m around half way down. This part is walkable, but with my heavy rucksack I’m taking care not to slip on the loose rock and have the pack’s weight take charge. These still photos really don’t do the height above ground any real justice! πŸ™‚

Around 2 thirds of the way down is a grassy area with a large puddle. I take the opportunity to top up water and eat here. The weather was very hot and my legs felt like jelly from the descent. As I look up, I just can't believe that I have managed to climb down that peak!

Around 2 thirds of the way down is a grassy area with a large puddle. I take the opportunity to top up water and eat here. The weather was very hot and my legs felt like jelly from the descent. As I look up, I just can’t believe that I have managed to climb down that peak!

Back on with the descent! There are less all fours climbing parts at this stage and the road below does seem to be getting noticeably closer. My knees are having an extremely tough time from the descent, at times they feel like they won't move! In the distance, nestled in the mountains is Llyn Idwell the lake I intend to make camp at.

Back on with the descent! There are less all fours climbing parts at this stage and the road below does seem to be getting noticeably closer. My knees are having an extremely tough time from the descent, at times they feel like they won’t move! In the distance, nestled in the mountains is Llyn Idwell the lake I intend to make camp at.

Wooooot!!!!! Nearly there, not much further to go. My knees are now in a bad state. Just moving them is proving painful.

Wooooot!!!!! Nearly there, not much further to go. My knees are now in a bad state. Just moving them is proving painful.

With much relief for my knees I eventually get to the bottom. That was one of the longest and steepest descents I have had to make so far. The amount of time it took caught me out. I'll need to remember that in the future these type of descents need to be allocated similar timings that the equivalent ascent would require.

With much relief for my knees I eventually get to the bottom. That was one of the longest and steepest descents I have had to make so far. The amount of time it took caught me out. I’ll need to remember that in the future these type of descents need to be allocated similar timings that the equivalent ascent would require.

As I make my way to exit on the road, I note with a wry smile, that even the gate requires climbing to get up to. Once on the road I'm limping and finding walking extremely difficult, though I am thankful that it is relatively flat.

As I make my way to exit on the road, I note with a wry smile, that even the gate requires climbing to get up to. Once on the road I’m limping and finding walking extremely difficult, though I am thankful that it is relatively flat.

I have now ascended around a 100 mtrs from the road up to lake Llyn Idwell. At this point I was walking with a chap called Graeme and we were swapping stories of our exploits. He had apparently spotted me high up on Pen yr Ole making my descent from reflections off of my map case. His company was most welcome and made this part of the walk a lot easier than it would have been.

I have now ascended around a 100 mtrs from the road up to lake Llyn Idwell. At this point I was walking with a chap called Graeme and we were swapping stories of our exploits. He had apparently spotted me high up on Pen yr Ole making my descent from reflections off of my map case. His company was most welcome and made this part of the walk a lot easier than it would have been.

It seems that someone must have been in trouble. There were two search and rescue helicopters combing the area at low level. We even ran into the ground based rescue team headed the other way. It seems they were having problems locating the casualty.

It seems that someone must have been in trouble. There were two search and rescue helicopters combing the area at low level. We even ran into the ground based rescue team headed the other way. It seems they were having problems locating the casualty.

Here I peer over Lake Llyn Idwell back toward Pen yr Ole that I had just descended. Looking at it I still can't believe that I had just climbed down it!

Here I peer over Lake Llyn Idwell back toward Pen yr Ole that I had just descended. Looking at it I still can’t believe that I had just climbed down it!

Finally at camp in the Akto and a chance to rest my weary knees. It seems appropriate that the main view out of the tent was toward the mountain that I had spent a fair bit of time descending! In the foreground is the Osprey Exos 58 rucksack, which despite the load and steep climbing that I had subjected it to, had managed to acquit itself very well indeed.

Finally at camp in the Akto and a chance to rest my weary knees. It seems appropriate that the main view out of the tent was toward the mountain that I had spent a fair bit of time descending! In the foreground is the Osprey Exos 58 rucksack, which despite the load and steep climbing that I had subjected it to, had managed to acquit itself very well indeed.

My camp for day 2 is in the perfect place. I'm near a water source and camped just below the mountain of Glyder Fawr at 1001 mtrs. I would be ascending this mountain the following day.

My camp for day 2 is in the perfect place. I’m near a water source and camped just below the mountain of Glyder Fawr at 1001 mtrs. I would be ascending this mountain the following day.

Needless to say I slept like a baby at the end of this day πŸ™‚ Tune later on for Day 3!

Laters
RobP

About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
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5 Responses to Snowdonia 4+1 solo walk – Day 2

  1. Robin says:

    Pen yr Ole Wen is steep. I’ve only ever gone up, never down. Just a thought. Are you using trekking poles? If not, they really help on descents to take the pressure off your knees.

    Two fine wild camping spots. I’ve often wondered about Ffynnon Caseg. Now I know!

    I’m sure you will return. Just to mark your card, be careful about the south east ridge on Carneddau Llyewelyn. Descent with a large pack is quite difficult as there is a section you have to scramble. Ascent is easier. The Cwm Eigiau ridge is terrific. If you want to know some other camping spots around the Carneddau, just ask.

  2. RobP says:

    Thanks Robin, I will be tapping you for knowledge next time I go πŸ™‚

    I keep dithering on the hiking pole issue. Too me they appear a little unwieldy and add weight to the load. I think my biggest concern is that on a mixed descent, where you have to both walk and scramble, I can see a lot of hassle continually taking out and putting the poles back.

    That said, it seems that nearly everyone uses them, so maybe I need to take a look πŸ™‚

  3. Robin says:

    Fizan do some very lightweight poles. You can use the “stow on the go” feature on your Exos for your poles. Saves the hassle of taking the pack off. Poles really do help on downhill sections.

    • RobP says:

      I will buy some poles – eventually πŸ™‚ The next walk is in the Peak District, so I’m not expecting any big climbs or descents there, so I might get a pole or two for the following walk after that.

      Part of me suspects that if I were to buy poles, I would be straight on the internet looking for shelter solutions that used them! πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: 2013 – A Year in Review | Uk Backpacker

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