Monday, 22 December 2014

Creigiau Gleision

A fried breakfast at the club’s hut in Llanberis set me up for another day of mopping up Nuttalls and as nobody else expressed any interest in my objectives for the day, the walk turned into another solo expedition.

Three of my fellow club members advantage of my drive over Pen y Pass, asking to be dropped off before their traverse over Snowdon and back down to the hut.  I parked behind Joe Brown’s in Capel Curig and set off on the bridleway leading to the day’s first summit, Crimpiau.  The cloud was obscuring the view but was slowly rising and snow on the ground was first seen at just below 450 metres.  The summit was well-defined, leaving no doubt that the highpoint had been reached.

As the cold and wind made themselves better known I reached into the top pocket of my rucksack for my hat and gloves but the first thing I found was a Christmas bauble, put there by a mischievous hut-dweller!  It could have been worse, I’ve heard stories of rocks being buried in the depths of rucksacks of the unsuspecting.


The drop to the col passed three Carneddau ponies; their dull-coloured coats camouflaging them well.  The final few metres to the top of Craig Wen offered some interesting scrambling with a choice of routes to the summit.  Another drop to a very boggy col was the prelude to the first Nuttall of the day, Craiglwyn.  The views had improved by now with the higher Glyderau tops and the Ogwen valley coming into view, as well as the high Carneddau sporting significant amounts of snow.

Carneddau Llewellyn, Pen yr Helgi Du & Pen Llithrig y Wrach

From Craiglwyn the next two summits could be clearly seen.  Creigiau Gleision was soon reached from where I saw a fellow solitary walker (possibly Steve Smith – see here) on the summit of Pen Llithrig y Wrach with the clear path allowing easy progress to Creigiau Gleision North Top, passing an interesting quartz outcrop.

Creigiau Gleision and North Top
Time had passed too quickly to descend to the dam of the Llyn Cowlyd reservoir and finish the walk in daylight, so I decided to retrace, at least partly, my steps.  I skirted Creigiau Gleision’s summit to the left – a mistake soon realised by the boulder field that I had to negotiate.  I bypassed Craiglwyn on the right through heather, although some sheep trods made like easier.  Then it was just a case of finding a way to the bridleway above Tal-y-waun – a task not too difficult until I encountered the unpassable gorge of Afon Llewesig and an equally unpassable area of gorse !  More retracing of steps, this time uphill, before the final half mile walk along the A5.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Steel Edge and a Confusing Name

Attending an evening AGM in Windermere presented an opportunity to bag Black Sails, a previously unvisited summit in the Coniston Fells.

From Tilberthwaite I followed the track alongside Yewdale Beck to the base of Steel Edge; a north-western spur leading off Wetherlam’s south ridge.  Not as impressive as Sharp, Swirral or Striding, except in name, the edge is a broad ridge that largely follows a shallow waterworn gully.  It’s a reasonable way to high ground but it lacks the splendour of the more famous Lakeland edges.

to Steel Edge and Wetherlam

Steel Edge from the bottom

Steel Edge from the top

Three Tarns at the top of Steel Edge

The top of the edge terminates at a substantial plateau containing three tarns – not as well-known as those at beneath Bowfell.  From here, Wetherlam’s south ridge leads easily up to the south top of Wetherlam, not categorised as anything other than a “Simpson”; belonging to an antiquated list of Lake District 2000 feet summits published in a Wayfarers’ Club journal.  Any one of half-a-dozen rocks could be the actual highpoint and content with the tick, I aimed off to the north-west to gain the summit of Black Sails, a point not far from the main path but one I’m sure is bypassed by many of those Wainwright-baggers heading for Wetherlam.

The descent of Wetherlam Edge wasn’t pleasant.  The way down isn’t overly obvious and in the wet it was too slippery for comfort.  I suspect that I took a line to the right of the most worn path, but was glad to reach the bottom of it and continue on to some minor summits.

There are a number of tops above Tilberthwaite that have Birkett and/or Synge status and I had decided to tick some of them.  Birk Fell came easily, with the west top being considered the higher, although I reached both.  The next summit turns out to have a nomenclature problem.

Hawk Rigg is listed Bill Birkett’s book (NY300015, 441m) and also in Tim Synge’s book (NY300017, 428m) but both details can’t be right.  Synge’s Hawk Rigg is listed in Birkett’s book as High Fell which I didn’t realise until I got home to update my log – more diligent research will be needed if I decide to tick off any more Birketts or Synges !  The DoBIH data coincides with Birkett’s.

I reached Birkett’s Hawk Rigg and descended a short but steep fellside before the final ascent to Blake Rigg.  Another steep descent to the main Tilberthwaite path was the prelude to the last easy stroll back to the car.