My name has now changed – I think I am ‘The Dorset Scrambler’ !
This was a great ramble up a mountain – well, not a ramble but more a scramble which I thoroughly enjoyed ! And not in Dorset because Dorset has no mountains! We have just returned from a week in Snowdonia, North Wales, and although it was a family holiday, I managed to escape for a couple of great walks, one around Mount Snowdon itself (blog coming soon) and one up a fabulous peak called Tryfan which I have wanted to climb for a long time.
Tryfan is a fin shaped mountain in the Snowdonia Range and it stands at a little over 3,000 feet. Its name literally means ‘three peaks’ because………it has three peaks ! It is a popular mountain with many routes up of varying difficulty, and it is one I have wanted to climb for a long time. I chose to go directly up the North Ridge which is a long and for most parts a difficult scramble, in fact it verges on climbing in places. It is the ridge running upwards from right to left in the picture below.
Tryfan from the east
The route started in the beautiful Ogwen Valley and initially followed a fairly straight forward rocky path beside a dry stone wall but things quickly became more difficult when the path reached Milestone Buttress and skirted steeply round this (the Buttress itself is for climbers only!). Even early on, the views on this ‘walk’ are spectacular as you look down on Llyn Ogwen.
Llyn Ogwen seen from the foot of Milestone Buttress
Something that added to the enjoyment of this walk was that I had decided to do it in the evening. Whilst this meant enjoying the evening sunset from the mountain top, it also meant that I had limited time to complete what is a 4 hour ‘walk’ – to be caught out up a strange mountain after dark with no torchlight would be somewhat difficult to say the least, but it added an extra dimension, a sort of extra level of adventure which I enjoyed.
The route up was a mixture of slightly easier sections and some steep or near vertical sections which verged on climbing. I think the line between the two is a little blurred but generally scrambles cover ground which is less the vertical and where ropes are not required. I am blessed with being sure footed and having a good head for heights so was able to make quick progress but if you were someone who suffered from vertigo, you wouldn’t want to attempt this route!
A narrow ledge with near vertical rock faces
Part way up stands the Canon Rock, so called because it resembles a canon. It is of course traditional to have your photo taken standing at the end of the rock and who am I to break the tradition! The only thing was I was on my own! It must have been an interesting sight – resting the camera on the ground, setting the self-timer, and then climbing up to the base of the rock before running up the 45 degree angle to the top before the shutter fired. It took several attempts to get it right ! It wasn’t the only traditional challenge on this route – the Leap of Faith was to come, but more of that later!
The Canon Rock with Lynn Ogwen far below
The Dorset Rambler standing on The Canon Rock
I say I was alone but I mean of course without human company – there was much wildlife for company, including a group of mountain goats that were foraging for food on the most exposed parts.
Tea time for the mountain goats
After two hours of scrambling I finally reached the summit and the next challenge!
At to top, there are two rocks approximately 3 metres high known as Adam and Eve and there is a gap of around 4 feet between them. Tradition has it that anyone who can take the Leap of Faith between the two rocks receives the Freedom of Tryfan. Now a 4 feet jump between two rocks may not seem much at ground level but it is altogether more challenging when you stand on top and look down at the shear drop of hundreds of feet down one side particularly, and of course not forgetting the wind that whips across the mountain at 3,000 feet up!
In fact, just getting up onto the top was difficult as there is very little in the way of hand or foot holds on either rock. The thought of doing it within the 10 seconds allowed by the self timer on my camera would have been an impossible challenge – but fortunately there were other people at the top and one kindly agreed to take a picture for me. But that added another challenge – I had to do it with people watching!!!
Anyway, it was fine and I did it – in both directions just to prove it wasn’t a fluke! So The Dorset Rambler now has the Freedom of Tryfan ! Now, how do I get down from this rock……
The Leap of Faith 3,000 feet up
With evening drawing in, everyone left to make their way down, leaving me alone on the summit. I have to say that it was a magical evening and it felt great sitting at the top of the mountain all on my own eating supper whilst watching the sun set! The view over the Ogwen Valley with the river, Afon Ogwen, snaking its way into the distance was just breathtaking!
The sun setting on Tryfan
Not that I could sit there for too long as I didn’t want to run out of light (because it was a family holiday I hadn’t gone prepared with all the usual emergency equipment like head torches etc!). So I too headed down the south side of the mountain, past the south peak into Bwlch Tryfan, the col between Tryfan and its neighbouing peak of Glyder Fach. It always seems strange to me that even at the top of these passes there are dry stone walls with great wooden ladder stiles over them. It must have been quite a task building these walls as they snake their way up the mountainside!
The ladder stile and dry stone wall at Bwlch Tryfan
And then it was a very pleasant walk down through the valley as I watched the sun sink further towards the horizon, reflecting off one of natures mirrors – Llyn Bochlwyd.
The setting sun reflects off Llyn Bochlwyd in the Cwm Bochlwyd Valley
And when I reached the lake I overtook my summit friends who waved goodbye.
My summit friends take a break by Llyn Bochlwyd
Finally after three and a half fabulous hours, I reached Llyn Ogwen again as the last light faded from the evening sky. It had been an amazing evening ‘walking’ in scenery which in many ways is in total contrast to Dorset’s rolling landscape, more rugged but equally beautiful. I was blessed with fabulous weather which is something which definitely doesn’t always occur in the Welsh mountains!
Llyn Ogwen and the Ogwen Valley
Thanks for stopping by and reading the ramblings of The Dorset Rambler.
The Dorset Rambler
AWARDED THE FREEDOM OF TRYFAN
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