A 'stag party' on the Glyders and other happenings

Number 1 son Greg and Jen were married at Betws-y-Coed on the 14th August 2002. Although they both live and work in Manchester they love North Wales and had decided a long time ago that they would get married there. So Anne, Ian and I travelled up to North Wales a couple of days before the wedding so we could enjoy a short break in the area before their "big day", and so I could be there for Greg’s "stag".

Daytime Tuesday 13th August 2002.

Greg, Jen’s brother John, Greg’s friend Rob, and their Iranian friends, brothers Faz and Farshad, arrived at lunchtime on the 13th for Greg’s "stag" walk up a mountain. I had hoped that we might go on to the Carneddau so we could do Pen-yr-ro-wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn and Pen-yr-Helgi-du. However, by the time everything was sorted out at the Royal Oak Hotel in Betws-y-Coed, where most of us were staying that night, it was getting a bit late in the day for this walk and so we decided to just do the Glyders.

The view of Tryfan from near Ogwen Cottage, when it's not raining.
It was gone 1 p.m. when we arrived at the Ogwen Cottage Car Park in drizzly rain that had accompanied us all the way from Betws-y-Coed. I suppose this was to be expected as we were only a mile or so away from Capel Curig, which is one of the most rained on places in the British Isles. However, I was prepared and immediately my overtrousers were on along with my waterproof jacket and with boots on feet and rucksacks on backs we started off.

We headed along the path that goes to Llyn Idwal, but, as our route was the high pass between Tryfan and Bristley Ridge, we turned left off the path, and walked along the indistinct path, the Miner’s Track, that we were to follow on our route to the col.

I was expecting to struggle being 20 years older than John, the next oldest, but I suppose my long challenge walks with the "Boys" helped ensure I could keep in touch with the other five. In fact I did more than keep in touch and I was soon leaving John, Faz and Farshad behind me. But the rain got worse, and the slope got steeper and in a very short while Faz dropped out. He didn’t say he was having trouble, he just turned around and walked off the mountain,
The view of Tryfan from near the top of Bristley Ridge and no rain.
or at least the beginning of it. Rob was not impressed and he was even less impressed when 5 or 10 minutes later Farshad also went downhill. Evidently they suffer from asthma, or a surfeit of cigarettes, and were having trouble breathing. However, in fairness to them I understand that this was the first time they had been on a mountain and were less than equipped for the experience. So the six became four with the "professionals", Greg and Rob, in front and John and me bringing up the rear as we passed Llyn Bochlwyd and scrambled over the rocks to the base of Bristley Ridge.

It was decided that Greg and Rob would go over Bristley Ridge and John and I would go up the scree slope to its left. I was very happy to do this; although I recognised it would be a good 30 minutes grind to the top. John had never been on the Glyders before so the
The Castle of the Winds on a clearer day.
navigation was down to me, which was easy, except by now the wind was getting up and gusting and the rain had got worse and my ability to see anything through my rain covered spectacles was limited. But we made it to the top and commenced to shout "Greg" and "Rob"into the mist near the top of Bristley Ridge. I never expected to beat them to the top but we did and 5 minutes or so later they appeared through the mist. Well that was the hard part over and we celebrated by sharing a can of lager as the precipitation got worse. It was at this point that a discussion took place about the merits of taking Greg’s clothes off and tying him to a rock as a stag prank. He would have probably have died of hypothermia, so we discounted that idea.

Soon we were off again over the rocks to Glyder Fach and with the visibility now so poor we almost issed the Cantilever Rock. No chance of a photo on that today as we all had forgotten to bring a camera. But that was of no concern. Pictures of mists are not that interesting.

Just as we passed to the left of Glyder Fach and Castell y Gwent, the "Castle of the Winds" we met a lone walker, who John and I accompanied
Devil's Kitchen on a sunny day.
part of the way to Glyder Fawr, where we joined Greg and Rob who were enjoying a snack in the shelter of the rocks just below the summit.

Now it was downhill all the way; if you’ve not been on this walk you might think that is easy. It is not as the scree slope that has to be descended is not that enjoyable even in the best conditions, but today it was awful. My boot had started to leak, the laces had got damp and stretched and as a consequence of this my toes were sliding forward hitting the end of the boots. Ouch! What a relief to get to the col between Glyder Fawr and Y Garn, and then, after taking great care on the wet and slippy stone "staircase" below Devil’s Kitchen, we reached the path that goes around Llyn Idwal. And then the rain stopped. Needless to say John, who had hurt his leg, and I were some distance behind Greg and Rob but we caught them up at Idwal labs where they were doing some rock climbing. John and I admired their "madness" for a short while before continuing to Ogwen Cottage and a drink of tea before returning to Betws-y-Coed.

Evening 13th August 2002.

The evening of the 13th was spent in the Royal Oak Hotel enjoying a considerable amount of food and drink. Anne and I left the youngsters at about 10.30 for bed but I understand from Number 2 son Ian that it was nearly 1 p.m. before the party split up, much to the disgust of the staff who wanted to "lock up".

Morning 14th August 2002.

As the wedding was not taking place until 4.00 p.m. Anne and I had plenty of time to walk around the village and look in the many walking shops. Our favourites were definitely the Cotswold ones. The old Cotswold Shop, which is on the road out towards the Waterloo Bridge, has become the Cotswold end of line Rock Bottom sales outlet with many bargains available. However, right next to the Royal Oak Hotel is the new Cotswold shop with everything the walker or climber could possibly want. In fact we were actually staying above the shop in the Royal Oak Hotel's Stable accommodation.
So it was just a matter of walking downstairs and walking into the shop to see their superb range. I could have spent a fortune. But no more of the advertising. However if you want to see their web site and spend some money just click here.

We met up with John and Rob towards lunchtime looking extremely fresh and clean. It seems they had had a morning dip in the river, which was adjacent to the campsite where they stayed the night under canvas. However, today would be different as they
The Wedding Cake.
were going to spend the night, like most of the wedding guests, in the Royal Oak. We also met up with Christine, one of our friends from Warwickshire, who was holidaying in the area, who would also be at the nuptials.

The Wedding – 4 p.m. ‘til late on the 14th August 2002. Really enjoyable. More like a party than a wedding. Ian was Best Man and John gave Jen away and read a very appropriate piece of poetry by Simon Armitage called Map Reference. And what an appropriate cake.

Top of Page