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The Snowdon Horseshoe - 12 May 2004

The Snowdon Horseshoe is said to be one of the best ridge walks outside of Scotland and one of the nations most famous high level mountain walking challenges, the route basically has everything you would want to see and do in a day on the hills.

The sun was bright in the sky as we unloaded the car and geared up in the Pen-y-pass carpark, the weather forcast was positive and hopefully good for the rest of the day. We left the car park and headed off on the Pyg Track and were soon striped down to our shirtsleeves walking at a good pace - a good pace I think is one where you cann walk and talk. Upon reaching Bwlch y Moch, 'the Pass of the Pigs' we had a decision to make, to continue along the Pyg Tack or head for Crib Goch and the Snowdon Horseshoe. The good weather and a growing stream of people walking the lower level paths forced our hand, the Snowdon Horseshoe was on!

 

Finding a way up Crib Gochs craggy buttress wasn't easy and I tried a right, quickly left and right once again. We would scramble past people only to later see them ahead of us, others would shoot past us only to find themselves after a short passage of time looking up once again at our arses. The ridge was made, a hairy place, sticking to the left we past the summit growing and gaining confidence in this precipitous place. Getting momentarily stuck behind a sobbing woman wasn't so bad as it allowed us to suck in the panoramic views and glance down upon the glacial lakes of Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn. There is and odd tale associated with these steep cliffs above the uncanny waters of Llyn Llydaw. A sheep once fell down to a shelf on these precipitous rocks and a shepherd, who was a famous climber, with infinate trouble made his way to the stricken sheep. To his astonishment he found there was an opening into the rock, only partially hidden by loose turf and stones. He cleared these away and saw a vast cave stretching into the bowels of the mountain. There was a bright light within its depths; he looked in and saw a host of warriors without number, all asleep, with white hazel wands in their hands. He watched for a long time to see if they would show any signs of walking, but none stirred. seeing that they were so fast asleep, he felt a great desire to enter the cave and explore it. But as he was squeezing in he struck his head against a bell suspended just above the entrance inside. It rang so that every corner of the immense cavern rang again. All the warriors woke up, and, springing to their feet gave forth a terrific shout. This so frightened the shepherd that he made off as quickly as he could and nearly broke his neck on his way down the face of the precipice. From that time on he never enjoyed a day's good health. Nobody has since dared as much as to approach the mouth of the Cave of the Young Men of Snowdonia.

 

More scrambling bought us the summit of Crib y Ddysgl and we paused to eat sandwhiches watching over the Welsh Coast and the Isle of Anglesey beyond. The summit of Snowdon was reached after a short saunter from our picnic place. The trig point was crowded with standing room only, but how great the views are, the horseshoe, the lakes, the mountains and the coast. All the paths to the summit were exposed to us and we decided to continue to Y Lliwed. In the uppermost part of Cwm Tregalan is a small green hill, or rather an eminence or bump if you will, but what is commonly called a Boncyn. Between that green boncyn and the Glogwyn Du, (Black Precipice), is a bog, the depth of which no one has ever succeeded in ascertaining, and a small village is fabled to have been swallowed up there.

 

Our descent off Snowdon's summit was slow and the trek to Y Lliwed tiresome, we watched a yellow search and rescue helicopter buzzing over Crib Goch; it bought home the dangers of the route along the knife edge ridge of Crib Goch. The final downhill section to the miners track was slow and completed with little conversation and the end of the trip celebrated in the carpark with chocolate bars and water!