Capel Curig

As usual, I’d been monitoring the forecasts obsessively, and the most favourable weather for the weekend was looking like North Wales. A plan was quickly formulated for some hiking, and we kept our fingers crossed that it’d stay dry enough for some scrambling too. Our hopes were to do something on Tryfan, a mountain in the Ogwen Valley of Snowdonia.

The view from the road of Tryfan's north ridge
The view from the road of Tryfan’s north ridge

We chose Capel Curig as our base, it’s close to Tryfan, there’s plenty of hiking close by, and a quick scan online showed a few campsites open in the area. We didn’t bother booking a pitch, things seemed quiet enough at this time of year to just turn up.

Damp day out

The weather was looking decidedly dicey, so a hike was on the cards. Since we don’t know the area very well, we thought we’d use it as an opportunity to do a bit of a recce. The walls of cloud surrounding us made navigating that bit more challenging.

Ah well, we knew which general direction to head in. Marching down the road, we hit some walking trails, then somehow found ourselves on boggy ground for the next few hours. Yep, we were completely lost.

Where are we? Hopelessly lost in Wales.
Where are we? Hopelessly lost in Wales.

If I’m being honest, it wasn’t a particularly pleasant day. At one point, I had to rescue my shoe, as it got sucked into a yet another squelchy mess. After a fair amount of frustrating uphill plodding, some landmarks finally revealed themselves, and we could get our bearings. At the very least, if it was clear and dry on Sunday, we’d know where to head for the start of our scramble. We trudged back to the van, with tired legs and waterlogged shoes.

The scrambling

The next morning, I opened the blinds to the welcome sight of sunshine. This was good news, and better still, our friends were heading over to join us. They’d done the route before, so we had the luxury of being able to follow them, ideal!

About ten minutes in, we realised that our previous day’s recce had been completely useless. The start was nowhere near where we thought it was! Good job our friends were here to do the route finding…

The grade 1 North Ridge scramble starts up some rocky steps, and soon enough, you’re having to put hand to rock in order to make progress. As we pawed our way upwards, the views got better, and we got lost in that lovely feeling of constant, full body motion.

The views got better as we got higher
The views got better as we got higher

The route itself is not overly prescriptive, you can deviate any number of ways, making it easier, or more challenging, as you please. A note of caution though, I’ve read that it’s easy to find yourself on a much harder scramble if you’re not paying attention. I was glad we had our friends to guide us, especially given our previous day’s route finding fail.

You can pretty much make up the route as you go along
You can pretty much make up the route as you go along

The only part I found a bit spicy, was a short down climb section. It’s a bit exposed, and down climbing comes about as naturally to me as mental arithmetic, i.e. not at all. It’s well worth wobbling past that bit though, as the scramble itself is a thing of real beauty.

We stopped at the top to eat our lunch and take it all in, then headed down for a brew and some Maltesers at the van. A top day out, which more than made up for our miserable, damp Saturday!

The campsite

We stayed at Dolgam campsite, about 5 miles away from Tryfan. It’s a popular site, but we managed to get the last hard standing pitch. Definitely worth booking if you’re planning to stay in the area. This particular pitch didn’t have an electric hook up, which is no bother with our leisure battery supply.

The site facilities are nice and clean, and the views (when you get them!) are beautiful. There’s a pub within walking distance, but not much else. The Pinnacle Cafe and shop is only a short drive (or ride) down the road if you’re in need of supplies though.

Thoughts on the trip

After being all casual about not booking the campsite, it then became a bit of a ‘thing’. I must’ve fretted about it from the moment we decided not to pre-book, until we finally drove onto the pitch. Lesson learned!

All in all, another fun weekender. The scrambling was a real highlight, and I was pleased that the weekend could be rescued. Not that the bog trotting episode was all that terrible, I mean, it’s all part of the adventure, isn’t it? Plus, we had a flask of coffee, and that makes everything better on a damp, grey day!

A nice, hot coffee to lift the spirits on a damp, grey day
A nice, hot coffee to lift the spirits on a damp, grey day

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