Fellow blogger LensScaper and I have both recently posted accounts of walking some of the less frequented hills of Snowdonia, but LensScaper sometimes follows routes the opposite way round to the way that I have walked them. What is really interesting in this (for me anyway) is that it gives an entirely different perspective on a route.
In his post ‘Walks on less frequented hills and paths’, LensScaper describes a reverse version of my Moel Hebog Ridge walk, which shows the walk in a completely different light (literally, as he had better light for photography!). Sometimes walking a route the other way round gives a completely different insight into the day.
However, it was the beginning of the ‘Walks on less frequented hills and paths’ post that grabbed me, with a traverse of the Nantlle Ridge, but from West to East which is the reverse direction to that which most walkers choose. Why one direction becomes favoured over another isn’t always obvious, but walkers and mountaineers can be ‘set in their ways’, and LensScaper’s post was like a breath of fresh air.
I’ve had a continuing ‘affair’ with the Nantlle Ridge for some years now, but (big confession) I’ve never done the complete ridge as a linear ‘end-to-end’ trip. This is simply a matter of logistics, as getting back to your transport from the finish is problematic. Sort that out, and it would be one of the best ridge walks in Wales, and a much better outing than a contrived circuit.
I had already recorded the Eastern Nantlle Ridge as part of the ongoing Snowdonia project for Discovery Walking Guides, and the images shown above come from that trip. The Western Nantlle Ridge was still waiting however, and I was itching to get there, not just to finish a section of the guide, but also to walk a couple of hills I had only seen from a distance.
The day started with a drive to Caernarfon, then on to Nebo just off the Porthmadog road. Nebo is a quiet and attractive village that makes a great launch pad to tackle the Western Nantlle Ridge. There were two simple aims – to record a short day walk from Nebo to Craig Cwm Silyn and back, and to record the final section of the Nantlle Ridge as a continuation from a start at Rhyd Ddu in the east
Although this sounds simple, I was in effect walking two routes, and recording two different tracklogs on GPS, and two different voice descriptions on the voice recorder. Although it sounds convoluted, it means that I can give route details for the Nebo walk, as well as a route description for the whole ridge from Rhyd Ddu to Nebo.
As missions go, it was about 95% successful, which isn’t bad. The problem this time was the same one that has hampered the guide project for all of this summer – we are talking British weather! Although we left Nebo in fair conditions, the mist was gathering as we reached high ground, and summit photographs were like a version of ’50 shades of Grey’ but without the sex! (If that reference doesn’t make sense, check it out on Google)
Of course the inevitable happened – on the return section the mist cleared, and I found myself looking several times at Craig Cwm Dulyn. Perhaps I should have included that as well to make a complete traverse of the Nantlle Ridge! I suspect another trip is on the cards.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
p.s. At least one person reading this will have been wondering whether or not I beat the post deadline – yes John, I just made it!
p.p.s. LensScaper isn’t a ‘one-dimensional’ poster of mountain views like me (though his mountain images are outstanding!) For a real treat, have a look at ‘On a Swing’.