#198 – Heather Terrace – A walk round Tryfan

Border Collie ‘Mist’ having fun on Heather Terrace

Border Collie ‘Mist’ having fun on Heather Terrace

Tryfan in North Wales is one of my favourite mountains, and I’ve never had a bad day there yet.   The classic route is the North Ridge, starting by the Milestone Buttress just above the A5 road – continuing over the summit from the North Ridge down to Bwlch Tryfan, then up Bristly Ridge and on to Glyder Fach, gives a mountain day made in heaven.

The East Face of Tryfan, showing Heather Terrace

The East Face of Tryfan, showing Heather Terrace

However, if a shorter day is called for, a walk round Tryfan rather than over Tryfan is a great alternative, especially when it includes Heather Terrace.    The terrace clings to the East Face of Tryfan, working its way through impressive rock scenery and giving a completely different aspect of the mountain – it’s certainly a route to tick once the North Ridge is crossed off the ‘to-do’ list.

 At the start – ‘Mist’ impatient to be off


At the start – ‘Mist’ impatient to be off

“Come on then – we haven’t got all day!”

“Come on then – we haven’t got all day!”

Heather Terrace is also a more ‘dog-friendly’ route than the North Ridge, and I’ve taken Border Collie ‘Mist’ on the terrace route before.    One thing for certain is that I am usually trailing behind, with ‘Mist’ heading out in front with a “Come on then – we haven’t got all day” look.

Looking up towards the North Ridge – not on the menu today

Looking up towards the North Ridge – not on the menu today

The view down from Heather Terrace towards Tryfan Bach (Little Tryfan)

The view down from Heather Terrace towards Tryfan Bach (Little Tryfan)

Heading on up Heather Terrace ….

Heading on up Heather Terrace ….

…. going across the East Face of Tryfan

…. going across the East Face of Tryfan

There are a couple of places on the terrace where the use of hands is necessary to make progress, so I use a harness for the dog’s safety and my peace of mind – when it gets steeper with a big drop below, it only takes a couple of seconds to clip her on to a short length of rope.

Looking up towards the summit

Looking up towards the summit

Almost at the end of Heather Terrace

Almost at the end of Heather Terrace

The view suddenly changes – Cwm Bochlwyd below and Y Garn in the distance

The view suddenly changes – Cwm Bochlwyd below and Y Garn in the distance

There was still some snow on the route on this trip, but it was never a problem – I was carrying an ice axe and crampons in case I decided to continue over Glyder Fach, but these were not needed on the terrace and added unnecessary weight to my pack.    As I reached the end of the terrace things became a little steeper before levelling out at last, giving a sudden change of view down to Cwm Bochlwyd below and Y Garn in the distance

Slik Pro-Mini tripod

Slik Pro-Mini tripod

Pro-Mini folded down

Pro-Mini folded down

One man and his dog ‘selfie’ using the Pro-Mini tripod and camera self-timer

One man and his dog ‘selfie’ using the Pro-Mini tripod and camera self-timer

After a well-deserved coffee it was time for a ‘selfie’.    I often wince as I watch mates balance several hundred £’s worth of camera on an icy rock above a big drop, and my solution is the neatest tripod on the planet – the Slik Pro-Mini tripod is a little beauty, which weighs next to nothing and folds down small enough to go in a rucksack pocket.   All I have to concentrate on is not tripping up as I dash back in to the picture, trying to beat the camera self-timer.

Last look up towards the summit

Last look up towards the summit

Then it was time to head down into Cwm Bochlwyd for the path back to Ogwen.    The route had been short in time and distance but high in quality, with sunny weather throughout.    All I need to do in future to make the day perfect is to train the dog how to belay on the steep bits, and how to operate a camera shutter.    On the other hand, perhaps not – she will be wanting to take over the blog next!

Heading for home

Heading for home

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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6 Responses to #198 – Heather Terrace – A walk round Tryfan

  1. I’m glad I don’t do selfies as I’d hate to put my precious old Zenith at risk!

    I tried Heather Terrace once in a mist and found the start but could I hell find the onward route. Had to give up in the end – I take it there are navigational difficulties at the start?
    Carol.

    • I could imagine you having problems in mist Carol – there are a couple of false starts, depending which way you approach from, and it takes about 50 metres or so to settle down to something resembling a terrace.

      Once you’re on it, navigation is a doddle – perhaps have a return trip, and take a selfie while you’re at it 😉

  2. LensScaper says:

    An iconic mountain for sure and one of my favourites. And you were blessed with beautiful weather too b-bwhat could be better!

  3. Pingback: #215 – A dogs life! (in 2016) | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

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