The title of the post is what I now could do with after taking a foolish amount of exercise at the weekend courtesy of our dear friends David and Zoe and a big scary Welsh mountain named Tryfan. I don’t think I’ve ever climbed such a difficult hill, not that that is saying too much given my cautious nature and very modest Munro-count of somewhere around 20. (I’d like to say my vagueness about this number shows how I rise above the score-keeping mentality, but it’s just vagueness really.) Some Scottish hills are essentially big brown lumps (BIG brown lumps, mind, not to be sneezed at, though frequently sneezed on as they are high and windswept enough to be much colder at the top). Tryfan is not like that. It is a great jagged pile of rocks. Seen at first from the road it seems to be made of a light-coloured kryptonite, so many are its columns and buttresses, so insistent its verticality. One popular route involves scrambling all the way up the north ridge (scrambling being a mode of ascent short of actual rock-climbing but which definitely means using your hands as well as your legs). There are also numerous opportunities for actual climbing, with ropes and so forth. David was using his ascent with us partly to scope out all the wildly frightening cliffs he plans to gecko his way up on another occasion. Our route was the Heather Terrace. This is one of the easier routes because you are actually walking, if steeply, for most of it; it’s just when you get to the saddle under the twin summits that you have to start scrambling. Zoe was extremely kind and told me where to put my feet and, with the help of a light mist that tactfully concealed quite how much of that scrambling section there was, I made it to the summit. (Ken, by the way, was magnificent: he has long legs and good nerves and fairly bounded up.) At the very top there are two columns known as Adam and Eve and the traditional thing is to jump from one to the other, but not even David did this. He might have done if Zoe had let him.
Coming down the weather gradually cleared – it had only been a high cloud cover anyway, and didn’t shed the rain it seemed to threaten – and we were treated to extraordinary golden light picking out the fractured rocks and dry grasses and heathers of the cwms. We took a shallower path down so we had a bit more leisure to look around. As we descended into wetter ground Zoe noticed clusters of frog-spawn in the standing pools. It was an inspiringly beautiful and tough landscape; but not an empty or a remote one, for the A-road from the coast to Betws-y-Coed runs directly under Tryfan and the place was swarming with scramblers, climbers and walkers taking advantage of a fine and mild late March weekend.
Ken took lots of pictures of the area, our campsite and our walk: more Tryfan to follow.