So it was that time of year again for HSX to visit North Wales and the beautiful landscapes of Snowdonia, leaving at the standard time of 1800 (on the dot! very uncommon for a HSX trip) from Hampshire and heading for the Cornel Scout Centre near Trefriw; half an hour’s drive from Betws-y-Coed.
Arriving weary after the six-hour drive, the group went to bed with anticipation for a good weekend’s worth of climbing and walking to satisfy the appetite. The next morning after a spot of brekkie, two groups were formed; the climbing contingent headed up by Dave, and the Nepal lot that were to take on Mount Snowdon via the Watkins Path during the morning, with a few Quality Shopping Hours later on. Both teams headed to the same place to begin the day, with the Nepal team splitting down the middle and meeting up for lunch later on. At this point it is worth mentioning that the team I was in, although ascending the steeper route to the summit, actually managed to make it before the other team and so can claim victory! After a quick photo opportunity on the summit (not wanting to spend too long there due to the vast crowds brought there by the steam train and the attraction of a warm visitor’s centre!) we had lunch and watched the clouds lift to expose the summit (which only a few months earlier saw Sir Chris Bonington emotionally carry the Olympic Flame to the summit during the torch relay on an amazing cloudless day). After saying farewell we descended the mountain with a sense of achievement; Snowdon being the first mountain for some members of the group and the first taste of dizzy euphoria that you experience when summiting mountains. It is hoped that all the members of Nepal 2013 will get to experience this on a grander scale when summiting Island Peak next year, which gave me this greatest feeling back in 2007 at the age of 16.
After reaching the car park again, the time was now to wait for the climbers to arrive back, which took too long, so the group (minus Rosemary and Rich) went to Betws-y-Coed for some shopping and a cup of tea. This was a slight mistake, since Rich had the lodge key, which we of course didn’t realise until we couldn’t open the door, so had a long wait outside until they arrived. We then had a very pleasant evening meal of caribbean chicken with rice very exotic and were given a presentation by the Nepal 2013 team on the effects of altitude on the body and what they might expect when going to the Himalayas.
The next morning, Nepal 2013 left on foot from Cornel with the aim of taking in the Summit of Crimpau, where awesome views of Snowdon, Tryfan and the Carneddau could be seen, topped off by excellent weather and equally excellent company. The group then stopped for a while to learn about the flora and fauna of Snowdonia, micro-nav and rope-work before heading back to Cornel lodge (‘cough cough’ on time… ‘cough’) and prepared for the journey back to Hampshire in our new team attire, tired but content.