Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Solitude. The tents in Cwm Clyd with Pen-yr-Ole-Wen in the background
My Son Garry and I had planned to do a light weight trip to Snowdonia camping at the top of the Devils Kitchen Cliffs and walking back to the hut. The plan was to drive to the hut on Sunday leave the car and some gear at the hut and as there was a meet on we should be able to scrounge a lift to Ogwen Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately and to my disappointment Garry was unable to make the date arranged, so I asked good old reliable Stan Norton to fill in for him.
Again more disappointment the weather forecast was for fifty mile an hour winds, far more than out little tents were designed for, so the original trip was cancelled. But come Tuesday the forecast for the following weekend was looking very favourable, so after a few phone calls another plan was formed.
Garry informed me he could get Monday and Tuesday off work and drive up Monday morning, he planned to walk from Capel Curig over the Glyders and meet us at our camp site above The Devils Kitchen. Meanwhile Stan and I would drive up Sunday and as Dave Williams (DW2) was going to the hut for a few days he would give us a lift round to Ogwen and spend the first night with us by the twin lakes under Y-Garn, before going home Monday morning.
So with high pressure still forecast and after a quiet Sunday drive Stan and I arrived at Tal-y-Braich at lunchtime to meet Dave. Dave looked a bit down trodden, he had just heard a big job had come in and he was unable to take the Monday off work, never the less, he was able to take us round to Ogwen and drop us off. So with heavy hearts and even heaver packs we left Dave to drive home at about 3.30 and set off up past Idwal and on up the ridge to the twin lakes in Cwm Clyd. As I said the packs were heavy and we were old and unfit and in the heat, (even good weather has its drawbacks,) it took about two hours to do what I could have easily done in an hour a few years ago. Nevertheless we soon had the tents up choosing the most exposed position we could in the hope that the very light breeze would keep the midges away.
Looking down into the Black Pit, Llyn Idwal almost a 1,000 feet below, a lot of water has flowed over these boulders since I was down there.
Just before we turned in we watched a dramatic rescue on Tryfan involving a giant twin rotor Chinook helicopter hovering in the dark; let’s hope all was well for the participants.
We spent a very comfortable night over 2,000 feet up under the summit of Y-Garn and in the morning we had to let the tents dry out after a particularly heavy dew so we had a lazy start and didn’t leave our pitch until after noon. This was a mistake as we now had to carry the heavy packs up the rest of the ridge in the heat of the day. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the climb seemed to go on forever but eventually we arrived at the summit of Y-Garn. We expected a well earned rest near the cairn, unfortunately this was not to be as the whole of the summit was plastered with swarms of giant flying ants forcing us to move lower down, this is not what you expect over 3,100 feet up. After a rest I set off down following close to the edge of the East Ridge checking out old climbs and scrambles I had done in the past, before rejoining Stan and together we headed down to Llyn-y-Cwn.
Garry and Stan celebrate an early morning at the tents, the scree of Glyder Fawr top left and the stream, our water supply, about to disappear into the Devils Kitchen bottom right.
We followed the outlet of Llyn-y-Cwn for three or four hundred yards and pitched our tents close to where the stream vanishes into the great chasm of the Devils Kitchen or Twill Du. Twill Du means the Black Pit, it is also known as “Cegin y Cythraul” a Welsh translation of the devils kitchen. Down there in the depths there is 80 feet of V Diff climbing. Many years have passed since I was down in there but if you like easy routes with lots of drama and atmosphere, then every budding rock climber/mountaineer should put it on their tic list.
Despite the poor phone signal Garry had managed to get a text to me saying he had left Capel Curig at lunchtime and hoped to be with us for the evening meal. I was pretty hungry by about 5.00pm so I cooked my meal and sat down to eat on a handy boulder where I could look up at the scree coming off Glider Fawr. Sure enough Garry appeared on the horizon going at a fair rate of knots and was with us by 6.00pm.
The three musketeers on the summit of Y-Garn with Snowdon in the background.
Tuesday morning dawned very bright and cheerful and as we wanted to enjoy a leisurely walk back to the hut we made a reasonable early start with a steady walk back up to Y-Garn summit. No flying ants this time as there was now a slight chilly breeze. The weather was tremendous with brilliant views and I forgot to mention earlier that we could see the hills of Ireland out to sea way past Anglesey when we first arrived Sunday evening.
The day quickly heated up as we walked with still heavy packs despite using up most of our food, as we were following the watershed it was hard going and there is only so much water one can carry.
Homeward bound, the last trudge down the slopes of Elidir Fawr
The last trudge off Elidir began to get a bit wearisome and we were glad to spot the three friendly white chimneys of Tal-y-Braich as we approached the top quarry road. Soon we would be able to sit and hob nob with old friends and swap stories, probably the best part of a good trip.
It was a really good few days out in the hills with the weather gods being particularly kind to us, although we did complain it was too hot, there is just no pleasing some people. Thanks to Stan for his company and to Garry for keeping two Old Greybeards in check and for some of the photos.
It was a very successful and enjoyable time and we are discussing a similar four day linear trip in a remote part of Scotland in the spring.