Part 4 – 15 Peaks – No Messing

If you go to the trouble to shave your legs and know your FTP power in watts then you are probably a pretty keen cyclist. Which means that by most peoples standards, you are pretty fit. Lots of people who go to the gym lots are also pretty fit, as are many footballers, 10k runners etc. When attempting to climb several high, rocky mountains in one trip, fitness alone just won’t do.

Cycling blesses the legs but also teaches you how to look after yourself on a big day out and that is a pretty transferable skill.  Knowing to eat before you get hungry, never go in the wrong direction, wrap up before you get cold, strip off before you sweat and keep drinking makes a big difference over ten or more hours of exercise. This means any fit cyclist could easily handle some pretty amazing mountain days. The way I see it, if you are pretty fit, you have a responsibility to go out and do the Welsh 3000s. It’s an adventure between mates at its most beautiful. It’s a feat of endurance and most importantly it’s free.

This time I was determined to hit all 15 of the Welsh 3000ft mountains in a single weekend.  I had two fellow cyclists from my club come along with me. We carried only what we needed and nothing more.  Trainers, pork pies and one map between three. We didn’t run but we did walk quickly. We drank at the same time as each other, ate at the same time as each other and pissed at the same time as each other.  We stayed warm when it was cold and didn’t sweat too much when it got hot. The cumulative benefit of working together to eliminate ‘faff’ and keep moving towards the next peak worked wonders.

Experience is a fine thing and so after many visits to Snowdonia, I finally managed to get all 15 mountains summited in just one weekend. Once you know what to do, it’s pretty easy really.

The only problem was that it made me realise that I really ought to do it in just one long day.

 


On Friday night we bivvied up behind the Pen-y-Pass YHA. It was a great bivvy. We had some wine out of tin mugs and slept pretty well. It rained lightly in the morning but it was time to get up then anyway. This was free.

We paid for the car park (£4 for four hours) and did the first loop before we ran out of time.

We then drove to the Ogwen valley for the second loop and parked on the A5 for free.

We camped at Ogwen Valley YHA. It was inexpensive (less than £10 and worth it for showers/toilets somewhere warm to sit in the evening).

We parked at the car park near Corwen for free on the Sunday. Then had a little wash in a puddle and drove home.

Very cheap and very fun.

 

 

Part 1 – Five Clueless Teenagers Climb Snowdon ‘Fast and Light’

This is the first installment in in the story of my obsession with the mountains of North Wales. At the time, I didn’t think that it would lead to multipitch climbing, crampon envy and more recently, completing a vegan ultra-marathon. This article breaks the usual thingswhatihavedone rules in that these photos aren’t taken with a phone, this story takes place in the Nokia-Age. These photos were taken with a wind-on disposable camera.

In the year 2005 I called up some lads on their parent’s landlines and told them that they Continue reading “Part 1 – Five Clueless Teenagers Climb Snowdon ‘Fast and Light’”

Part 2 – Welsh 3000’s in Two Days

It’s 2011. I’d completed a few of the classics by now, National 3 peaks, Yorkshire 3 peaks etc and so started to look for the next challenge. I wondered what other attention grabbing ticklists there were to complete in Wales.  After all, my very first mountain was in Snowdon and my curiosity about those other outlying summits had been growing ever since.

A quick google search revealed that those neglected peaks did indeed have names and not only was it was possible to climb to to the top of them but the highest 15 mountains in Wales were all in the same corner of Snowdonia, and that it was possible to visit all of them in just two days (it is actually possible to do them all in one go but more on that later). The Welsh 3,000’s (three thousand feet above sea level) sounded intimidating but just the sort of Continue reading “Part 2 – Welsh 3000’s in Two Days”

4 Cyclists in a Van – 100 Greatest Climbs Wales Edition

The van was visible above the ugly fence panels. Parked across the block of prefabricated garages and illuminated by the orange streetlight it looked pretty big. Feargal was hungry and therefore angry. Ollie had a rough day at work and also hadn’t eaten. I had spent the afternoon scouring Strava and making a list of objectives to be displayed in the back of the van. Matt didn’t know what to expect but had packed his trusty up-cycled bowl.

This was it – four lads, four bikes, three days, one van and fifteen of Wales’ most offensive stretches of tarmac.

Continue reading “4 Cyclists in a Van – 100 Greatest Climbs Wales Edition”

Two nights for zero pounds in the Black Mountains

I bloody love Wales. I’m not really sure when it started. Actually it was probably pretty early on if I think about it. As a child I loved fantasy so to find out that within a few hours drive there was a country with mountains, forests and waterfalls was pretty damn captivating. A short family holiday revealed it had it’s own completely unpronounceable language written on the roads, clouds that were so low you couldn’t see the hills behind and it was not in the slightest bit glamorous. A good indicator of that fact is that we could afford to go there. It was definitely the sort of place for an adventure. There is even a bloody dragon on the flag.
Continue reading “Two nights for zero pounds in the Black Mountains”

Head to the Peak District for a Friday Night Bivvy on Beeley Moor

Walking from my classroom towards the school gates on a warm Friday in July I found myself looking through my phone book for lads who might be free for a night out. Two positive responses and a short commute and I was in my garage stuffing my bivvy bag, sleeping bag, head torch and now battered map of the White Peak into a small backpack. I raided the kitchen and found Continue reading “Head to the Peak District for a Friday Night Bivvy on Beeley Moor”

Norway – “It’s nice here mate” – Part 1

A nice early train to Manchester Airport. I preferred to snooze rather than start the ball rolling on my book. The last Hemingway I read had nearly consumed the whole holiday. Norwegian is a fantastic airline. The seats are more spacious, the boarding relaxed and I got my first glace at the Norwegian populace. They look noticeably healthier than the last fuselage sample I took – a Ryan Air flight Continue reading “Norway – “It’s nice here mate” – Part 1″