I ran a Mountain Skills course through my business Wild Walks Wales over the weekend. Two clients were booked in, Rob Puxley and Nick Davies, and we were also joined by Ben Wells on the first day.
Day one saw us heading up the Minffordd Path on Cadair Idris. We soon climbed above the low cloud to get a superb view of a brocken spectre above the Pencoed Pillar giving everyone a taste of just how magical a day in the mountains can be.
Our route took us to the summit of Craig Cwm Amarch where the candidates got to practice basic navigation skills as well as having a bit of a scramble on the rocks just below the summit. We then heading for Cyfrwy’s rocky little top before doubling back slightly for the ascent of Cadair Idris’ main summit, Pen y Gadair.
Hill fog had been building in the valleys to the east all day, giving an amazing mass of cloud below us. We navigated over to various obscure points on the map as the light faded and the mist rolled in.
Darkness saw us descending beside the fence from Mynydd Moel back into the cwm above Minffordd. A truly amazing day on this stunning mountain – what a great first day of the course for all!
On the second day of the course we met at the edge of the forest at Crawcwellt on the east side of the mighty Rhinogydd range. Here forest tracks gave us a chance to further practice handrailing skills whilst also timing distances.
Nick and Rob navigated to the lovely waters of Llyn Du high up on Rhinog Fawr. We were now well engulfed by the cloud, and the slight breeze was bringing cold air with it, sapping heat from our bodies. The group shelter came out so that we could plan our ascent in relative comfort, and the lads soon had a route ready to go to the summit. They led us up a boulder-choked gully out onto a shoulder just below the summit, then up through broken rocks and scree to the top.
Here we had a break while we chatted about personal equipment, and also emergency procedures, before I led them back to Llyn Du for the walk out through the trees to the car, just as light was beginning to fade.
If you’d like to find out more about the Mountain Training Hill and Mountain Skills Scheme, or would like to book on our next course, go to http://www.wildwalkswales.co.uk/HillMountainSkills.html