The Padarn country park is on the doorstep; botanists can explore
the oak woods or seek out some of Britain's rarest plants in the Idwal nature reserve. Walk down
through the Padarn and you will see the magnificent 12th century Dolbadarn Castle built by Llewelyn the
For students of industrial archeology, the National Slate Museum is within
walking distance, as are the awe inspiring remnants of the Dinorwic quarries.
Many of the slate tips that disfigured the landscape have now been returned (courtesy of an EU grant)
to the great quarry shafts from which they were blasted, then covered with earth and grassed over, so
that these days the hut is surrounded by grazing land and woods.
Railway enthusiasts can enthuse over two of the great little trains of Wales - The
Llanberis lake railway just below on the shores of Lake Padarn and of course the Snowdon Mountain
Ancient Caernarvon with its magnificent castle and Roman fort of Segontium is 10km away.
Drive over the Menai Bridge to Beaumaris to see Edward the First's last castle. In the town,
your party, could serve a short "sentence" in the 19th century gaol and see the treadmill
and condemned cell. Menai Bridge also houses a museum of childhood.
Anglesey's uncrowded beaches and sea air are 30 minutes drive away and birdwatchers
will want to migrate to South Stack's towering cliffs with their massed colonies of seabirds
around the light house.
Alternatively, more commercial seaside attractions are available at Llandudno, Criccieth,
Pwllheli and Abersoch.
Visits to two eco-friendly technology sites are near to hand, the Centre for Alternative
Technology in Machynlleth and, nearer, the pumped storage site at Dinorwic, hollowed from
the mountain practically beneath Ty Powdwr. Dinorwic is the most powerful station of its
type in the world, yet is invisible from the outside.
Concept and Sprit
In prep for my Bob Graham attempt last year, Geoff Hibbert and I ran the Welsh 3,000ers starting and finishing at Ty-Powdwr. Our time was 17½ hours although it has been done at least once before - in 19 hours by Roy Lee and Derek Seddon with a pint at the Vic en route!
This year I would like to establish an official pairs challenge (I'll lay on some kind of trophy) and a time to beat. The idea is that teams will be independent and no official timing, support, event organisation or pre-set route will be provided.
Easter (when the club has the hut) might be a weekend to have an initial few team attempts but the challenge will remain open until the week before the annual dinner (so that trophy can be awarded) then rolling annually onward. At the suggestion of Mark Garrod, the club president, the winners of the years' challenge have the option to set a different Ty-Powdwr based mountaineering challenge for the next year or to retain the H2H3K format.
Contenders should ideally stay a night at the hut whenever reconnoitring the route or competing and to broaden the uptake of this challenge the pair may contain one non-member,
Needless to say this challenge is pretty serious and will usually involve some running in the dark on slippery exposed rock and very likely bad weather. As such it harks back to the days when club members regularly did gnarly things like this.
The gauntlet is down.
The stylised, "as the crow flies route" (shown overleaf) is 29 miles (48km) (with 18,700ft (5,700m) of ascent). This route is impractical to follow in reality and all route choice and direction is left to the discretion of participants (Geoff and I thought our 2009 route was 35 miles).
Any route taken must start and finish at Ty Powdwr and cover all the following list of 15 peaks (teams are required to provide their split times to each summit as evidence) which can be ascended in any order and by any route:
- Garnedd Ugain/Crib y Ddysgl
- Crib Goch
- Glyder Fawr
- Glyder Fach
- Carnedd Llewelyn
- Foel Grach
- Garnedd Uchaf
- Yr Elen
- Carnedd Dafydd
- Pen yr Ole Wen
- Y Garn
- Elidir Fawr
The use of a GPS or Smartphone for recceing or attempts is considered outside the spirit of the challenge. Ideally teams would carry a phone to summon emergency help and should consider the Shelter on the NE side of Foel Grach summit as a refuge in case of incident on the remote Carneddau (there is a phone signal).
A map and compass are essential; a whistle, headtorch, full body cover and a first aid kit are advised as are either fell running trainers or walking boots (trainers are a dangerous choice). The final kitlist is left to the teams who are participating at their own risk (accepting the terms of BMC participation statement printed in the KMC handbook and on BMC website).
David Bish (2009)