Sat 5th Aug - Sun 6th Aug, 2006
Hut Adventures/Curry Meet
Members: Dave Bishop, Dave Wylie, Dave Dillon, James Richardson, David Whittingham, Anna Neubert, Roger Daley, John Evans, Peter Walker, Alan Liverpool Jones, James Hartley, Al Metelko, Jenny Varley, Duncan Lee, Vicky Alderton, Joanne Castick, Midge Castick, John Castick, Frank Williams, Margaret Williams, Michelle Harvie, Mark Garrod, Trish Cranston, Fiona Roy, Rob Clark.
Guests: Nantida Wisawyodhin, Kirsten Mundt, Tony Mays, Annie Pettifer, Steve Bowker, Kai Ren Ong, Mark Heslop, Piotr Remes, Kate Horgan, Bill Wessel.
Even with four or five abstainers, that's lot of curry! Handy Tip: When two kilograms of rice is boiled in water, it will feed many people...
Many thanks to my glamorous assistants: Chillimeister Richardson, 'Chopper' Clark, Good Vibes Chappati Wallah Whittingham and the Weeping Onion Slicer Roy.
Oh well, I thought on Friday night when arriving at the gate to Ty-Powdwr in heavy clag, thick drizzle sheeting across dripping trees and slate walls... The curse strikes again! A couple of weeks earlier I climbed on Lliwedd, over the thronging summit of Yr Wyddfa in my sandals, sweltering down the Llanberis path in 30-degree heat.
Clogwyn Du'r Arddu was resplendent with the evening sun catching the top of the cliff, heh heh, I thought - at last Bow-Shaped Slab, Chimney Climb, Curving Crack, maybe The Corner will be mine at the curry meet... It wasn't to be, again. Just make the curry son, cease your deluded reverie. A large turnout for the meet, alarmingly so I thought, with many of the usual KMC suspects bolstered by an even less sane team of people (not a bad achievement that) who fully intended to carry out their mission to swim, swim and swim again across Llyn after Llyn! Saturday was a blur of chopping, frying, simmering, stirring and boiling, miraculously (thanks to an additional shopping trip and reinforcements provided by James) there was more than sufficient food. Furthermore, the late return of the Bishop high-altitude party (a late start and a long day up and out of Cwm Idwal and thence over the ridge to Ty-Powdwr - good effort!) and the mighty Michelle and her aquatic cohorts allowed two separate sittings for dinner, thus avoiding any overcrowding issues! As regards activities undertaken, "No Sheep Til Buxton" declared Duncan, and the weather improved dramatically through the day after a grim start (assuming you were outside!). The Hut Manager and Tony ventured onto the slate in the afternoon, and there were walking parties of various shapes and sizes, not forgetting the daunting 'Welsh Freeze' contingent which was successfully completed by several brave souls. Sunday looked more promising, with a warning of a front of rain approaching in the afternoon... Numerous folk headed for Llanberis Pass, with Tony & James climbing on Clogwyn y Grochan (Nea, Phantom Rib), Duncan, Vicky, Rob & Kirsten on Dinas Mot (West Rib, The Cracks); Mr. Whittingham and myself opted for Dinas Cromlech (the very fine Dives/Better Things). The weather approached as predicted, Dave and myself departed; on reaching the road we were rewarded with a spectacular dive-bombing altercation between two Peregrines fighting over a captured vole... or was it the last Samosa?
The Welsh Freeze - Michelle Harvie
3 mountains, 5 lakes, no wetsuit !
Present: Michelle Harvie, Mark Garrod, Kai Ren Ong (guest), Dave Wylie, Kirsten, Frank & Margaret Wiiliams, Midge , Joanne and John Castick, Dave Bish , Katie, James, Roger Daley, Annie Pettifer , Jenny Varley, Al Metelko, Trish Cranston , Dave Dillon, Hugh and Bernadette Mckenna (guests). Doggy paddlers: Sandy, Texie & Hecla.
Michelle Harvie's Welsh Freeze was successfully completed on Saturday August 5th 2006, to raise money for Arthritis Research.
It involved climbing the three highest peaks in Snowdonia: Carnedd Llewelyn(1064m), Glyder Fawr (999m) and, of course, Snowdon (1085m), plus swimming five major mountain lakes on route: Llyn Ogwen (1.6km at 300m), Ffynnon Lloer (600m at 650m), Llyn Idwal (1km at 400 m), Cwmffynnon (0.5km at 400m) and Glasylyn (0.5km at 600m).
All of this added up to about 30km of walking with 2400m of ascent/descent and a total of about 3.6km of cool swimming - all without a wet suit!
5.30 am: Some late night KMC revellers had only just gone to bed as we set off for Ogwen in a misty rainy dawn. 12 minutes later than scheduled (6.12 am), Midge, Joanne, Frank, Margaret and Kai ren set Mark & I off in the water. I had imagined the sun rising over Llyn Ogwen to mark the start of the Freeze, but at least there was no mist on the lake. Mark kindly gave me a head start, as he sorted his goggles and contemplated taking the plunge. A sneak preview of swimming in a warm Llyn Ogwen two sunny Sundays previously had convinced me I did not need to wear a wet suit. The lake felt so much colder this morning and every inch of the freezing challenge it was. No wonder people had been so generous with sponsorship. Cold swimmers need to swim faster, but it becomes increasingly more difficult as your muscles tie up. The last 400 metres were swim or sink. Progressively slower strokes finally got us to the east end of the lake 40 minutes later where we were greeted and dressed by our fantastic support team. There was obvious concern at the state of the Freezees. After all, this was only the first challenge, it was not even 7.00 am yet. Thirty minutes of warming tea, and a few jelly babies later Mark, Kai ren and myself set off for Carnedd Llwellyn.
It was still drizzling, yet humid with poor visibility, but Marks's navigation got us to the summit at 9.22am. A 3-minute summit photo-call before heading back to Ffynnon Lloer for the second swim. Strange how unappealing a 630m lake can appear when you are already wet and cold. Freeze by name and Freeze by nature. Off with wet clothes, on with the wet swimming costumes and in we went. It was cold (15.7°C) but after 10 minutes we were back on land. The sun had even appeared for the first time. Dave Bish appeared from the ridge, disappointed to have missed the dip, but along with Roger Daley joined us for the next stage of the challenge.
Mark, I and Kai enjoyed the luxury of a dry sock change and tea at the car, before heading up to at Idwal where we were joined by seven swimmers and 9 other supporters, not forgetting 3 doggy paddlers (Sandy, Texie and Hecla) which gave us a great morale boost. The swimmers, Midge, Joanne, Kirsten, Annie, Dave B, Roger D, Al, myself, Mark Sandy and Hecla picked our way into the rocky north east end of Idwal. This KMC flotilla swam to the end of the clear almost balmy lake (18.8°C), it was quite a sight. Meanwhile our fantastic support team (Kai ren, Frank, Margaret, Dave W, Jenny, James, Petre, Kate, Hugh and Bernadette) carried sacks and boots round to the south end.
Various afternoon plans were hatched. Mark, myself, set off with Kirsten and Dave W (who were now up for the rest of the challenge). While James, plus Hugh, Bernadette and Texie from Manchester Triathlon club joined us for the ascent up Devil's kitchen. It was now getting warm and humid, the day was improving. We could see the next swimming challenge Llyn Cymffynon from the summit of Glyder Fawr, the heat even made it look quite appealing. We were met at the NW shore by Midge and Joanne, who were back for more swimming, and John who was a fantastic bag carrier. It was getting pretty steamy now, even warm enough to lure Dave W in for a dip! (building up for next year perhaps ?)
Down to Pen y Pass and more tea (note Sabina) . The final Snowdon team Mark, Me, Kai ren, Dave W & Kirsten, set off up the Miners path to Glaslyn. We were asked many times "were we doing the 3 peaks? " No" we replied "something a bit more unique which involved swimming". A slightly bemused walker on the Miner's track said she had just seen a lone swimmer in Glaslyn, who was not even wearing a wet suit. We soon realised that the lone swimmer was indeed Trish who thought she had missed us but was getting her Glaslyn tick anyway. Dave nervously watched from the shore hoping he would not be called upon for lifeguard duties. Glaslyn is an evocative swimming pool with its amphitheatre setting. Its clear blue cool waters (15.4°C), are great for chilling champagne (for the summit) and as Trish discovered, pretty good at chilling swimmers.
We decided to swim 2 widths to save transporting baggage (~600 metres). Despite already completing 1½ lengths Trish joined us for these widths. Trish claims to have her 25 yard swimming certificate, she certainly swam at least 1200m. By the time Trish emerged from the water she was extremely cold and has been officially awarded the Freeze award for the getting closest to hypothermia.
The last push up took us to a sunny ridge. 13 hours after setting off we had arrived at our final summit, a bit misty, but great to be there. I probably felt less tired than my mum had done some 43 years ago when she and my father climbed Snowdon with no food or water with mum wearing slip on shoes and a pencil skirt! Just think of all the cups of tea and nibbles we had had on the way. Having declined the kind offer of a cloggy Buggy descent from Dave, we had the long walk out. Many people had called us mad, even insane during the day but the mountain biker pushing his bike up to the summit of Snowdon at 8.00pm who was not even sure if he would be able to even ride it down seemed a bit more crazy to me. Finally we reached Llanberis at 9.15pm after 15 entertaining hours. Midge had kindly shuffled Mark's car, which meant we were back in time to attempt to finish the vats of marvellous curry cooked by John and team, a few glasses of wine, closely followed by a good nights sleep.
THE (INAUGURAL) WELSH FREEZE - AUGUST 5th 2006
|LOCATION GRID REF ALT (m) ARR. TIME DEP. TIME WATER TEMP WALKERS (FROM) NOTE: Kai, Michelle, Mark walked it all SWIMMERS (FROM) NOTE: Michelle & Mark swam them all DOGS|
|W End Llyn Ogwen 651604 300 6:12 6:17 16.2°C Margaret, Frank, Midge, Joanne None!|
|E End Llyn Ogwen 666605 300 6:57 7:33|
|Carnedd Llewellyn 684644 1064 9:22 9:25|
|N End Ffynnon Lloer 664623 670 10:24 10:30 15.7°C None|
|S End Ffynnon Lloer 664620 670 10:37 10:50 Dave B, Roger D|
|E End Llyn Ogwen 666605 300 11:25 12:00 Dave B, Roger D|
|NE End Llyn Idwal 645598 380 12:20 12:30 18.8°C Jenny, James, Dave W, Frank, Margaret, Kate, Petre, Hugh, Bernadette Dave B, Roger D, Annie, Kirsten, Al, Joanne, Midge Texie, Sandy, (Rex?)|
|S End Llyn Idwal (main area) 644594 380 12:45 13:10 Kirsten, James, Dave W, Hugh, Bernadette Texie|
|Glyder Fawr 643579 999 14:27 14:33 Kirsten, Dave W|
|NW Edge Llyn Cymffynnon 647564 385 15:25 15:34 17.6°C John, Margaret Midge, Joanne, Dave W, Kirsten|
|S End Llyn Cymffynnon 648560 385 15:44 15:52 Midge, Joanne, Dave W, Kirsten, John, Margaret|
|Pen-Y-Pass 647557 360 16:15 16:30 Kirsten, Dave W|
|N Edge Glaslyn (1st width) 617547 600 17:35 17:40 15.4°C Dave D, Dave W Kirsten, Trish|
|SE Edge Glaslyn (2nd width) 618545 600 17:48 17:48 15.4°C Dave D, Dave W Kirsten, Trish|
|N Egde Glaslyn 617547 600 17:56 18:10 Kirsten, Dave W, Trish, Dave D|
|Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa 609544 1085 19:15 19:30 Kirsten, Dave W, Trish, Dave D|
|Llanberis 583597 110 21:15|
Thanks to all for their brilliant support, encouragement, cups of tea (Dave Bish), chocolate cakes (Dave W) and generous contributions. I know Mark and I really enjoyed the day (well most of it), and hope everyone else did.
The next day I was especially pleased to see the winner of the Llyn Ogwen fishing competition had caught a large scary looking eel. Thankfully it did not appear to be a man eating Moray and there didn't seem to be any pike around. Legend says that mad mermaids and mermen are sometimes seen in these Welsh mountain lakes. Sounds a bit unlikely to me?
If anyone still wants to sponsor, I will be collecting sponsorship for The Arthritis Research Campaign personally or you may prefer to donate via the JustGiving Web Page (check out the glamorous picture!).
Looking forward to the next fun challenge, any ideas?
From some chilly moments on the Freeze:
High summer in Snowdonia (as defined by the Pete's Eats flyer above the box where the hut fees go)... the images of dry mountain crags, cloud-free summits, glittering sea...possibly... however, this will definitely be an opportunity to eat some curry regardless of weather conditions outside. With a slice of luck there will be big, dry north-facing crags to climb on (needless to say those facing in other directions will most likely be dry)... Other activities could include the obvious walking, scrambling, cycling and perhaps swimming - but with a bit of imagination there could be goat-fancying, slate sculpture or even another round of Cloggy buggying! As regards the food arrangements, I shall (with my glamorous assistants) prepare several vegetarian curry dishes, with rice, bread, poppadoms and possibly the odd samosa. The cost will be 2 pounds per head. I'll be in the pub prior to the meet to garner levels of interest/hunger and offer weather-related pots and plans.
Saturday - Welsh Freeze - Michelle Harvie
As you might gather the Welsh Freeze is a cool aquatic version of the well known walking challenge. Starting at Ogwen cottage the plan is to ascend the highest peaks in the Carneddau (Carnedd Llewelyn), the Glyders (Glyder Fawr) and of course Snowdon, which takes in ~ 30 K of walking, 2400 m of ascent & descent.
The freeze bit involves swimming the length of 5 major high mountain lakes on route : Llyn Ogwen (1.6 k at 300 m ), Ffynnon Lloer (600m at 650 m), Llyn Idwal (1 k , at 400 m), Cwmffynnon (0.5 k at 400m) and Glasylyn (0.5 k at 600m!). A total of 3.6 k of cool swimming.
Sadly I lost my mum to complications from her rheumatoid arthritis last November. Since being diagnosed at the age of 40, Mum had suffered with increasing pain and disability of arthritis for 25 years, and lost the fight with this terrible disease at the age of 66. This event is to raise monies for The Arthritis Research Campaign, as a tribute to my mum. This is an overlooked cause, which struggles to get much needed support. The plan is to finish on Snowdon, which is the only mountain my mum ever climbed!
The Freeze will take place on Saturday 5th August. It will be a long day! So the plan to start at ~6.00 is from Ogwen. After all, we need to get back to the hut in time for a warming John Evans curry. Want to be involved?
If you want to come and walk, swim for any or the entire event, hold my towel, carry flask of tea, take pictures, please let me know. Should be a fun day - for some anyway!
Want to sponsor me?
I will be collecting sponsorship for The Arthritis Research Campaign personally or you may prefer to donate via www.justgiving.com/michelleharvie/ (check out the glamorous picture!). I look forward to hearing from you.