Tuesday 9th August 2016 started as would the rest of our days in this youth hostel - with a breakfast of porridge. We had discovered that the hostel reception sold individual pots of instant porridge in a variety of flavours, so we got into the habit of buying one each as part of our evening routine. It had to be the evening routine, as we wanted to be up, breakfasted and away before the hostel reception opened most days.
Jimmy directed me around the roads to south of the Snowdon range. From the A4085, we headed up a long minor lane towards the village of Croesor, and then sharp right down another long lane, this one steadily rising. We parked on a verge close to a gate beyond which was a green track we would take to pick up the ridge. This provided a long but fairly easy initial walk with little by way of metres to ascend for the first mile or so. There was a sudden shift in effort and exertion levels as the path/track faded away and the gradient steepened as we approached the ridge. A ridge that we never seemed to get any nearer to, despite the sweat pouring from our brows.
Jimmy had been spotted by me heading in the wrong direction, uncharacteristically for him. I shouted him back as I could see the clear line to the lowest point of the ridge directly ahead, and Jimmy was veering towards much steeper and more difficult terrain on the side of the mountain. Despairingly for me, Jimmy simply altered his course to head directly, and steeply uphill to attain a point higher on the ridge to that I was heading towards, and stay way ahead of me!
The ridge began as a broad grassy whaleback, but could be seen narrowing very quickly as height was gained. A couple of landmarks in the form of a folly, and then a steep rocky outcrop were passed, following which the ridge narrowed further and a good path clung close to its apex. I was OK with this - but it was only just within my comfort zone! My pace quickened as did my heart rate as I tried to maintain my stare directly ahead at the oncoming triangulation pillar! As usual, upon reaching the summit, Jimmy had already been there for quite a few minutes.
The summit area itself was slightly broader than the connecting ridge path we had approached by, so was comfortable enough for the brief stay at the top. Our radio activation was conducted using only our 2m handheld transceivers. As it turned out, we both worked exactly the same four stations as each other, and three of those were activating SOTA summits across in Northern Ireland. No-one else came back to the CQ calls after we had four contacts each, so we called it a day. Perhaps I was a little anxious to get on with the narrow ridge part of the initial descent and get it out of the way. I told Jimmy to wait for me at the folly and we could take lunch there.
The folly was a good place to stop for lunch and a rest, for it provided shelter, but was psychologically significant in that we knew that only easy walking remained for the mile or so back to the car. Soup of the day from the flask was Sainsbury's "Taste The Difference" seafood chowder. Between us, we polished off a litre of that lovely stuff in one sitting, before getting on with the rest of the hike.
On the way back, we called in at the Tyn-y-Coed Hotel for a beer. After a refreshing at the hostel, we went back out to the Bryn Tych Inn for our evening meal and catch-up with the Rio Olympic Games. The plan for the next morning was to call in on our old friend from Macclesfield, "Commsy" - Sean MW3PZO - and activate his local summit Mynydd Mawr GW/NW-026.