For the third time I tried to find the route up to this area which I climbed years ago as a boy. It was a school trip. I can’t say it was the beginning of my love for the hills because it wasn’t. Years passed before I did it again and it was initially sporadic.

Last year for the second time I climbed into a gully which is a nasty climbing route. You reach a point with a slippery wall of fourteen feet and a rope the safety of which is unsure. There’s no grip. You would have to use enormous upper body strength, momentum, and hope the rope is secure.

On this occasion I ended up rock climbing and got into moderately serious difficulty. Parts of it were technically comparable to three adjacent climbing routes at the Idwal Slabs called Faith, Hope, and Charity. We climbed those on the school trip. We used ropes, like everyone else.

Frustrated, shaky, disconsolate and confused again, I prepared to descend back to the easy path. It was safe but meant the loss of more time and energy. I skirted along the hillside and found a scree gully. I was in no mood for more improvisation, guess work, or danger. It seemed manageable however and I realised it was an indistinct but obviously recognised track to the top.

I had two memories of the school trip. Streams and waterfalls, and a closing in effect as rock faces either side imposed on the track. I realised I had found the route. I remembered a rock outcrop on the left where I was desperately tired and hoped it was the end of the climb. It wasn’t. I remembered further rocks on the right ten minutes later hoping for the same. Not quite.

After two years, three attempts and some danger, I had solved the problem. I found the scree gully route I climbed as a boy. I’d not seen it on maps, in books, or known by two knowledgeable locals whom I discussed this with last year.

When you reach the top the interest and beauty of the area continues. This is looking back to Pen yr Ole Wen which is the other side of the Llyn Ogwen valley. I walked to Y Garn and back down to Llyn Idwal. As a boy we went down to Lllyn Ogwen from this location, back to a minibus.

 

Devil's Kitchen Pool

Sunday June 14, 2015