Hey gang, James here (resident instructor, social media man and adventure writer) at Original Wild. Thanks for checking in on our latest goings-on and hopefully, by the end of this blog, you will feel inspired to get out and create your own adventure this autumn! Just because the temperature has dropped a little and the grey clouds have returned, it doesn’t mean you should hibernate until the spring; in fact – it’s quite the opposite!
Each year, to mark the end of our paddle season, and to give thanks back to our team, we embark on an awesome few days away somewhere adventurous. Previous trips have included the highlands of Scotland, the rivers of Dartmoor and the misty hills of South Wales. This time, however, it was time to head due North-North-West from Bath and aim for the breathtaking glacial landscapes of Snowdonia.
The adventure started with a delightful 6-hour stint on motorways and B-roads, weaving our way on and off the suggested Google Maps route to second guess the Friday traffic. This was largely unsuccessful but we did manage to see a whole lot of Telford. So that’s all good.
A quick stop for a toilet break and a bite to eat kept us going for the rest of the journey until we finally reached the smooth surface of the A5, somewhere near Shrewsbury. From here it was plain sailing into the stunning landscapes highly-revered by British mountain dwellers.
We arrived just in time for the dark to softly immerse the small cabin we had booked for our stay in North Wales. A log cabin (now clad in forest green corrugated sheet metal) that has been standing on the site for over 100 years; pretty damn impressive given the wind that howls through the glacial valley in which it resides! With the drive done and the beds bagsied (no, *you* grow up), it was time to chill out with a couple of beers and wait for the morning sun.
Despite the morning sun never actually arriving (we essentially had 4 days of gale force winds and sideways rain – typical Wales!), it was time to kit up and head out. Today was a day of personal achievements and we each set out independently to do exactly what we wanted to. This turned out to be a combination of running, scrambling, micro-navigation, mountain walking and sandwich eating. The final option being arguably the most important.
Most of our activities centred around Pen Yr Ole Wen and included varying levels of visibility, with largely wet feet and cold hands by the end of the day. Still, beer and communal warm food awaited our arrival back at base.
The strong winds howled for most of the night, intermittently questioning the structural integrity of our temporary home. Our cabin stood true, however, and the warmth of our sleeping bags made the space ever-more cosy of a morning. On day two we got the band back together and decided to check out a Grade 2 scramble around Cwm Idwal that would take us up towards Devil’s Kitchen. Castell y Geifr was the route and let me tell you, it provides some pretty damn fine views of the Ogwen Valley!
Grade two scrambling can be a little spicy so definitely research the route if you’re planning on going. The wind and rain gave this even more kick so appropriate equipment should definitely be worn if you find yourself in bad weather. We started and finished this route at the Ogwen Cottage – ideal for warm coffees and tasty sausage rolls!
After another evening of business development (cloaked fairly liberally in local ale and snacks), it was time for our final full day in stunning Snowdonia; this time Tryfan was on the cards. We had all summited Tryfan before, mostly via the grade one scramble up the north face, so we set out for something different.
On the east side of this rugged mountain sits the aptly named ‘Heather Terrace’. After hiking up a near vertical hill to get there, we managed to find our starting point gulley and, in turn, Bastow Buttress Variant. This particular route is either a Grade 2+ or a Grade 3 – depending on who you ask. UKC describes it as a Grade 3, so we’ll definitely take that!
The wind and rain had pretty much disappeared for our final foray so we could enjoy this scramble a little more than the previous day. The rock was dry and grippy, the views were plentiful and the rib provided an enjoyable route up onto the north face of Tryan. We even got to eat our sandwiches at the top without being blown around too much – success!
Another few days and another successful trip for the Original Wild team. North Wales has officially been ticked off the location list for our team expeditions; and what a time it was! If you’d like to see more then check out our Instagram highlight reel here.
If you can think of any awesome locations for next years team expedition then let us know in the comments below! Until next time – stay safe, stay adventurous. X