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Thursday 21st July 1966 - Snowdon Horseshoe, via Crib Goch

Our attempt at the Snowdon Horseshoe, via Crib Goch, during the Whit Holiday expedition was largely frustrated by bad weather and the need to walk the 5 ¼ miles each way from Capel Curig. With the agreement, indeed approval, of the headmaster it was decided to make another attempt late in the term. Those taking part were:

Ian Wenton  Ian Ellison  Elizabeth Cropper  Ian Darlington 
John Dean  Maurice Kime  Carol Fernley  Janice Howard 
Bill Grundy   Kevin James  Margaret Farrell   Julian McIntosh
Robert Wiltshire   Jill Frith  Neil Crawford   Seniors:  
Jimmy Fox  Paul Buxcey  Nick Grundy  Anthony Grundy
Andrew Mason  Julie Flunder   Graham Booth   Judith Baker 
Geoff' Price   Jackie Dawson   Leslie Sweeney   T F Mason 
Peter Wilson  Andrew Barwell   Steve Taylor   Leaders:
 David Payne   Ian Jackson  Paul Quayle  Miss L M Dunn
David Ashley   David Ibbatson   Robert Browning   R Booth 
      F R Mason 

It was planned to leave school at 7.30am, picking up extra passengers at the Horse Shoe and Miss Dunn at Altrincham. Unfortunately, by some little mental aberration, our leader said Wilmslow when he was referring to Altrincham, and not until we arrived at Wilmslow did he realise his mistake - this caused some little delay. However Miss Dunn was collected, albeit a little late, and we continued our journey to Pen-y-Pass, arriving there at a little after midday, about an hour later than expected.

The weather was beautiful - scarcely a cloud in the deep blue sky; these conditions occur only a few times a year and by luck we had chosen one of these times. Doffing items of clothing to suit the weather, we moved a short distance from the car park to eat our lunch and plan our campaign.

WH1962-035 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales
WH1962-035 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales

It was decided that Tony Mason, supported by Mr Booth and Anthony Grundy, should lead a group in a clockwise direction; ie Lleweda - Snowdon - Crib Goch, while Mr FR (Mason) with Miss Dunn should take the remainder in the opposite circuit. In fact Tony's group comprised only thirteen members, the remaining twenty three accompanying Mr Mason. The circuit was completed successfully by both groups.

The larger party climbed easily towards the foot of the steep scramble to Crib Goch - the climb was successfully accomplished with no untoward incidents. The traverse of the ridge was also made without trouble, although several inexperienced members were a little ‘put off' by the height and steep drop on either side.

In the wonderful clear weather fine views were obtained in all directions. With clear weather and dry rock it was decided to go over, instead of around, the Pinnacles as we usually do - this was our first time over the Pinnacles.

WH1962-040 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales
WH1962-040 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales

Progress was very slow, as we had included several beginners in the group, partly, it must be admitted, to make up the numbers in the bus and so reduce the fare. Several of these beginners tired very quickly and soon one member collected a painful crop of blisters.

Finally the summit of Snowdon was reached; the smaller party had arrived about twenty minutes earlier at about 4.20pm. There were quite a number of walkers/climbers on the mountain and, of course in such fine weather, swarms of trippers having made the ascent by the train; there was quite a lot of litter.

Had some difficulty in collecting the party for the steep drop down to the Watkin Path, but this was done and the descent completed. Time was getting short, it being after 5.0pm by the time we started down. Tony's party had set off towards Crib Goch some twenty minutes earlier. Peter Wilson made his own way down by the Pyg Track so as to ‘phone Chester to contact his mother who expected to meet him there at about 7.0 to 8.0pm.

WH1962-041 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales
WH1962-041 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales

There were some objections to going down to the Watkin Path and over Llewedd. Members were getting weary and footsore, and wanted the easier route down the Pyg Track; however we had come a long way intent on completing the Horse Shoe, and so it was decided to press on.

Over Llewedd progress became slower and slower - one or two members were only making a few hundred yards between rests. Elizabeth Cropper in particular was suffering from painful blisters - probably due to wearing borrowed boots. Eventually the several humps of Llewedd were traversed and the descent made to the miner's track and so back to Pen-y-Pass by about 8.25pm; roughly three hours later than planned.

Tony's group were waiting for us having returned about half an hour earlier. They had had the more difficult circuit, being faced with the stiff climb up to Llewedd and then that demoralising scramble from Watkin Path to the summit of Snowdon. However theirs was a smaller group and included no lame ducks. Tony reported that the scramble to the summit had tested them, but they were fortified by the knowledge that it would then be all downhill.

WH1962-042 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales
WH1962-042 an image from a 1962 holiday in Wales

The large group had actually seen Tony's party from Crib Goch, as they were traversing Llewedd. The descent and transverse of Crib Goch were safely accomplished and enjoyed by this group. One minor accident occurred to John Dean when nearing Pen-y-Pass - showing off a bit the ‘mug' ran off the end of a rock and tumbled 6 - 8 feet, hurting his leg.

On arrival at Pen-y-Pass, the leader ‘phoned Mrs McIntosh asking her to inform waiting parents to expect us around 11-30pm - this was successful. We eventually reached school at about 10 minutes past midnight, having dropped Miss Dunn off at Altrincham and Peter Wilson at Chester.

There were several cars waiting and all members were safely dispersed to their homes. All parents accepted the late return quite cheerfully - there were no unpleasant repercussions.

Altogether a highly successful and memorable expedition.

Marple Places