Walking... Keeping it Safe, Fun, and Enjoyable.!

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A Fat Bloke Called Chris...

Well I'm err...a bit fat, and I love being in the mountains! I started walking a few summers ago, and the mountains really got hold of me. I love being up there, it really does let you clear your head and put the whole world into perspective. The views I have been privileged to witness are just breathtaking and I will never forget a single one of them.

Walking... Keeping it Safe, Fun, and Enjoyable.!

Walking is a really fun passtime, and I wholeheartedly recommend you try it! You'll see some truly breathtaking places, meet really friendly people and you'll get fitter too!

People of all levels of age / fitness can go walking it's simply a matter of starting with something not too strenuous and seeing how you get on.

However before you set of for a days walking there are some things that I would strongly advise...

Firstly, always,..ALWAYS...,did I mention ALWAYS?
Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. If possible leave a copy of the route you intend to take with someone and put rough timings on it too. That way if you were not to return in a timely manner someone is aware of it and has a rough idea of where people can start to look for you should you be in trouble.

Next get a pair of good walking boots..! Try them on! If possible (it may not be) wear them at every opportunity before actually heading into the hills. You'll want supple comfortable boots, blisters hurt! Waterproof boots will also be a huge bonus!

If you are heading into the countryside for the day, check the weather forecast, and dress accordingly. Layers are better than a thick jumper as you can regulate your temperature better by adding and removing a few. Waterproof outers are also a good investment... Something light that breathes but is waterproof will keep you warm when the wind picks up and its wet!

Have a map...have a compass... and most importantly learn how to use both. It's a lot simpler than most people realise but it is one of the best skills you can have if you lose your bearings. GPS units are handy too, but are prone to signal loss, and DEAD batteries can make them USELESS when you need them most!

Also get a whistle...get a REALLY loud whistle! In the countryside 6 blows on a whistle is the internationally recognised distress call, anyone who hears 6 blows on a whistle will come to help and summon any other aid you may need. So just blow 6 times, wait a couple of minutes, and repeat until aid comes. If anyone hearing you also has a whistle they may respond with 3 whistle blows.

Take food and most importantly WATER. I never go walking without at least 2L of water with me. Sip often and you'll really feel the benefits..and no you wont be running to the loo every 100yds dont worry. Your walking will have you losing water fast if you dont top up!

Take a mobile phone, just in case you need to contact anyone. (Though be aware that you may or may not have signal)

Finally it's not a race......
Take it in your own time...and stop often to really ENJOY the view!

Cregiau Glesion from Capel Curig

This is perhaps my most favourite walk in all of Snowdonia.  Although it isn't the highest, it just has stunning views down the Ogwen valley, coupled with some fantastic local views too.  Also, it is a quiet area from a walking perspectinve.  It would not be uncommon to walk for hours up here and not see another person all day.  You really get the mountains to yourself for the day.

I start my walk in the car park in Capel Curig (Still Free!!!!), and cross the road heading East over the gate into a field with a very well defined path.  The path leads up to the corner of the field and then along towards a gate to a small wooded section.

At a break in the trees, it's turn left and head straight up the hill.  This section will serve to warm up your legs and get you breathing!  At the top there's a style to cross, and procede north east along again a patchy path

Looking back down towards Capel Curig...

I cross a couple of rises, and head towards the end of a wall.  You can either follow along the wall now and take a later slope, I chose to take the rising path at the junction where you meet the wall. At the top you end up in a level gully and at this point I really recommend you turn around and look at the view behind you of Llynau Mymbyr and the Snowdon Horseshoe....just fantastic.  Click HERE for a Panoramic Photo...then scroll down to the image "The Path to Snowdon"

Or HERE for an even bigger version!
If your browser resizes it to fit your screen just click on the image to view at full size again!

Following the gully over a low wall you reach another style, which I just cross and keep going.  If you took the lower path before, you'll rise up to meet this style.

Continuing along the path which can be a little indistinct, a small body of water arrives on your left hand side.  The path skirts around to the right and eventually you'll reach the start of your ascent up Crimpiau.  Tryfan and the Glyders as well as some of the Carneddau will slowly start to apper in the distance.

Tryfan peeping into view....

Heading steadily up and you will reach a fantastic spot for breakfast, looking down on Llyn Crafnant and across to your next destination of Craig Wen.  From this spot you have and amazing view of most of the Glyders and the Carneddau all from a single spot.
Click HERE for a Panoramic Photo...then scroll down to the image "Crimpiau Pano"

Or HERE for an even bigger version!
If your browser resizes it to fit your screen just click on the image to view at full size again!

Good place for Brekkie!...

The next path is obvious, head down the slope then cross through the wall to rise up again onto the "Middle tier" of Craig Wen.  You can now stay on the middle tier, or if you like you can choose any way you like to summit Craig Wen also, before heading north to where the middle tier finishes.  The ground here can be a little "boggy" so waterproof footwear is recommended.  You'll see the obvious way to go and I follow a small stream straight up.  Then pick up on the path.  There are a couple of routes to choose from and you have you pick.  Once at the top again the path becomes clear.  I usually take on a bit of water now and once more take in the magnificent scenery.

Now I can see the final set of peaks in the "three humped" Cregiau Gleision.  The reservoir "Llyn Cowlydd" shows itself on the other side.  In good visibility this is a magnificent walk but in poor visibility it can be dangerous as the reservoir side edge is both steep and slippery.  In poor visibility I'd actually think carefully before doing the rest and would consider heading back the way I came which is still a fantastic way back.

The path is for the most part quite distinct, and runs along the tiers of Cregiau Gleision and at intervals the path cuts up throught the rocks to the next level.  The summit point is marked by a pile of stones...
 The summit with Tryfan stealing the show in the background...
 I must have rocks in my head...

After the summit, the path continues and some more fabulous views down to the reservoir and of some of the rock formations are around each corner...

Today I decided to go around the reservoir so I headed down.  The ground at lower levels gets REALLY boggy and for that reason its quite a long divert around to the head of the lake.  Even with the divert, you'll get wet feet unless you have waterproof boots.

From the other side of the lake it's just a casual stroll looking across to where I was a short time before, then finally saying goodbye to the lake and heading west towards the road.

If I did this again, the from this point I'd finish by heading back to the path I came from and back to Capel Curig over the same ground I came out.  It's just so much more visual than the walk along the road.