Last minute adventures often turn out to be the best.
The plans are loose, you go by the weather and make the most of what you have.
I met up with Michael Jones, Salomon Elite runner (I hope he remembered I’m very much average) to run some of his Ultra Trail Snowdonia course and catch up, given the last time we saw each other he was smashed after taking 3rd at Ben Nevis Ultra, a few weeks after 8th at CCC….beast!Arriving in a bleak Snowdonia, our plan had been to run a section up over Pen Yr Ole Wen and the Carnedd, but given they were all but covered in clouds. Not much fun. So, Y Garn and the Devil’s Kitchen was picked as it was showing some promise.
Well, I’ll sound middle class, but my heated seats were hard to drag myself away from when the wind was battening the car and everyone was walking around dressed ready to head off on a Shackleton expedition.
Full waterproofs were immediately on, along with headwear and gloves… I can’t remember the last time I wore this much kit!
Running easy, Cwn Idwal was awash with photographers. Given the weather, I couldn’t think of anything worse. We may have looked less sensible, given we travelled light, but at least we were moving.
The wet rock gave way to ice and fresh pow, well, by Welsh standards in November. The going wasn’t fast as the ground beneath was like an ice rink, covered in jagged rocks, ready to pierce clothing and skin.
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Exploring the hills of Ogwyn Valley with @apexrunning.co . Running sections of his up & coming Ultra Trail Snowdonia, wet rock gave way to snow & ice storms, white outs & fresh snow disguising the rocky outcrops . I managed to take a good whipper on a slab, luckily avoiding injury, as the rocks in the Devil’s Kitchen proved treacherous to descend on . More to come from a wild day in the high country . @salomonrunning #timetoplay #ultratrailsnowdonia #trailrunning #snow #winter #WeAreLifeProof #APEXARMY #protectourwinters
When things got a little deeper, I was glad to have aggressive lugs, cutting through the light airy frozen layer, seeking grip. The descent was a mixture of slip and slid, before the thaw line kicked in and mud developed.
Feet starting to feel wet, we turned in the Devil’s Kitchen and rock that reminded me of my run on Pike O Blisco. ****!!
Greasy & so slippy, our prowess as runners was reduced to bambi like walkers, carefully navigating the descent.
That was until I took a whipper, falling down to a slab with a thud. Landing on my right side, I’d been able to shift my weight and offer myself some limited protection. A bashed palm and elbow were my only points of dull pain, and that was over quickly. No damage, thanks!From this point, the trail become more run-able and we got a descent jog on around the left hand side of the lake, following the winding trail, passing walkers & descending down to a hearty browny from the shop.
We hadn’t run for miles or smashed out fast times, but the mood was chilled, the mountain air intoxicating and the goal enjoyable.
More mountain weekends are on the cards, I know my legs, lungs & mind needs them.