Welsh 1000m Peaks race… kind of

The event I’ve been sporadically training for in the past few months turned out to be a bit of a washout. Rain, rain and more rain was the order of the day, and said rain meant that only two of the five 1000m peaks were actually visited on the day. The race took place on 9 June.

The evening before, all the competitors received an email stating that the summit of Glyder Fawr would be missed out, and instead of the route over the Gribin ridge, the Miner’s track would be taken up Cwm Tryfan and over and down to Pen-y-Pass.

When we arrived on the morning, however, little route cards were being given out which indicated a completely changed route, with a low-level route completely bypassing the Carnedds and heading along the North Wales Coastal Path to Bethesda, before taking the old road up to Ogwen Cottage. Many were not happy and out of the 180 entries, less than 100 started.

Despite the route change, I still enjoyed the first 10 miles of road and trial running and arrived at Ogwen Cottage in just over 1 hour, feeling fresh and still full of energy. I helped myself to some flapjack that was being given out, and headed up to Bwlch Tryfan and onto the Miner’s Track. The rain was pretty ridiculous, and the outflow to Llyn Bochlwyd was more a case of wading across a thigh-high stream, rather than the hopping across stepping stones that it normally is.

The Miner’s Track had became a not-so-small stream and the descent to the Pen-y-Gwryd was quite tricky, both because of the wet rock and boggy grass. My legs still felt okay on the run up the road to Pen-y-Pass and I hit the checkpoint at around the 3 hours mark.

It was then just a matter of weaving in and out of the tourists heading up the Pyg Track (easier said than done!), before branching off to the summit of Carnedd Ugain, where the marhsalls looked to be having a cosy time huddled in a tent, and then along to the finish on top of Snowdon. I finished in 4 hours 24 minutes, about 55 minutes behind the winner and in 30th position.

Pyg Track

Me heading up the Pyg Track

The summit cafe was packed full, which a good number of shivering fell runners and mountaineers. I met my parents there who thankfully had dry clothes and an insulated jacket for me to change into before the long walk down into Llanberis, for a well-earned coffee in Pete’s Eats.

Should the route have been changed? In my opinion, definitely not, but with the death in the 2007 race and the recent death in the Buttermere-Sailbeck fell race, I can understand the organiser’s decision – a decision that must be an extremely tough one to make.