Friday, May 16, 2008

Welsh 3000s Aged Six, 3 May 2008

Ben completes Welsh 3000s in an 18 hour day, 12,000 feet, 28 miles

My son Ben showed admirable endurance for a six year old to complete the Welsh 3000s in a day. After an exceptionally tiresome 5 hour journey on Friday night we walked in to Llyn Llydaw and camped on a mudflat. Ben's normal bedtime is 7pm, so the 10.30 pm arrival time wasn't what I had been planning, but at least we didn't have to worry about light keeping us awake! Six hours later Ben was a little reluctant to get up, but was chirpy enough by the time we set off up steep grass slopes to Bwlch y Moch. He seemed a little less sure than the last time we traversed the knife edge, but nevertheless enjoyed the scramble and the this set the tone for the day - a steady pace uphill and slow on the rocky descents. This was entirely understandable on the final drop off to Nant Peris, as I mistakenly chose a precipitous gully which looks horrendous on the map and is every bit as bad as it looks: 45 degree heather reaching up to Ben's chest with steeper ground to the side and underlain by slates. I don't think that it will get a mention in any books on walking with children, but it did provide much entertainment as Ben followed my instruction to let himself slide down grasping the heather as he went. The grass beneath allowed him to slide on his bottom so may be it should feature in fun walks with kids,but then again ... Down by the river an idyllic sward of grass made for a delightful picnic spot, before the real toil of the steep grassy slopes of Elidir. Diversionary chatter dealt with that and more dialogue about dinosaurs, parties and computer games eased us over Y Garn and Glyder Fawr. The climbing gene must be deeply entrenched in my son because he wasn't to be fobbed off with going round the Castle of The Winds but insisted on mounting the spiky pile, before scrabbling up the enormous boulders of Glyder Fach. Boulders are particularly awkward for young children and the scree beside Bristly Ridge isn't much easier, so this and the initial descent from Tryfan seemed somewhat painstaking. Still we arrived at Idwal in good spirits courtesy of more mind games (I bet no-ones played virtual computer games around the Welsh 3s before). The steep slopes of Pen yr Ole Wen did provide welcome relief for me from the continual chatter, as even Ben seemed to fall quiet. Once up, though, he resumed the banter and stalwart marching over the broad back of the Carneddau without so much as a hint of 'are we nearly there yet'. Only on Foel Fras, the last top, did he lose interest and that seemed to have as much to do with the time of day as anything. Two hours after bed time and still up on the tops. There's only so much a boy can take, and when he's had enough he wants his Mum. In the encroaching dark, Ben had reached that point so it was with some relief that we eventually arrived at the waiting car, 18 hours after starting, a proud Dad and a minute later, a sleeping son.

View Pictures Here

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