On Saturday 27th October, a group comprised of 9 UVIth, HRFW and PVP set off from school for Pen y pas, Snowdonia, North Wales, to undertake their Gold Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition.

After completing a long day of travelling, we had the opportunity to listen to a local mountain biking expert, in Capel Curig, talking about the ‘Megavalanche’ mountain bike race in Alpe D’Huez. On return to the hostel we planned our 8 hour route for the following day.

The following morning we commenced the expedition. The weather was miserable, with cold, unceasing rain all day, and hence the ascent up Tryfan was made particularly difficult. Tryfan was like no Duke of Edinburgh experience any of us had experienced before or had expected, the majority being rock climbing on very slippery surfaces. There was hardly a path, more a task of reaching the summit, by heading up. Unfortunately we were not able to follow all of our planned route on this day due to the adverse weather conditions and the fact that we were all soaked to the bone!

After a warm shower and some dinner we planned the second day of walking. This was particularly exciting as this was the day where we would ascend Snowdon via Crib Goch, having heard horror stories of this route. We started off from the hostel on the Pyg track towards Snowdon and soon turned onto the pathway to Crib Goch, the ‘knife edge’ ridge. Having ascended Tryfan on the first day in such miserable conditions, we felt all the more prepared to take on the second day in far more pleasant conditions. The climb was rocky, and vertical at points. But once at the top the view was absolutely spectacular, with a 360 degree view for miles. The ridge was challenging but the whole group was unbelievably satisfied on completion. We continued up to the top of Snowdon on similar rocky terrain where we were greeted by less pleasant weather which made us even more grateful for the steak pie and hot chocolate at the summit! Crib y Ddysgl was the last peak we climbed and then we descended down back to the hostel, racking up a total journey for that day along the Horseshoe of 8 hours and 25 minutes.

The entire group enjoyed it thoroughly and it was made all the greater by the hospitality shown to us by the hostel, in terms of food and allowing us to use their lounge to watch a couple of films! Many thanks to HRFW and PVP for taking and supervising us. We look forward eagerly to our assessed expedition to Morocco in December and perhaps even the Welsh 3000s post-A2 exams.

Will Yeeles
(UVI, East)