Buckley running club is obviously primarily concerned with running; but not just about racing – running in general. In a slight departure from a race report here I present a recreational aside.Whilst many members regularly meet for group runs on Sundays, last week was a rare event for me: the opportunity to run with a group of fellow members without actually worrying about how fast I was going!
In this instance it was a run across the Carneddau range from the coast to the Ogwen valley. So after a brisk drive to Ogwen we left a car behind and travelled onwards to the coast to start our travails. The weather on the coast was fairly typical for late Spring; cool, breezy and intermittent breaks in the cloud. However given a fair portion of the run would be at 3,000 or more feet we carried several layers of clothing as well as hats and gloves. The terrain was fairly gentle and forgiving initially; simply forest tracks on a gradual incline offered few challenges and the chance to chat. Yet before long we left the forests behind and moved onto a more arduous track; steeper; narrower; more rocky.
We were following a stream up to higher ground and after some debate and analysis probably followed this route too far before tacking right into the Carneddau proper. From this point onwards things began to remind me why I don’t often run here! The cloud dropped quickly; visibility reducing to less than 100m in places and without tracks to follow required frequent stops to consider the best way forward. Fortunately we had 1000m race veteran Simon Roberts with us which greatly helped navigation matters and so most navigation issues were short-lived. Yet the weather did become problematic; we were glad to reach shelter on Carneddau Llewelyn and take the opportunity to get a respite from the sun-less conditions which blasted us with a sub-zero wind chill constantly.
The going following this did become easier; we were able to pick up a more frequently travelled path and had no further issues with navigation and reached the summit of Carnedd Dafydd without further issue. All that remained was then was to decide a suitable line down to Ogwen – via a grassy descent that was boggy in places but otherwise straightforward. A gentle jog then took us back to the car. Overall a very useful experience from a number of perspectives.
Firstly it was a great reminder how hyperthermia is possible even in the summer months and thus proper preparation is essential to any longer run. Secondly that high featureless terrain can make navigation tricky for anyone and running on a bearing is a little risky at times. Finally and more importantly it was nice to have the opportunity to enjoy a run with club mates rather than just racing; thoroughly recommended.
A big thank you to Andy, Steve, Hayley and Simon R for “enjoying” the Carneddau with me last week!