Scouts in Snowdonia Storms
Standing: Jim Stephens?, Eric Jones, Leighton Jones,
Mr Idris Jones, Melvyn H Davies, ‘Skip’ D Colin Davies
Kneeling: John Tomkins, Terry Evans, Jeffrey Hall
A SENIOR SCOUT expedition by the 9th Aberdare (Grammar School) Senior
Scout Troop took seven senior scouts and three scoutmasters to Caernarvonshire on the
weekend of April 6-8.
Plans had been made based on an exciting story in a book “The Murder of an
borrowed from the Aberdare Library. In this book walks and climbs in Snowdonia
At 5.30 p.m. on Friday they set off in fine style in a motor van. As they headed
north the evening was bright and the sun shone. As they travelled on, the weather worsened
and on arrival, six hours and 172 miles later, at Hafod in the Nant-Ffrancon Pass,
north-east of Snowdon, they set up camp in howling winds and driving rain.
Tents were erected in the light of flickering hurricane lamps and
all crept thankfully into their sleeping bags. While making a routine check of the
camp during the night one of the scoutmasters found one senior scout fast asleep with
his kit around him to keep out any draughts. The only thing missing was his tent, a
victim of the gale.
Dawned Saturday with the camping area dwarfed by the surrounding mountains. Tryfan
peak loomed above stretching upwards into the mists and cloud which covered its famous
‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’. It still blew and rained, making the breakfast
cereal fly like snowflakes off the dish. The excellent bacon, egg, tomato, black pudding,
bread and tea which followed made a fortifying meal, however.
At 9 a.m. the Union Jack was broken at the top of the flagpole, the day’s programme
was announced and Psalm 61 was read by one of the scoutmasters whose emphasis on the
phrase ‘Lead me to a rock which is higher than I’ was significant. Inspection
was then made to see that the party was properly clothed and equipped, the ropes and
ice axes shared out, and the party moved off.
In file the scouts moved slowly up the walk past the lake Llyn Idwal (where the
wind skittishly whirled the spray into miniature water- spouts), along the base of
the Idwal slabs, up the steep, scree slopes of the Glyders, until the first break was
called at the base of the fissure known far and wide as the Devil’s Kitchen.
Here the party roped up and while experienced climbers pitted their wits against the
tricks of nature in the Devil’s Kitchen, the scout party, using ice axes to the
full, climbed the adjoining snow-covered ridge to the crest.
Here the full fury of the wet south-westerly winds was met and on each side the
mist banks reached downwards. Undeterred and in good heart the party slogged on down
the south-westerly slope to Nant-Peris. It was not over yet as five-mile of roadway
winding uphill in the Llanberis Pass had to be covered. The party moved on and upwards
steadily, but well-weathered until the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel was reached. There, where
signatures of the masters, Sir John Hunt, Sir Edmund Hilary and others, adorn the ceiling
of the Everest Room, afternoon tea completed the hike.
Back again at camp, the havoc wrought by the weather was repaired and despite the
wind and rain, sleep came to all. Accommodation had been offered in a nearby scout-hut,
but that was not for the hardy 9th Aberdare, not one senior scout accepted the kind
offer of aid. Sunday morning, camp was broken and after attending divine service at
Capel Curig, the party began the return journey. Coincidence is strange; the expedition
stemmed from the book “The Murder of an Owl” and while they were travelling
back along the road outside Brecon a bird flew up from the road and followed behind
for a short distance, yes, an owl, abroad in daylight, but no, not the one in the book!
- NEXT TIME you read of juvenile delinquents, remember the scouts and many other
young people who make life worth living and prepare themselves to be good citizens.