CAMPING IN SNOWDONIA
AT 6.45 A.M. on Thursday, 10 April, the school launched its first camping project, when a small party of seniors established camp at Owern Gof Isaf Farm, in the Nant Ffrancon Pass in North Wales. After pitching tents, the tired and hungry group who had travelled overnight from Euston to Bangor were revived with their first camp meal of porridge, bacon and eggs and were soon eager to sample some hill walking. A route to Llyn Ogwen was planned to include Little Tryfan - a sharp outcrop of rock in peak form and a replica of the parent mountain Tryfan. To their great delight, the boys found two climbers traversing the Girdle Route, about 150 ft. up. This provided an excellent lesson in delicate rock climbing, demonstrating correct echnique on small footholds, pressure handholds, spike and shoulder belays, running belays, and numerous other points in the art of rock climbing.
This expedition to North Wales was regarded primarily as a means of providing training in the use of lightweight camping equipment, and offering opportunities of gaining some experience in hill walking and elementary rock climbing. The Welsh weather proved true to form and provided the full range from hot tranquil periods of glorious sunshine to lurid grey days of torrential rain and high winds. After a sound camp routine, which covered the care of tents, bedding, Primus stoves and camp cooking, in four small groups, had been established and tested under these trying weather conditions, the interests of the party centred on rock climbing. Some experience in hill walking had already been gained on good walks to Cwm Idwal, to the Heather Terrace on the east face of Tryfan via the Miner's Track from Llyn Bochlwyd, and on the southern slopes of Carnedd Dafydd on Easter Sunday, when swiftly descending clouds necessitated some compass work which produced surprising results.
With this and some practice in the fundamental principles of climbing technique on some rocks near the farm as basic training, it was decided to climb Tryfan. Thus on Easter Monday after an early breakfast, the party left camp in brilliant sunshine for the long trek along the Heather Terrace to the start of the Gashed Crag route. After six of the party, in two groups of three, roped up and had cleared the first pitch of this popular climb, the others proceeded along the Heather Terrace, round the Far South Peak for some good scrambling to the summit. By the time the second group had cleared the last pitch of the six hundred feet of crags of ancient volcanic lava, rain was falling heavily, and the mountain completely shrouded in dense cloud. It blotted out the fine view of the gigantic amphitheatre of Cwm Idwal, the hanging valley of Bochlwyd, Cwm Tryfan, and all the distinctive characteristics of glacial terrain that can be observed from the top of those two landmarks-the twin ten-foot perpendicular blocks known as Adam and Eve.
The morning to break camp arrived all too soon. The North Wales camp had afforded opportunities of meeting new people, speaking a new tongue in new scenes, doing new things in new ways, discovering for oneself a new way of living and travelling cheaply, not only in this country but wherever one may wish, and above all the opportunity of enjoying more fresh air than perhaps all the other sports and pastimes put together. If the success of the project were to be measured by the number and variety of these experiences, then it would undoubtedly be considered worthwhile.