Flying Greens & Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Trip Start Oct 10, 2008
80Trip End Ongoing
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The wind was blowing quite chill and strong already. I had thought I would leave my down jacket behind, but I thought better of it once I got out of the car. In the end I put it on, and didn't dare take it off for the rest of the day.
The path heads up in a gentle rise for a mile or two, past sheep and icy puddles
Behind the bothy, a fierce stream was draining from the lake. The challenge was to get across it, without getting either wet feet or swept away. Someone had placed a climbing ladder across the raging torrent. It wasn't actually hard to get across, just a test of confidence. We all managed it, except Max, who leapt across instead.
The path started to rise more steeply from this point, and as it did so, the wind started to blow more strongly too. The higher we got, the stronger it blew. At the first coffee stop, Paul's lunchbox caught a thermal and flew off into the air. He chased it half way back to the bothy before pinning it down. Not too much further on, John's hat was whisked off his head by the wind. Paul, once again, hared off across the heather to retrieve it.
As we got closer to the ridge, the gusts from the wind became so strong, they were not only making us stagger, but occasionally necessitating hunkering down and waiting for the blast to pass, otherwise we would have been blown over
By the time we hit the ridge, the brace position was every few steps and hunkering down meant kneeling or sitting on the floor, occasionally holding onto some conveniently placed rock to avoid being blown away. When I tried to eat my sandwiches, bits of lettuce and tuna flew off into the distance and disappeared over the edge of the ridge - flying greens and tomatoes at the whistle stop cafe - they whistled away but didn't stop.
The top of Arenig Fawr (854m) has a walled sheltered area. There is a trig point and a memorial to a squadron of American pilots that crashed there during WWII. There is also a panoramic view of the Arenig range, and despite the wind, the visibility was excellent.
After our sterling work getting up to the summit, we headed straight back down. The gusts eased as we got lower, but Paul still ended up chasing his gloves more than once and everyone had to hold on to their hats.
We recrossed the stream, revisited the bothy and headed back down to the car.