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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Wednesday 11th - Friday 13th August 2021
Tryfan - Bristly Ridge

This was a solo dash to Snowdonia on a newly MOT'd bike. I booked 2 nights at the Heights Bunkhouse in Llanberis, packed a couple of bags and after a beautiful 6 hour bike ride was basking in the pouring Welsh rain.
After a 5 mile stroll around the lake at Llanberis I took to my bed and woke to a fine day and the promise of scares aplenty on my chosen route which would take me right over Tryfan and up the infamous Bristly Ridge via Sinister Gully (if I can find it) to the summit of Glyder Fach.
This was my third time up Tryfan and I did it completely differently to the other two times. In fact there are a thousand and one ways up this wonderful climbing frame and all of them are slightly perilous and exciting.
Bristly Ridge is a step up from Tryfan but still counts as a Grade 1 scramble. I had no one to follow or to guide me up, so just did the best route I could find. That was firstly up (and up and up) an almost vertical climb for about 100 feet or so. It wasn't a time for looking down or panicking (although the vertiginous view down and off to Tryfan was fantastic) - just controlling my breath, trying to relax completely and keep calm. This may sound ridiculous when you're clinging to a cliff but it's the only way. On several occasions I felt myself getting anxious when confronted by a difficult, seemingly impossible section - the more anxious I got the more impossible it seemed, but each time I calmed myself down I was able to figure out the next step. The climb is more than just a number of hand holds, it's a puzzle; like a series of Crystal Maze tests and it makes scrambling an exercise of body and mind.
There is a large pinnacle to climb over and it's akin to climbing the spire on Lincoln Cathedral. The hand holds are good so you have to get gung ho and just get stuck in. The next pinnacle can't be climbed over - I know, I tried for quite a while before going around it entirely on an exposed section.
After what seemed like days I found myself climbing a rocky chimney and could see daylight  up ahead. Just as I got near the top a little girl's face came into view! She had climbed The Glyders with her family and was playing on the rocks where I suddenly popped out.

The purpose of this trip was ostensibly to test myself against a new foe (Bristly Ridge) but the primary purpose was to shock myself into getting fitter. Lockdown and illness has taken it's toll over the past 2 years and I needed to test myself again. Well, I made the climb and I thoroughly enjoyed it but strewth was this old frame tired at the summit. I made my way back down via the easiest route available, rode back down the Llanberis Pass, wrapped myself round a Chinese takeaway, had a hot shower and rapidly fell asleep. The ride home the next day was fast and enjoyable but the following few days saw every muscle in my body screaming at me and asking me over and over - WHY?
I've got two trips to the Brecons this year where I'm either leading mountain days or teaching adults navigation, plus I'm on the Search & Rescue team for the Sussex Downsman, so now I'm in full training (that's why) and ready to even start running. Is 60 a good age to start running? Is it a good age for climbing Bristly Ridge? I really couldn't answer.


The walk around the lake is well worth the effort. Even in dismal weather it was joy.


The next day - Coming down from Tryfan


There it is - Bristly Ridge


My route up. Looks simple from here.


A lofty perch three quarters of the way up.
That's Tryfan in the middle.


Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.