Free Ice Cream Here

There’s been a lot going on this week. It started with me getting a job in a café. So I’m going to be serving ice creams to Porthmadog 2 or 3 days a week. Our weekly budget will be happy.

My aunty Madeleine and my cousin Emmy came with us for our Friday Mountain walk. They greeted me with the most incredible double hug from the best huggers in the country. I was squished excitedly between two of my most favourite people ever!

emmy-rockMadeleine had asked for one of our big, epic, all-day, multi-peak specials (see posts Summertime and Group Therapy). So we did our best. It was a beautiful day and we ignored busy Snowdon in favour of the lesser known gem of the Nantle Ridge, supposedly the most beautiful ridge in Snowdonia. Actually you can’t ignore Snowdon at all, as it looms majestically behind you the whole way. After 5 peaks, leg sapping scrambles, and scary ridges, we headed down off track through bogs and along ancient railtracks to enter Beddgelert forest at dusk. Russell vehemently declined a ghost song. He said he would prefer we expended our energy on quickening our pace, though I think he was just too scared. We got to the cars in total darkness after an 8hr walk. Perfect preparation for our race the next day, the Pipe Dream Fell Race!

Our start was slightly inauspicious as Google maps authoritively and precisely directed us to completely the wrong place, instead of a village hall in Dolgarrog we found ourselves 5 miles away in a Co-op in LLanrwst. Then Nina got ridiculed (playfully) in the race briefing for asking ‘are there any hills’.

pipe-dreamBut infact she had a point, as the hill is actually a steep staircase of 300 concrete steps which run parallel to a massive black pipe (hence the name ‘Pipe Dream’). It was a great idea for a race. Everyone had to conform to single file up this and I found myself in 3rd place biting at the bit, when we got to the top I couldn’t contain myself and took off in the lead, a risky strategy for me as I have got lost a few times while leading Fell Races. I had enough time to strain my eyes into the distance to make sure I could always see the right way. At the end I came home quite abit infront but the claps were subdued. The organiser asked me if I’d got lost, I thought to myself ‘oh no not again!’ but the guys behind me vouched that I had not erred, the confusion was apparently because they were not expecting me to run so fast! I was wearing my GPS and it registered that I had run one of the kilometers in 2.24, which is sub 4 minute mile pace. Do I need to mention it was on a steep decline on firm roads? I won some wine which Nina made good use of to celebrate her new job, and an easter egg, which I made short work of to distract from aching thighs! Bit of press here Mud Sweat and Tears and Welsh Fell Runners Association.

Nina acquitted herself excellently to place 6th woman and is definitely improving in form and confidence, it was great for me that she had her family there to watch, as I felt the chances of a tantrum were more unlikely in their presence!

March seems to be Fell Race season around here, as we have at least 2 nearby races to choose from every week, so hopefully a few more coming soon! It is going to be great to spend the whole month inside Gelli and Snowdonia with no reason for any journeys away, and the weather has been simply stunning for the last three weeks…cue thunder and lightning eruption outside!

On the way back from the race, Emmy saw one of the lakes bathed in sunlight, and just had to jump in, a feat that Nina and I agreed was more challenging than the race we had just done, with the temperature having dropped to -2c that night.

Permission to use race photographs very kindly given by Alastair Tye

Digital assistance courtesy of the great guys at Porthmadog Computers, if you need to get online in Port, you know where to go!


10 thoughts on “Free Ice Cream Here

  1. Why does it always look as though it’s only ever clear when i’m not there! Damn Russell, the instant you said you “took of in the lead”, I was all like “he’s going to get lost again!”, was not only reassured to hear that that hadn’t happened but that you had absolutely SMASHED IT! Proud of you both!

  2. Pingback: From First to Last | Gelli Power

  3. Evening both, Craig (Pipe Dream organiser ) here, I just connected to your blog via the WFRA site, and have just spent a while finding out what you crazy pair are up to. Also got to read your report of your Pipe Dream experience, it amused me greatly! An excellent win Russell, and I hope you can come back and surely smash the record next year on the race’s 10th anniversary.

    I’m very interested to hear where you’re living. I did the same 13 years ago in my mountain cottage, it was a wonderful adventure. We did though have an old diesel single cylinder Lister generator which we turned on early morning and late at night. Sadly I was eventually persuaded to go for an electric connection and the adventure came to an end. No more oil lamps and gas lights (oh yes all mod cons there). No more walking out wearing a dressing gown at 5am in freezing weather, having my hands actually stick to the genny’s frozen crank handle. Such good times!

    See you at a race soon perhaps.


    • Wow – great to get your comment Craig. I myself am enjoying the memory of Pipe Dream more and more as the days go by and it gets further away! That was an insane start to a race. But I LOVED getting all the graft done in one fell swoop.

      We’re living just near Prenteg, with a view, courtesy of my dad’s family. It’s great to hear you’ve been through something similar. The experience must’ve made you the tough Eryri Harrier you are today!

      All the Best,

  4. Well done Russell for winning, Nina for a great run time, Krysy and Emmy for epic 8-hour march, Russell for your gentle care of them and Emmy for swimming in ice – you jolly, hardy lot, love to you all xxxHelen

    • Oh thanks for noticing that Mikey. I’ve been trying so hard to be like Victoria Beckham, I haven’t even had time to check out her recent clothes line! (is that what you call it?)

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