GL3D - 10th Anniversary Snowdonia Tour

This year, the Great Lakeland 3 Day mountain marathon went on tour Wales! The reason for the relocation was that Joe Faulkner was taking part in the 10th anniversary of the event and leaving the organizing to friends. Joe assured me that this was the easier of the two options!?!?

The GL3D is a smaller, more relaxed and friendlier type of event when compared to the likes the OMM and the LAMM. The smaller numbers and "start when you are ready within reason" arrangement also keeps the follow the leader aspect also to a minimum.

The event centre was at Hendre Hall just outside Bangor. There was a party going on in another part of the farm buildings and whilst it was tempting to join in, I decided it was more sensible avoid the lure of the sounds / beer / dancing girls etc ...and head in the opposite direction to the tent !

DAY 1 (5th May)- 37km, with 2846m of ascent

Hendre Hall (622711) > Gate (634701) > Bwlch Ym Mhwll-le (637682) > Yr Elen (672 650) > Pen yr Ole Wen (654617) > Ogwen Cottage (649603) > Foel-Goch (628611) > Elidir Fawr (612612) > Llyn y Caseg Fraith (668582) > Gallt yr Ogof (685586) > Capel Curig

Whilst the GL3D is a solo event, there is nothing preventing folks from joining up to make it a team effort. With that in mind I joined up with Lesley Taylor (Adventure Racing Pal) and Jason Harrison (old mountaineering pal / work colleague).

Getting the rucky ready, it was obvious that it was going to be a warm one. This was confirmed climbing up Yr Elen as the sweat was pishing off me. Water was certainly going to be an issue! Just before the rocky descent towards Ogwen Cottage, we stopped to let regroup a little and let Lesley catch up - she arrived limping a bit and blood dripping from one hand. Apparently, she had cramped up and fallen (Jason & myself had rather ungentlemanly just ran on without looking back). Patched up, we descended (together this time) down to the next control and a water fill. Just before the road, David Rodgers passed at a fearsome (or should that be fearless) rate. At this control, we agreed to let Lesley continue at her own pace for a while and meet up at the camp.

There were a couple of route choices for the long ascent up to Foel Goch with some folks staying low and others were heading high early on. Not sure which was the best, but ours (the head high early choice) was sore ...very sore in fact. Gels, energy bars and more liquid helped but not much. The out and back control passed quicker than expected and Jason and I were soon on the homeward run along the Glyders towards the last control and the camp. The last km or so was along the road ...not what the legs were looking for.

Sadly, Lesley retired from the race towards the end of the day - a sensible decision though as she is racing in the World Championship Wilderness Adventure Race Challenge in a couple of weeks!

DAY 2 (6th May)33.6km / 2816m

Capel Curig (726577) > Moel Siabod (705546) > Llyn yr Adar (655481) > Nantgwynant (628506) > Yr Aran (604506) > Carnedd Ugain (610551) > Moel Berfedd (651556) > Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel (660557)

The first thing that stood out when marking up the map was distance between Moel Siabod and Llyn yr Adar - not only did it look long but also a little on the gnarly side. In the end whilst it was fairly time consuming it was very runnable with great views towards Snowdon and the second half of the route. We arrived at a lochan and initially agreed with another couple of guys that the control was missing. As we headed away, something was bugging me - the outflow of the lochan was going in the wrong direction and there should have been a small island visible i.e. we were at the wrong lochan ! Error corrected we headed down to the road and began the long ascent up Snowdon via Yr Aran. Here the weather turned nasty ...time for wearing the contents of the rucksack. If ever there was a good illustration of why full body cover is required ...this was it. A combination of the rain and wind made it very chilly (as many of the tourists on the summit were finding out). Top moment on the descent towards the miners track was getting stopped by a family of Orthodox Jews (complete with pin striped suits and formal hats) wanting to know when the last train from the summit was - they had failed to check and with the cafe being rebuilt ...there were no trains! I am sure Dad paid for this "family day out" big style that evening but fair play to them for being out trying in horrible conditions. Down past the youth hostel the last control before the finish was on the little bump of a hill between the hostel and the hotel. For such a small hill it ended with a fair number of runners all intent of gaining a place or two, getting a beer or two at the hotel or just finishing. Nice touch was the race van dishing out tea and cake in the layby opposite the pub.

DAY 3 (7th May)25km / 1724m

Capel Curig (726577) > Llyn y Coryn (730591)> Pen Llithrig y Wrach (716622) > Carnedd Llewelyn (683643) > Foel-Fras (696681) > Aber Falls (668700) > Gyrn (647687) > Hendre Hall (622711)

The last bit !

For the last day most folks were starting early. The route was fairly simple with a basic line back towards the event centre and a fairly steady climb. The twist was the descent to Aber Falls then a complete barsteward of a climb back up to Gyrn. This might have been a doddle for some, but my legs were certainly not happy. Over the last summit and it was a kinda eyeballs out hobble down to the finish. I am sure the family from Snowdon would have got as much pleasure out of watching Jason and me slapping down the last steep hill as we did meeting the day before. Race over and it was time for food and the drive north.

One of the many things I love about hill running is that it has taken me to so many new mountain areas that I would probably not otherwise of visited - this years GL3D is a perfect example. Once again a fantastic wee event and big thanks to Joe's pals for the organising and especially for the tea and cake at the end of day 2!!!

Posted by Graham Kelly on Tue 15 May 2007 | comments are closed

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