I went up Hay Bluff a few years ago with snow shoes and crampons but this Sunday with Jacob was very different. To start with, last time we drove up to the car park at the base. This time it wasn’t possible with two wheel drive. The road was narrow and busy so as soon as the wheels started to spin we turned round and found somewhere to park. It wasn’t going to be us blocking the road for everyone else.
Hay Bluff is the hill right above James’ head. There were lots of cars sliding round and backing up and letting past etc and even some of the less meaty four wheel drives struggled. So it was quite a long walk just to get to the bottom of the hill. As we were leaving Sandra and James at the bottom we also had to carry sledges. With hindsight we should have pulled all the gear on one sledge but we left some in the car.
Jacob was busy with the camera again and took all these pictures. The place was very busy with skiers, parascenders and snow boarders. We went up the diagonal path along the side and bumped into a lady who recommended a left turn along a path you wouldn’t normally follow.
We followed her suggestion and it was quite a good route. Jacob had the crampons on fairly early on but the snow was powdery and he didn’t really need them. Good to give them a go before you do need them though!
At the top the wind wasn’t too bad at all. The views were excellent and all the surrounding hills were white and the valleys green, the sun was shining and we could see James on his round orange sledge.
On the way back down we saw a car stuck on a ridge of earth that was trying to get pulled onto the road by a range rover; it wasn’t going well but he did get off eventually. Jacob and James jumped on the sledges every chance they got on the way back, sliding down the road when there was nothing coming.
It ended up being a much longer and harder day than expected after Pen Y Fan the day before and there was no hot dog stand at the bottom. Hay Bluff is lower and you could feel the difference but you look up the Wye Valley towards where we live and you can see the weather heading your way. It seems to come in more quickly here than on the Brecon Beacons.
So now we have to decide where to go for the next snowy climb. Can you see the paraglider?