Mud, bogs, mines, mountains, drama, Tryfan, goats, wild horses and ana dream that came true!Since I finished my Ramsay Round last year I had a feeling of missing something. It might sound crazy saying this after completing a Charlie Ramsay Round. Completing a CRR is a massive achievement that only over 200 people managed to do and I’m one of them. Every time I think about the CRR I feel very happy to be a Ramsayist. Ramsayst is a person that successfully completed the round under 24h. Of course when talking about the classic 24h mountain challenges we will wonder away to the other 2. The English Bob Graham Round in the Lake District with over 2000 completions and the Walesh Paddy Buckley Round in Snowdonia with a similar number of completions to the CRR, around 200. All 3 of them create the Big 3 Classic Rounds in UK. Paddy Buckley Round was in my head since Christmas 2020. I started planning and with lockdown and travel restrictions I knew it’s going to be a very hard task to get it done. I had to go for cold turkey approach. Absolutely depending on local knowledge and help of friends to complete the round. I spoke to some amazing runners that completed the Charlie Ramsay Round that have also completed the Paddy Buckley Round. I got invited to a local Facebook group focused on the Paddy Buckley Round. Anyone that wants to complete the PBR or support an attempt is on it. Local knowledge is what you need for a successful round if the distance is a problem. I made a topic on the group about my attempt and that I am looking for support.I won’t be able to travel to the area before my attempt so I will have to have everything sorted. Covid19 is a big issue and we are still in lockdown so I can’t travel to reccy the area as well as having a full time job doesn’t make things easier. It was very stressful not knowing the route. But a plan was made. People started to gather and offer their help! I wanted to know as much as possible about the round. So I spoke to John Parkin if there is a way of learning the map without being there. He offered a zoom call and taking me through the map describing bit by bit! It was great! Next step was watching a brilliant short movie about the round made in Welsh. Thank goodness for the subtitles! I was getting more familiar with the map and the area. Still I knew it won’t be enough. But it gave me a good start and some sense of security. Another hurdle to overcome was getting to Wales and be rested for the attempt. I asked MOWI for help. Company I work for. They were very kind to offer me one of their vans. I kitted the van out in all the essentials and I could slowly make my way down. 714km drive will take a while and I need to be ready for it. I left Mallaig on Thursday afternoon. I got to Dolgam campsite after 3am at night. It was 2 miles away from Capel Curig, so it was perfect. It took me around 10h to drive down to Wales. I had plenty of time to get rested and ready for Saturday morning start at 11am. It was Friday morning and I had plenty of time to get organised.I had 2 important tasks to do. First was to pack my food into separate bags to make sure I have enough for each leg. Second, to make sure I will deliver all the bags too the right people for each leg. My next task was to cook some food, full of carbs, easy to digest to make sure I will have a good start on my big run on Saturday. I decided to go for a tomato sauce pasta with tinned tuna! I took it to the next level by making my own tomato sauce from tomatoes and some purée adding all sorts of mixed herbs and spices I had in my food box. Trust me, it was so good!I was very anxious and couldn’t sit in one place. I kept pacing around the van which must have looked quite crazy for the other campsite users. I decided to go for a walk to Capel Curig which was 2 miles away. A 30min walk will do me good and it will stretch my legs. I really wanted to see the start/finish line of the PBR in Capel Curig. I was really hoping this will help to ease my nerves.
On the way down I kept looking up scanning the hillside of Moel Siabod like it would help me climb it. It was the first hill of many that I am going to climb tomorrow so I was very excited and nervous at the same time. I slowly walked to the village and got myself familiar with the area. On the way back I got a phone call from David Taylor. Dave just drove pass me and wanted to meet up. That was perfect because I had some food and kit to give him. He told me the name of the campsite where he stopped. It was somewhere between my campsite and the start of PBR. I saw one sign on the way to Capel Curig. For obvious reason I could not pronounce the name of it. Welsh is a very interesting language! I decided to have a look and luckily I found his van at the top of the drive way – Fell Running Coach. I waited for Dave to show up. Dave just came back from a reccy of Leg3 on which he will help me tomorrow evening. I was super excited now!After a nice chat we drove to my campsite to get my kit. We were almost ready to go! I could relax now. Later in the evening arrived Ross Coles. A boy from the Lake District I met on my Ramsay Round. He was supporting Scott Brown on our Charlie Ramsay Round but helped me as well, as we were going together. Ross was attempting the Paddy Buckley Round with me and few of his friends to support him. We had everything arranged. If anything happened, one will still keep going. It’s a very long day in the hills and it’s absolutely unpredictable. Anything can happen. If someone feelt strong we let him go without slowing the other one down. That was the deal. But we will try to help each other as much as we can. I was absolutely weather obsessed. I checked the forecast every few hours making sure it will be perfect or at least acceptable…. We agreed with Ross that no matter the conditions we will still go for it even if it will be pouring down all 24h. A did not drive for 10h down to Snowdonia to sit in the van!I was contemplating about taking my waterproof jacket. The weather looked really good the day before! Will I really need my waterproof jacket and trousers with me? That was my stress, I didn’t want my support crew to carry to much. But we have to be safe. I left the trousers and took the waterproof jacket and a windproof as well. Now. Never underestimate a good night of sleep! Early bed was a great idea! I got comfortable in the back of the van on my camp bed and fell asleep in minutes. I didn’t have any issues with sleeping that nigh. I think the 10h drive tired me out…In the morning I got up and made porridge for breakfast to start my body working on something light. The weather looked very good with Moel Siabod hiding behind the cloud. Our weather man John said it’s going to be a beautiful day with 80% chance of a clear sky. That was perfect! I don’t mind a cloud to keep the sun away. To much sun will mean we need some sun cream! I remember not having sun cream on my Ramsay Round. I was getting baked alive! At the start of Leg3 Jim Loudon covered my neck and face with suncream which saved me from crisping up. After breakfast and changing to my running gear I could not sit still. I kept pacing back and forth through the field. Pre ‘race’ nerves were on.. We were starting at 11am. We decided to go to the start earlier for 10:15 to meet everyone and spread the rest of the kit between the support team.
I think all good to go now. Few extra photos before the start were taken. Tom Lynch’s French bulldogs might join us to carry the gear I laughed.Countdown began with 3 minutes to go.Wait what!? John said that’s us! It’s 11am are you going!? We better go! The wait was over. We are on the road and onto a path climbing our first hill. First one of 47.
We started leg 1 in a big group.
Pawel Cymbalista, Andy Gibbons, Tom Lynch, Richard Brown, Ross Coles, Barney Nikolich and Mike.
The start time for my round was very comfortable for everyone. Not to early but with plenty of time to get nervous waiting to start! I didn’t want to get too comfortable. There was plenty of time for it afterwards! Andy Gibbons led the way on Leg1. Through the bridge and onto a forest path starting out ascent. It was already very warm and no wind. Quite stuffy. I remember my chest feeling very tight. Well if it will take 23:59 to finish this in these conditions I will still go for it… Even if it take everything I have! It’s hard to say much about the climb here.. I was going few times too fast and I got shouted at to slow down… The adrenaline in my body was doing it’s job a little bit too good. I remember there was lots of conversations going on at the same time. Everyone were trying to get to know each other as much as they could. It’s nice to know who are you running with! I don’t think they were expecting to run with a Polish boy from a small fishing village of Mallaig in Lochaber who harvests fish for a living working for MOWI a leading salmon fish farming company in Scotland. We got to the top of Moel Siabod in 51 minutes. 2 minutes ahead of schedule which was good to start with. We didn’t go to fast after all. Thankfully the support team reminded me that it is a long day ahead of me and this is number 1 out of 47! I need to remember that!
Here I will have to add that the Welsh mountain names are not my strongest asset, and to be honest Moel Siabod is the only one I can pronounce correctly in Welsh. The farmer at the campsite gave me a quick lesson after laughing at my Polish-Scottish accent. This leg was the trickiest to navigate, that’s why I decided to start with it and have the hardest leg done on fresh legs and clear minds. Another reason was that this section is really wet and boggy. I could not imagine trying to get through the mud fields on tired legs. We kept moving at a nice comfortable pace andClogwyn Bwlch y Maen was next with Carnedd Y Cribau after. Between these 2 mountains I spotted the the most picturesque place I have seen for ages. The beautiful llyn (which means lake in Welsh) Llynau Diwaunydd with only one exit through the forestry down below. It was a perfect camping spot for the whole family… Tempting to go back! I wonder if medgies are here as well… On the way down from Moel Siabod we noticed that Ross, Barney and Mike decided to go faster on the downhills. I was making sure that my legs will have plenty of energy for the downhills ahead so I didn’t chase them. Having our own plan in place and a good schedule we stick to the plan.
Somewhere between top 3 and 4 Richard Brown decided to leave the team and head down. Sadly the pace was a bit too much for him. I was told he got down safely.We continued going through the bumpy hills, avoiding bogs as good as we could and following the fence line to (No°4) Cerrig Cochion (550m). On the uphill I turned around and spotted someone getting close to us! Actually he was right behind us! It was a man called Bob. A fell runner attempting the Paddy Buckley Round that day as well. He set of few minutes behind us and caught us on this climb. We chatted to him for few minutes as he went pass. It was his 3rd go at the PBR only with road support. He went ahead looking very strong. It was easy to see that he was very strong and fit, pushing up and down the hills like a machine! Go Bob! The route suddenly got very tricky. The bogs were dry? That’s what they told me. I still remember getting sucked into one of them after trying to jump over it. Only thing I was thinking off at that moment was to still have my shoes on my feet after getting out of it! I wasn’t looking forward to go for a dive into a stinking bog to get my shoes!Next 6 peaks were even trickier that the previous ones. It was ver hard to find the actual summit. Three was no cairns or posts to mark them. It was more of clumps of grass or just elevated ground that I had to get over to make it count. This is crazy I thought.Ross was still ahead with his support team but we kept catching them on the longer uphills. Andy Gibbons was doing an absolutely amazing job navigating and taking us to the correct place to make it work! After No°10 Allt Fawr (698m) we started a longer descent with one tricky bit to the disused quarry.
When we crossed the quarry we started our climb to No°12 Moel-yr-hydd (648m). Sadly I remember it like it happened yesterday. I felt like I am going to pass out going on all 4 climbing to the top. Pulling my back side up with my hands to makes it easier for the legs to cope. It was a very steep and grassy climb that completely killed me. But hey! One foot in front of the other. Ticking over like a watch. I kept repeating it in my head hating every second of that climb. Next we descended onto a rocky path. This section was the most runnable part of the leg, out and back to No°13 Moelwyn Bach (710). I left my bag at the cairn before the climb and continued chasing the boys ahead who left me again! Well I wasn’t bothered. I had them in sight all the time. I think that was my racing head going at me.Andy waited at the carin with our bags. Me and Tom went up. It was a steep climb but I felt very strong on the up. “Bring it on” I shouted! At the top I was 10m behind Ross and the boys ahead. I got them! “Come on Pawel stop that racing nonsense.” I said to myself.
I could not admire the view at the top for long. What happened? Medgies!! Clouds of medgies on top of Moelwyn Bach. I wasn’t expecting medgies 710m above the sea level! Well this will make me go down faster! Next climb was a short technical scramble to No°14 Craig Ysgafn (689m) and to No°15 Moelwyn Mawr (770m)! The proper climbing and descending was about to start soon. It was a 46min run to the top of No°16 Cnicht (689m). It is not a very high mountain but quite tricky and technical. My team reunited with Ross just before Cnicht and we stayed together untill we got to end of Leg1. The scramble up was not a big problem. It didn’t feel hard at all. We got there ok and the views were amazing! “What a day.” I thought. Now was time for the descent. The path was very steep and we had to sit down and slowly slide ourselves down step by step trying not to fall on each other. We got there alright, following a path downhill. The path changed into a track and then after a few gates into a tarred road. Up and down up and down.. how horrible is this? I thought. I rather hang on a cliff ledge than run on tarmack.On the short uphills we were fuelling with jelly beans and Polish kabanos sausages. A Polish version of Pepperami but much tastier and softer than pepperamis. Andy and Tom took the lead and got us to a small car park in Aberglaslyn ahead of schedule where the changeover was.I was greeted by John, Sally and their 2 boys waving the Polish flag! That was great! But why I feel so tired already? I ignored it, well at least I tried. I realised that my salt tablets are not working as they should for some reason. Secret here was an OXO cube. I had 1 cube on the first leg and it gave me wings. I felt much better all the pains went away and random body cramping. It was really odd. I asked Sally to try to get some OXO cubes for the next legs from the shop. Any would do but for some reason I said vegetable. “Ah it will be alright” I thought!I was very dehydrated. No wind and sweating buckets didn’t help. I only drank over a liter of water on that leg. I knew I have to top it up on Leg2 or I will be in trouble. I told John who is going to lead the way on Leg2 that I have to be reminded to drink and eat properly. I asked him to remind me every 30 minutes. I never had issues with water or food but today for some reason it all changed and I need to keep my body on top of fuelling. The changeover in Aberglaslyn took only 5min. I didn’t need more time as I felt really good and could start fuelling again on the next climb. I don’t mind eating on the go so we should take advantage of it. I waved at Ross wishing him all the best and we were on the road getting to the forestry climb starting the next part of the round. I really hope that my fast changeover didn’t play on the other guys heads. That wasn’t my intention. I was organised, feeling good and wanted to take advantage of it.
Start of Leg2
Now I’m in the capable hands of John Parkin.We need to make our way through the forestry to reach No°17 Bryn Banog (520m). “Wait what? Ops wrong way!” Said John. Thankfully only few meters. We turned around and went through a small bridge that we almost missed a second ago. Now we had to find a hidden gate under a tree. A hidden gate? Fun times…but there it is! Tree branches were all over the gate. You could not find it if you didn’t know it’s there! The forest was very dense and dark but beautiful! Once we got out we could see the hill ahead, few abandoned houses to our right in the trees and another boggy, grassy area to cross. I hate high grass with bog in-between… Just why?!
You trip over the high grass and land in a bog. Just perfect! Very high ahead, close to the summit we could see a silhouette. It was Bob! Still going strong! Go Bob!Now for a steady descend down and up No°18 Moel Hebog (783m). Not bad going. I thought! Eating and drinking every 30 on average. Trying to mix sweet and savoury to keep my stomach working and not get sick of one type of food to quick. Chewing starts to become a problem. I do prefer softer food. We got down and up again through a short gorge which was absolutely amazing.
Vertical walls around us and a narrow corridor to climb up. There was something special about that place.
Next section was through a forest following a fence downhill. There are fences and walls everywhere here! The forest disappeared and we could see where we are going. It made it easier to navigate. Previously there was a big forest here.
But now a big sector was chopped down. Another tricky section ahead of us, high grass and lots of bumps could confuse anyone. Thankfully John knew what he was doing and where we are going. Further ahead we had to slide down in one place through slippery rocks and grass where John was below me. I put my hand in a small hole on my left not realising it was a nest. A small bird jumped out and flew straight down on John’s neck. Not a big deal I thought. John got a fright! I was just hoping that John will not slide down because of that little bird. Birds can be scary wen they jump on you with a surprise. I think by now I should be used to the types of summits, cairns on this route but not a chance. The next one was just a picturesque out and back No°22 Mynydd y Ddwy Elor (466m). The views vere amazing! The summit was a clump of grass at the end. Again you would missing if you wouldn’t know it’s there!
Next part of Leg2 was the Nantlle Ridge. Easy climb and absolutely stunning views. There was a short boulder field to go through but nothing too technical. The views were just amazing. The sun was getting close to the horizon and the colours were changing. Slowly the sky was filling up with all the oranges and yellows.The temperature was dropping and it as more bearable to run. I was hydrating good and at this point my urine color was finally acceptable. Having stops for the toilet was a huge achievement. That ment my kidneys were working good and my body was getting hydrated properly. John was documenting our ridge traverse with few great videos and making me run faster! Thanks! Nothing like social media seeing me slacking! I better start moving! When we got to No°25 Y Garn (947) my eyes noticed a massive boulder pile as a cairn.
What a beautiful sight I thought. A proper cairn to touch! Here we go down to finish leg 2! Nice grassy descent through some high grass and a wet ground to finish off the leg. It changed to a track and then to a forestry road leading to Pont Cae’r Gors. Before we get there John asked me to sit down on a rock even if I don’t want to.
Just for few minutes to rest the legs. “Maybe that’s a good idea.” I thought. So I did. Wait a minute? Where is Ross and Barnie?? I arrived at the support point not seeing Ross or Barnie. That was odd. I kept looking bac the whole Leg2 hoping to spot them. But with no luck. Their support team was waiting for them at the changeover. They were nowhere to be seen. When we arrived we had to get things ready for the night and for an epic sunset! I was really looking forward to this part. Actually because I wasn’t feeling too bad!
Start of Leg 3
On the arrival in Pont Cae’r Gors I met David Taylor (Fell Running Coach), Steve Rhodes and John’s family – Sally with the boys waving the flag with lots of energy! Thank you for that!!Wait?! No OXO cubes? Sally didn’t get me any because there was no vegetable OXO cubes in the shop, only beef and chicken. Hm… “Any would do really.” I thought. But I specified earlier that I need vegetable OXO cubes.. what a spoon I am! I need to be more specific. I told Sally that any will do and if possible could we get some for Llanberis changeover. I had enough to keep me going and some extra salts if really needed. Not a big deal.
The can of coke I had at the changeover freshened me up. I felt great! After so many hours drinking just water in the heat having something fizzy to drink was amazing! We went for a fast changeover again. Another 5min and I was rushed to the other side of the road to a gate. Gate is closed with a padlock… Climbing over is risky.. I can… Get a cramp and drop on the ground…. Thankfully nothing like that happened. But I climbed the fence with the grace of a sloth.We didn’t go through the farm. Dave decided to go along the wall outside the farm and keep going straight up to No° 26 Craig Wen (548m). I had a plan of action for the night section. As much as I was looking forward to the sunset views I knew it will be very hard to keep moving at night after so many hours on feet. I had to survive the night. I was a uncertain about doing the night section later in the round. I like to start the night section first and have it done. Whatever was laying ahead of us we were ready for it. Ticking over and one step at a time. Again and again until I won’t have the energy to lift my body.The temperature was going down and the uncomfortable heat has disappeared. There was still no wind, no breeze, absolutely nothing. “Ah who cares at this point, it got more comfortable and we kept going forward. It doesn’t matter anymore.” I thought. On top of No°27 Yr Aran (747m) we’ve been treated to the most amazing sunset scenes ever seen by human kind! I really did think that! I felt very privileged to be there at that time with Dave and Steve.
The sky colors were amazing. Like someone painted them with fluorescent paint!We started climbing No°28 Cribau Tregalan (931m) to get to No°29 Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon – 1085m). And this happened… Stairs? Here? I was shocked but quickly dragged down to the ground reminded that there are mines around us with old mine shafts everywhere and we need to be carefull. These paths were used a lot back in the day. Still are but only by hikers Nd runners like us. Most people take the easy route from the north. There is even a train going to the top! Yes a train! How crazy is that!?I was looking around climbing the easy steps which was very nice for a change. Suddenly I heard a faint “Heeeeeeeyyyy” behind me.I heard someone shouting. Turned around and looked down… That was Barnie Nikolich, Ross’s friend! “What are you doing here?” – I asked.Barnie explained the situation saying that Ross couldn’t keep going any more. The whole Leg2 was a bit of a drag. They made a pact that if one feels good, will try to continue to catch us. Ross pulled out in Pont Cae’r Gors. Barnie explained that they got lost in the forest coming out of Aberglaslyn at the start of Leg2. They didn’t cross the bridge and they went 30min in the wrong direction adding extra mileage to their round.On arrival in Pont Cae’r Gors they were 10min behind us. Barnie decided to chase us and find us. He did well! The dangerous part of this manoeuvre was the fact that we didn’t know that Barnie or Ross are coming. So we were not expecting anyone. If something would have happened we wouldn’t know..Thankfully we are all together again. I introduced Dave, Steve and Barnie to themselves. It looks like Barnie will join the team now.It was getting dark. We didn’t use the head torches yet, our eyes adjusted to the darkness and we could keep going for quite a while untill we got to the flatter grounds of No°28 Cribau Tregalan (931m) the ground was ok but very rocky. We needed the head torches out then.
Dave gave Barnie his spare head torch. Barnie wasn’t expecting to get that far so he didn’t have one. He was just supportin Ross after all. We reached Snowdon and my eyes could see the cafe and a set of easy steps to the top cairn. Well that is easy I thought. Cafe at the top of a mountain, why not! Here I was reaching the highest peak of Wales at night! The views?! Priceless. I could not see anything.. it was night but that was the plan to avoid a queue to the summit. I was a little bit disappointed that I couldn’t admire the scenery but the whole plan of being up Snowdon at night was very important.The mountain is very popular all year round but especially summer time on nice days there are hundreds, thousands of people queueing to reach the top cairn after climbing the last few meters on a narrow path. The path is too narrow to walk both ways so everyone have to take their turn.Here we go. Let’s touch the cairn of Snowdon. Wait! There is someone sleeping here. There was 2 men sleeping in bivi bags around the cairn. Barnie asked one of them “Are you not cold?” We did not expect an answer but we got one. One of them squeezed out a “It’s not that bad!”Well that will do. Few meters below we found a group of hikers with a piched up tent drinking and partying around their camp fire. They must have carried the firewood all the way up! Partying in style. I hope they are going to leave no trace of their presence!Barnie was short on water and we just had enough for us 3. We were not expecting a hitchhiker. Sorry Barnie. There was no water sources on this leg until the very last downhill so we had to carry all of the water ourselves. He managed to get 200ml from the happy group. If he would ask for alcohol he might have got more that 200ml!After Snowdon we got No°30 Crib y Ddysgl (1065m) in the bag and started a longer grassy descent down. Before we reached the summit Dave asked Steve to go down to a path junction near the cliffs. On the way down we realised it was a great tactic! We could see Steve with his head torch lighting ahead of us. Brilliant idea! Steve the lighthouse leading the way. We didn’t have to stop and check our position on the map and we had a nice line down! Suddenly we noticed a head torch light ahead of us for the first time in a while. That was Bob still going strong around 40-50min ahead of us! Go Bob!On the climb to No° 34 Moel Cynghorion (674m) I felt really sick after eating a caffeine gel. I shouted to Steve to throw me a brownie to keep it all down. I quickly took half of it and swallowed it as quick as I could. I think that kept the food inside, instead of having it on my shoes… I felt nosious for 10min but thankfully it got better before we reached the summit.At the top we had to seek for the summit cairn. There was none! Thankfully we found it! One small stone amongst the grass! Ticked! Next one now.
This part of the run was pretty much straight forward. We are so high up that we don’t do much climbing. Nice and grassy lines along the fence. I was feeling very weak so kept my head down and did my best too move forward. I had to force myself to run. This was getting hard. I knew I need to start digging deep. I had more water and more food. And soon I started to feel better. Once we got to No°37 Moel Eilio (726m) we had a long descent with few gates to go through. We could see Llanberis in the distance. It was so good to see the street lights luminating in the darkness from so high up!I was very looking forward to the next leg hoping that more OXO cubes will give me a boost and a can of coke will freshen me up. The essentials… But absolutely amazing stuff! The OXO cube flushed down with lots of water taste just like a nice stock soup. A very salty soup, but tasty! I had to repeat it in my head. Actually it wasn’t that bad. I was going slow on the downhill making sure my legs won’t get too tired for the next leg through the mines. But my energy levels were low anyway and I had to trick my brain to think something else. The night was trying to get into me. I should be sleeping not running! Thankfully working night shifts comes to hand and I can dig deep even on sleepy body.We got to Llanberis and we had to find a good way through the housing estate to the car park. Dave ans Steve had a good way round to the car park and there was no issues getting there. Main goal was to not get lost in the housing estate! Wait what!? Who is that! It’s Ross! Ross came to support Barnie, ready with food and new head torch. What a boy! Good job! It was so good t see him there.Dave’s van was parked at the entrance to the car park. I sat down and started looking through the food. Fresh food and water with my coke was my only worry until I realised that we are missing Warren Renkel. Fresh support for Leg4. Where is he?!
Start of Leg4
There he is. Warren fell asleep in his car few meters away from us and we didn’t see him until he emerged out of it. He greeted me with 2 boxes of OXO cubes! The round is saved I thought.. I started to think that this is more of a psychological issue than an actual salt issue but I will go with it if it helps!Not sure how long we stopped for. I think it was 5min, maybe a little longer. I didn’t care. We are going up again! I was feeling much better and happier that we are pass the half way point and actually running home now! I consider Leg4 and Leg5 on the Paddy Buckley Round as along as Leg1 on Charlie Ramsay Round! “Home time. Let’s go!” I thought.Warren led us to a narrow walled path going up into the mines. At the entrance there was a cat carrier covered with a blanket! Wait what? Barnie peaked inside and spotted a pair of women high heels! Ha!! That is great!! It must have been a drop off bag for Bob who was still ahead of us. Bob’s wife must have left it there for him as a surprise. Brilliant.Climbing the mines was a very humbling experience. I couldn’t see much but I could feel that it is a very special historical place. After leaving the path we joined a concrete steep quarry track leading up the top quarries.It was used to transport slate 150 years ago. I wish it was day. The dramatic stone quarry buildings looked amazing in the head torch light. I could only imagine how stunning it could be during the day. Have a look at Dinorwic Quarry in Llanberis. The history of this place is just amazing!Leaving Llanberis behind we reached our first peak of Leg4 No°35 Elidir Fach (795m). There was a proper cairn with a flag to mark the top. Warren carried most of my water which was absolutely amazing. I was drinking plenty and making sure he is not carrying all that water for too long. It was pretty much hard going here. Bouldery ridge slowed us down, it was a very technical leg I would say. My memory here is a bit faint. I think I was going on autopilot for a longer while. The next part I remember was Twll Du or – The Devil’s Kitchen. We’ve been surrounded by steep mountain walls but on a nice flat ground which made it absolutely stunning. Who would have thought that places like this exist. Ahead of us was our next challenge. It was a very steep scree type climb to the first Glyder – Glyder Fawr. At the top pretty much flat, but the massive boulder structures shocked me. Some of them very sharp and spiky sticking out of the ground like they were placed there by a giant. Other looked like a massive giant burried crown. Just mesmerizing. I felt so small… The climb to No°41 Glyder Fach (994m) was even worse! It was like playing a game “The floor is lava”, if you miss the boulder ahead of you, you will land deep in-between the boulders.
Possibly stuck with the need of getting pulled out by your friends! We got there thankfully with few slippery moments!It was very dramatic. The sun was just on the horizon. And the sky was orange, red, yellow. Following the path we were making our way to No° 42 Tryfan (917m). I remember thinking that I don’t really want to go up that mountain now. I don’t feel like doing this one.My fears were confirmed. Warren told me we are… But first we need to get down off the Glyders.. The route we took was just a nightmare.. the ground was just moving under our feet. Barnie went ahead and slipped on the scree scratching the whole left side of his left butt cheek. He wasn’t too bothered showing it to me to examin it if it’s bad. Thankfully it was just a scratch, but it will leave a good memory of the descent for a long time!I remember Warren was telling us a story that a massive boulder got dislodged and started tumbling down and missed one of the runners dogs head by centimetres… Imagine that happening to your best friend… great perspective to think of… We kept moving down embracing the moment of the stunning sunrise ahead of us. Tryfan looked spectacular. We stopped for few minutes to have some water and food before the hard climb ahead of us. And it begins. I wasn’t looking forward to this. I knew it will be bad and I wasn’t feeling great at all. I think I was in a energy low. From the climb up Tryfan I remember only slowly pulling myself up on the milion boulders that form the mountain, until I got to the top. Oh, there was few mountain goats on a ledge next to us relaxing and looking at us awkwardly…You could just see that in their eyes. They were absolutely enjoying the moment of our struggle!
Am I starting to hallucinate? Bad place to do so!! Finally I pulled my broken body up to the top. Touched the boulder marking the summit. “Now how do you get down? Are you joking?” I said with a shock in my voice. Is this a path? I thought Climbing Am Bodach was hard on my Charlie Ramsay Round but this descent was just ridiculous.Very steep and wet boulders. I remember hanging of few boulders lowering myself down to safety. Safety only for few seconds because I had to take another step down which wasn’t safe at all to find another safer rock shelf. I hope you know what I mean… Warren went ahead. Barnie and I stuck together descending. Trying not to break a limb! We kept falling and sliding and tripping over. This is horrible I thought..
Before Warren went ahead to warn the guys at the changeover that we are coming, he told us that this line is a race route and the fastest descent belongs to Mike Blake in 8 minutes. How is that even possible? People break their limbs trying to get close or break the record every year. This is crazy I thought. You could die going at it like that. I knew one thing, that I just want to get down in one piece. It doesn’t matter how long it’s going to take me. “Barnie look” I shouted. “There is Bob, below us!” He was still ahead but much slower! It was very good to see him still at it.Finally we got down and through the gate and on the road along Llyn Ogwen to our support team. I was running with Steve now feeling abosolutely broken. I remember looking to the right of me where Tryfan was now. Trying to find the descent route we just did and bang! A traffic cone, I ran into it! Almost flattened myself flying over it. Not a good idea on a busy road. That could end me… It would be just my luck. That the mountain didn’t get me, but a traffic cone finished my challenge.
Finally I could see John and the team! John’s boys waving the flag again! Amazing! Thank you so much for that!Quick change over again. Well, as quick as we could. And we were going again. No time to waste!Before I go to the last leg there is a story.At this point we were told that poor Ross locked his keys in the car and couldn’t get them out. He had to phone someone to open the car which will cost a fortune, or smash the window which will cost much less. I know what I would choose…
Start of Leg5
One step closer to home! 5 last mountains to bag an I am feeling shattered.No°43 Pen yr Ole Wen (978m) was our next mountain. A very long climb on absolutely broken body was not a good perspective. I was trying to hide the fact that I am very tired. I knew I needed a moment to myself. I felt very weak after climbing and descending Tryfan. Barnie and I started walking on the road towards the track leading up to Pen yr Ole Wen. John Parkin was on this leg again! That lifted me up a bit. We tried to shuffle behind John and Warren on the road but it was hard going on the road…The climb began and I decided to stay a little bit behind. It had few bites to eat at the changeover but I still felt that I am missing energy. I continued eating on the uphill. At this point chewing was absolutely horrible, almost impossible. I didn’t have any soft food, and I could not ingest any more gels today. My body was refusing them. Anything that was harder than a mars bar took me ages to chew. My mouth was hurting from all the sugar and salt I consumed on previous legs. Warren, John and Barnie were climbing maybe 20m ahead of me. I didn’t mind, I really needed time to myself and get my head back together.
Everything hurt really bad. The sun was up and the temperature started to rise again. After one steep climb which involved the use of all 4 limbs it got a little bit easier. Finally my body started to feel better and I continued eating. John had some fruit which I really enjoyed. Something I haven’t eaten since the start of the round. Watermelon was really juicy and refreshing… I had to focus on finishing this round now.. my body started to feel much better and I could move again without much pain.I remember I didn’t look back at Tryfan even once since we left Ogwen changeover.
I could not face that again.
Looking at it just made me sick!Now writing this I wish I did look back! Looking at the photos and videos from that time I wish I had looked. Beautiful unforgiving mountain!Continuing our traverse we went along the ridge onto No°45 Carnedd Llywelyn (1064m) and down to a very narrow ridge above the shores of llyn Flynnon Llugwy . A beautiful and popular llyn which was shown by the vast number of tents around its shores. Hotspot for campers and hikers I would say!The scramble to No°46 Pen yr Helgi Du (833) was the last technical climb of the day. I knew it and that kept me motivated! It wasn’t easy anymore. My stomach decided to turn on me and wasn’t playing ball. It was very uncomfortable and slowing me down but we will get there. When we reached the summit we got treated to a great flat area with a small stone cairn to mark its top. Wait! But what is that? Wild horses! I never seen any wild horses in my life so that was a first one. There was 3 of them.
They looked absolutely amazing. One of them reminded me of Gandalfs Shadowfax. It was beautiful and pure white like the one from the Lord of the Rings movies.On the way down I think I moaned for the first time or one of many times… abut the height of the last climb to No°47 Pen Llithrig y Wrach (790). It wasn’t high or bad in reality… I just had a moan and it took us just below 30min to reach the summit.
Barnie and I got a photo taken on the last summit to remind us of this moment!On the way down along the ridge we admired the beauty of Llyn Cowlyd to our left. The day was so beautiful and the thought of stopping and having a swim was just purely amazing!Why not…?! No time for that… We have a 40min descent to Capel Curig!! 1/3 of the way down we realised that we can make it under 23h! That became our drive to the finish!The downhill wasn’t bad but at that stage I just wanted to walk… I knew I will make It even walking! The thought of getting it under 23h was just beautiful. We kept it steady on the downhill.
We started pushing when it got flatter on the wetter grounds. It was a very wet quad bike track. Very muddy and wet with odd metal ramps to go over. I had to watch myself not to trip over any of them.”Just push. Everything hurts.. I know.. just push” I said to myself with a tear in my eyes. The pain will be over soon!When I noticed few farm building and the road below us I got very excited. “We are going to do it in a great time!” I thought!Around the gates near the road we spotted Dave from Leg3. He was filming us with his phone and joined us for the last road section to Capel Curig! So good to see him again!We kept pushing on the road as hard as we could avoiding the cars. The pavement is very narrow or it doesn’t exist in places so we had to stay focused on incoming traffic from both directions.And?!We made it! We pushed so hard that we finished in 22h 48min! That was so hard but so good! I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe I finished in such a good time! I sat down on the bench in front of the shop absolutely drained. Barnie came over to shake hands. Team effort. Barnie became a finisher of the Big 3! Possibly the youngest one in history! Everyone who have helped came along cheering and clapping their hands. What an effort with so many emotions! I am so happy I don’t have to do Tryfan again.We got treated to a nice cold beer from John and Sally. The Polish Tyskie. I think that was the best beer in the world at that particular moment. Thank you everyone!Wait! Where is Bob?Bob set off after us on the last leg. He was a fair bit behind us. There was a cold beer waiting for him at the finish. After around 20 minutes we could see Bob running towards us with a friend. He made it as well! What a day. 3 Paddy Buckley Round Completions in under 24h. We were so tired and happy.This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the amazing team we had on the hills navigating, carrying our food and gear and supporting on the road. I will be entirely grateful to every single one of them until the end of my life! It wouldn’t be possible without their hard work and commitment! When the emotions eased a little I phoned my wife Ashley. She was dot watching with the rest of the family and updating everyone on social media about my progress! Thank you so much for all the support you give and all the hard work you do.
Massive thank you goes to Andy Gibbons for keeping me right on Leg1. Tom Lynch for carrying my food, water and taking photos. Richard Brown for really good company and chat. John Parkin, Sally and their 2 boys for all the road and hill support, waving the Polish flag, making sure I am eating and drinking correctly and the OXO cubes! For being there from start till the end. David Taylor, Steve Rhodes for absolutely spot on navigation on Leg3 and Leg4 and making sure I am fed and watered. Warren Renkel for being an epic navigator on Leg4, Leg5 and carrying all the water and food. Outstanding team effort.I am very thankful to every single one of you for your efforts!
Going back to Ross’s car keys situation, somehow he got it sorted. Not sure how but he got the keys out! Good stuff!
Leg1 – Andy Gibbons, Tom Lynch, Richard Brown
Leg2 – John ParkinLeg3 – David Taylor, Steve Rhodes
Leg4 – Steve Rhodes, Warren Renkel
Leg5 – Warren Renkel, John Parkin
Road support – John Parkin, Sally and the boys.
Dynafit Feeline SL
Dynafit vertical shorts
Dynafit ultra 15L Vest
Dynafit Alpine Pro Longsleeve
Dynafit DNA race tshirt
Dynafit Alpine Wind Jacket
Dynafit Upcycled Thermal Gloves
Headtorch + spare battery
2x GPS watch and spare GPS nav to record route
Spot Gen3 Satelite tracker
3x 300ml Dynafit soft water flasks
12 x Mountain Fuel Sports Nutrition jellies, gels, chia and caffeine gels (mix)
1kg soft boiled salty potatos
1/2 tray of peanut butter brownies
2x chicken casserolle pouches
2x banana pouches
2x can of coke
2x lucozade orange
2x pouches of homemade smoked ham
3x Polish kabanos