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Moel Siabod - Or Should That Be Moel Can't See-a-thing
Christmas Eve 1998.
On the usual family break in Snowdonia; joining us is my mate Dave who is seeking some festive distractions.
Dad drops us at the start of the path up Moel Siabod. We rescue our gear from the boot of the car and checking which one of us has the map (Dave), we put back all the unwanted stuff (including my map) and set off.
Ignoring the signs put up by the walker-friendly farmer ('Abandon hope all ye who enter here' type thing) we are soon disappearing in the trails of mist sweeping down towards us. Rather than take the soft option and ascend via the gentle slope rising in front of us we agree to head inland a bit to go up Moel Siabod by the craggy ridge.
At the foot of the ridge visibility is practically nil; only the outline of the ridge can be made out, and scary it looks too. The collective thought is 'Sod that, we'll traverse round to where Dad said he'd pick us up'.
We are soon hopelessly lost.
Frequent checks of the map prove fruitless. We stumble across a pair of large tarns. We whip the map out again - no sign.
I say 'that's ok, they'll be on the other side of the map'.
Dave turns the map over to reveal
. . . nothing.
A big page of white.
He has the old one-sided map. My modern, waterproofed double-sided map is snug in the boot of Dad's car which is outside a cafe in Beddgelert.
It's 3pm, it's starting to snow, it's Christmas Eve and we don't have a clue where we are.
We find a path and agree west seems like a good idea. Dave soon nips off to one side to explore an old farmhouse.
'It'll do for a bivvy' he said.
A bivvy? It's Christmas Eve! How will Santa find us?
We agree to give it another 45 minutes - it's getting dark and nasty - and struggle on ito the wind.
Salvation - we see a car go past us on a road far below. It's Dad's car. We run down the side of the hill whooping like Red Indians and within 90 minutes we are back in the car and heading back to Harlech.
That year Dave got new maps for christmas.
Oh, and Santa found me too.<