Am back from an extended weekend of camping and walking around mount Snowdon in Wales. Apologies if you’ve posted a comment and not received a response, wifi signal ,in the area was non existent, so I’m playing catchup today.
It’s been a while since I’ve visited Wales and indeed mount Snowdon, so armed with a a few new camping toys added to the collection, I headed out last Friday to the campsite at Llyn Gwynant.
Being so close to a bank holiday the site was already filling up with families and their pretty awesome tents. Some it seems where as big as a small bungalow complete with sun lounge and hot tub (probably). Thankfully, I found a nice quite area in one of the adjourning fields and away from the main crowd.
Home for a few days and nights – and yes, the Polka Dot umbrella is a bit girlie but it’s perfect for keeping the wind off my stoves.
Dinner before checking out the surrounding area. Eggs, Bacon & Beans….note to oneself, that toaster rack is useless. 10 minutes just toast one side In the end, i borrowed one of the campsites firepits, lit a fire and toasted the old fashion way.
As I was packing light on this trip I didn’t bother taking my camera gear this time and therefore just had my iPhone & iPad. It’s a shame really because on that first night, the sky was clear and the sheer number of visible stars and Milkyway, free from light pollution was breathtaking. The puny optics in my phone couldn’t capture the splendour.
Thanks to Curstie’s recommendation for video playback apps for iPad (Oplayer), i had with me, a selection of movies to keep me entertained during the late evening. Tonight’s feature…’Carry of Camping’ of course!
Up early and heading out for the first day of walking. My aim was to walk from the campsite to Pen-Y-Pass, onwards across one of the many routes up to the top of mount Snowdon and down one of the other trails along the opposite side.
A warm morning but not so hot as to be comfortable for hiking. Before setting off from home, I’d copied a few audio books to my iPhone. Todays hike would be accompanied by Michael Palin’s Pole to Pole for which i’m a great fan of his travel books and have reread many many times. This is the first time I’ve listened to the audio book and a have made a mental note to check out Audible when I get home.
Looking back towards the campsite and lake.
After a few miles, I was at Pen-Y-Pass and have a few route choices to the summit of Snowdon. I choose the Miners track and would save the Pyg Track for tomorrow descent.
‘Following the opening of the Llanberis pass in 1832, the Miners Path was built to carry copper from the Britannia Copper Works near Llyn Glaslyn to Pen y Pass, where it was then transported to Caernarfon. The mining came to an end in 1916, remains from the work can still be seen on the path to this day’
Stopping for a bite to eat at Llyn Llydaw. The Miners track stops here and the rough boulder strew path begins to zigzag up and to the right.
The Miners track now joins the Pyg track and heads sharply…up! Almost at the summit now, taking a breather and watching groups of people enjoying the ride on the Llamberis mountain train. It’s only now do i have a perfect phone signal so i took the opportunity to ring home and confirm I’d not burnt my tent down or was clinging to a rock face
Another quick hike to the busy summit top, some 3500ft above sea level and another cuppa whilst I seek out the route down.
I decided to take the Watkin Path down at the recommendation of a work colleague of mine. He was right, great views coming down although a little tricky in the early stages and requires a slow scramble down the slippery rock and slate chards.
Lliwedd summit in the background and although I wouldn’t be visiting today, I plan to head up that way on another trip soon.
Very hot out now as i headed down and to the right along the trail before heading left through the remains of building used many years ago in the Slate Quarry here. The waterfalls here where spectacular and so I took the opportunity to dip my melting feet into the icy water. Freezing it was and hats off to these fella’s for there balls…or lack off after those temperatures ;)
Late afternoon and at the end of the Watkin Path at Nant Gwynant, I finished off the trip with a 2 mile walk through the scenic woodland path back to the campsite as opposed taking the route to the road that would eventually lead me back. Along the way I had to refer to my OS map (OS17) as the route was a little unclear here. Before long i was walking along the lake side part of the campsite, across the stone bridge and back to my tent. Weary now and grabbed my gear for a the short walk to the shower block and a long soak!
The next day I woke up to the sound of drumming rain on tent roof. Outside it was lashing down and sky was almost black. At the time I thought it would dash all plans for dry walking today and so cooking breakfast (with thanks again to my trusty Polka-dot umbrella) and dug out my waterproofs.
By the time I’d washed up, the rain had stopped and although still murky, it looked like it might break. Fingers crossed but taking my wet weather gear anyway I headed out for a Sunday morning stroll along lakeside road and headed south to the village called Beddgelert some five miles down the road. After finishing Pole to Pole yesterday, today’s audio book is Stephen King’s Shawshank Redemption – and may i say, was just as good, if not better than the film.
Beddgelert is a pretty village with stone cottages, old English pubs, bridges, streams and quaint gardens to visit. The perfect spot for a Sunday morning stroll despite influx of tourists that arrived shortly after. Grabbing a few supplies from the local grocery store i made my exit.
I headed out of the village, continuing along the road before reaching the car park at Rhyd Ddu and the start of another trail up the mount Snowdon.
This route is less scenic at the beginning but it’s a more gentle approach than yesterday and after the walk into Beddgerlert was most welcome.
At the top again and not so busy than yesterday so had time to have a good look at the cairn top.
..and a final bite to eat before heading down the Pyg Track with my new friend!
iPhone battery quite low now and with the audio book finished i switched it off to conserve power as I’d be needing it later on. Coming down, the route was easier although when I arrived back at Pen-Y-Pass, my legs were groaning at the thought of another two or three mile walk back the campsite. In the end, I opted to catch one of the regular Sherpa buses that has routes all along the Snowdon range.
After a bite to eat and still no sign of rain, there’s one more thing i wanted to do…and thankfully, one that wouldn’t need my now aching legs!
Llyn Gwynant campsite offers Kayaks and Canoes for hire (or facilities to launch your own). Prices start at £6 and with the breeze rolling across the calm water, was just the cool down i needed. Wrapped up in three layers of water proofing, i carefully unwrapped my iPhone (heart stopped once as i rocked my canoe way too much and thought i was going in) and whipped off this photo before the battery went completely dead.
Back at the tent, the heavens opened and it rained….hard…and fast. Dinner of steak, potato, peas and carrots helped along by Mr Polka dot and washed down with a beer I’d tied to a line and sunk into the nearby stream earlier that morning.
More rain and what might have been a clap of thunder, who knows, i was soundly asleep.
My last day, and awoke to more rain. Outside, most folk had packed up and headed home the previous day and so i practically had the place to myself. It’s a shame i wasn’t stopping longer After breakfast and with the rain temporary halted, i took the opportunity to get packed up myself and with one final walk around the campsite lake i said my goodbyes to the friendly staff and headed on home. I’ll be back here again soon.
On the way, and with now charging iPhone in the car doubling as my satnav, i thought i’d visit the Victorian coastal town of Llandudno. I’d heard it was very nice and thought it would be a good idea to briefly scope it out.
They weren’t wrong, it’s a lovely place with enough town, attractions, beach and walking opportunities to warrant a short break here again sometime soon.
I headed out to the pier that’s overlooked by the hill side of Great Orme.
At the very end, there’s an amusement arcade. In it, there’s the usual smatter of modern day game and dance mats, grabber cranes and slots. Sadly no retro gaming to be had here…..although, tucked in the corner was this sun bleached Indiana Jones Pinball table.
To the change booth!
A great table and i wished i’d had more time but play – I’ve heard that ‘The Lass’ in Manchester have just brought an Indy table so will be checking with the fella’s and may head up that way again soon.
One last strole before heading home and to walk off those fat seaside chips I’d been picking over.
Views from Great Orme.