Friday 20th September
It took me just over 3 hours to reach Dol Einion camp site which is right at the foot of Cadair Idris. The path up the mountain leads out of the field.
When I got to the site there was no one around so I put the tent up in about 5 mins. I found Marian and gave her £8 plus £2 so I could leave the car on the site the following day.
I walked along the old road to Tal y Llyn which goes alongside Llyn Mwyngil. There were a lot of gates and I looked at some gravestones next to a church marked private. It was definitely warmer than the rest of the week but it was cloudy and dull and I felt a bit gloomy.
Back at the camp another vehicle had arrived so just me and them.
The site was flat but needed a tidy up and the loos and shower needed ripping out and starting again. Thank goodness for anti bacterial gel.
I cooked my supper before it got dark, Simon Rimmer lentil tikka masala. Hot spicy and actually not bad for dried food. I was testing it as dry food is so much lighter to carry when wild camping. It took 20 mins to cook and the pan was hard to wash out in the cold water sink in the field so not ideal. I had some cheese and pitta bread with it. I ate in the car because there were midges, I was camped next to the river that comes off the mountain plus the grass was long and damp. The anti midge spray did at least work.
Marian, the site owner told me the 16C church I tried to go in was sold off by Church of Wales and the villagers were upset. Even the churchyard which is still in use was sold off. The National Park didn’t help and the council awarded retrospective planning permission. Marian runs a heritage centre in the tiny chapel next door to the camp site and she does talks. I missed the last one today.
I got a minuscule phone signal at just a certain angle in just a certain spot on the car seat so had little text chat with C who I was missing.
Saturday 21st September
I was cold at first in the tent but threw everything off by the morning. I actually slept quite well for me in a tent.
Got up at 7.30 and had breakfast of muesli, yoghurt and jam (a Rachel’s corner pot) also some horrible old fruit tea and some old instant coffee which was not much better.
I waited for the low cloud and mist and drizzle to go but decided to head up anyway. I packed up everything except the tent in the hope it would be dry upon my return.
I set off at 9.45, straight away it’s a stiff climb up steps. I started to leap frog with a group of 5 Londoners and we did this most of the day. They were ok although I did try to leave them behind! Sometimes they were a little bit faster than me and it was nice to see the slow girl of the party ahead of me in the gloom. The mist kept up all the way to the top. I never saw the lake all day. At the top another path joins in and a very old lady thought I was in her party so we had a mad conversation with neither of us understanding what the other was on about although I did think she would get it when I said I was on my own and not in her group. There is a shelter at the top with a roof. It is the old tea shop from Victorian times when poor ponies dragged up the customers. Today it was soggy and crowded so I opted for soggy outside to eat my lunch and was rewarded with the sun burning off the cloud and showing me the cloud inversions and the route ahead.
I went off along big grassy bit to Mynydd Moel. Had a quick chat with the man from London and set off down the fence. Stopped for another chat with 2 men in jeans. Probably poofs. One of London girls was gay. We are everywhere! Then down, down through sun and cloud and back to the tent by 3.30.
The tent was nearly dry so I shoved it in the car and headed off to Dolgellau then Blaenau Festiniog through lots of low cloud. But after the mountain it was sun again all way to Betws y Coed and along to Capel Curig then a short bit of the A5.
Gwern Gof Isaf camp site is on the left just before Tryfan. It is cleaner and cheaper and more busy but I found a spot away from the rest. £5 for night.
I bought 2 shower tokens so 10 mins for £1.
After getting the tent up I went for my shower. The shower room is mixed gender so I took some outer layers off and reckoned that when the tokens went in I would still have some control as in an on off switch of some sort. The token machines were outside the cubicles and I wasn’t in the mood to be naked in front of 2 boys and a girl, so I had to rush in, take the rest of my kit off with the shower running. Luckily I had taken my clean clothes in a large strong plastic bag so it was ok but a bit annoying to have to choose between public nudity and wet clothes. Still it was a nice hot shower and I felt much better after it. I must remember flip flops next time!
Then back to tent to cook up Look What We Found meatballs and pasta. I did these as boil in the bag to reduce washing up.
I sat in the car to eat my supper. Then watched the flaming sun go down behind Tryfan and watched the clouds from inside the tent until it was dark. I treated myself to hot chocolate with rum, yum yum!! It was very windy so I put more pegs in.
Sunday 22nd September
Not a good night. I’d been thinking of late that my shoulder injury was better but I couldn’t sleep on either one of my shoulders without it hurting and I was too tired to get up for painkillers. I went to sleep at 9.30 which is incredibly early for me and sort of slept on and off rolling around until 6.45.
It was windy overnight even lifting the floor of the tent at one point but I kept it in place and didn’t blow away!
Had my breakfast watching the sun rise in the lovely calm and warm with another river trickling past.
I packed up and struck camp. This always seems to take a while despite high levels of organisation. I guess having the car as an extra room inevitably means more clutter and more to keep in the right place.
10 mins to Capel Curig to Siabod cafe where the facilities were a bit better than the camp site although at least the site 2 had soap if not light in the loo. Site 1 had light but no soap and a big pong.
After accosting a range of men I found Paul Poole and a small group: Gary, Kirk, Viv and Bill. They had done refresher navigation the day before.
Paul showed us lots of books which I liked and most of which I’ve got. Then we set off towards Llanberis. We parked up opposite the big quarry and headed up with ropes and helmets. We practised anchor selection – tapping, kicking, checking for movement. Practised tying simple knots. Flaking the rope. Care of the rope. Indirect belay. I eventually got the hang of this by the end of the day. Anchor Belay Climber. ABC. Direct belay. Threading. Ascending using belays. Descending using belays. Descending using abseil to get self down only. Classic abseil. South African abseil. Confidence roping.
Still feel I need to practise all this a lot more but definitely felt more confident about it all than before.
It was a great day and I learnt a lot. Paul does modular assessments for ML as in 2 weekends, one a 3 day which is only a day off work. Not sure how much more I need to do in my log book but he will advise on this.
Off to Pen y Gwryd hotel. Nice old fashioned hotel. No keys for the locks, it operates on trust and has done for 75 years! I sat in the residents’ lounge supping a large glass of beer to celebrate having done a mini abseil and loved doing it. I was joined by David and later Gloria. The gong was banged and we had a good time talking so they invited me to join them to eat and gave me some wine.
I had melon with Parma ham, ok but in my heart of hearts I think this is an odd combination. I just ate it separately. Chicken, leek, mushroom with pastry rounds, new spuds, creamed celeriac and green beans. Lemon crusty sponge with jam.
In lounge again with John, Pam and Frank for coffee as well as Gloria and David.
Late to bed at 10.30. It was lovely to be in bed but I had to take all the heavy covers off.
Monday 23rd September
I awoke early, went to the loo, bumped into Gloria and couldn’t get back to sleep.
My morning tea arrived.
Breakfast at 8.30 summoned by the gong.
I had juice, sausage, poached egg and tomato with toast and coffee.
Said farewells to friends of night before.
Paid up and off to Llanberis. Went to V12 shop, I don’t know what that means and bought a Black Diamond rucksack that fits well. My last purchase doesn’t so I will sell it, it was designed for a longer back.
I had a coffee there and chatted with the staff. One of them does slack line walking and showed me a film of him doing this on Tryfan.
Then I went off above Betws and did a short forest walk, not very exciting but good nav practice as most of the forest tracks are not on the map.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.