Long Welsh Weekend September 2013

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All alone at Dol Einion
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I didn’t put these in my dinner
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The old road
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Tal y Llyn

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.

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Roche moutonee, caused by glacial action on the bedrock
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Sun just appearing on summit of Cadair Idris
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Blazing fire behind farmhouse
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Mynydd Moel
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Back towards Cadair Idris
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Mynydd Moel onwards
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Llyn Cau tantalisingly out of sight
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River from Llyn Cau all the way to my camp site and Tal y Llyn
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Alpine
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Gwern Gof Isaf camp site
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Tryfan

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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.

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Moon over Tryfan
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Towards Pen y Pass
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Fiddling with ropes
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Instructor
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So happy!
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Small abseil but huge leap for me
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Welsh mountain goat
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Llyn Pen y Gwryd

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.
Then home.

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Ye olde tub at PYG
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Private lake at PYG, one for Chris to swim in
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Alpine bar at PYG
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Edwardian bath, shower and thunder box, all original fittings
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Genuine Edwardian shower

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Snowdonia 17-24 April 2010

Saturday 17th
Very quick journey to get to our cottage Nant y Creua in Pentrefoelas. After unpacking, we went for a short walk from the cottage and then back for an omelette. 3.7 km.

Sunday 18th

This was only a 4.5 mile walk but we managed to make it last all day. We followed an AA route which did not quite accord with the map. Started from Aberglaslyn car park, up to old copper mining detritus. Lunched at same place I had lunched at in February on WGL course but approached from other side. One bit of steep scrambling which was achievement for C. One fairly precipitous bit which was also handled well. Then I cocked up the navigation but we found the path by watching some others skipping along it. Both sore footed at the bottom in Beddgelert. Went past Alfred Bestall, writer of Rupert stories’ house. Back along Afon Glaslyn and single track railway line. Maureen had recommended this bit and going through the tunnel but this is all fenced off so we couldn’t do it – the tunnel that is. Very exciting so called starter walk! 7.2 km. Back for delicious home made burgers.

Monday 19th

This was mostly a shopping day in Betws-y-Coed. Nice little town and I found several items to purchase. 2 pairs of shoes and a hi-viz windproof jacket. Drove up to Llyn Geirionydd and strolled along the water’s edge for 2.4 km. (1.5 m). This was the roast chicken day and it was also delicious!

Tuesday 20th

Nice drive over to Harlech across moors with grand views. Wandered around Harlech, nice and sleepy, had good cup of coffee. Short length walk above the town looking over the sea to little reservoir, but whilst sitting on a grassy knoll eating our sandwiches, we were approached by 2 pretty grumpy sheep. I made short shrift with them with my walking pole and shouting so they backed off. We continued on our way to the reservoir this time with all navigation going to text book plan. On our return trip, a great many sheep decided to gang up and started to rush at us. This was a very unnerving and pretty frightening thing to happen. I now really hate sheep and mint sauce is all they are good for. 4.8 km. (3 m). We went to the Bryn Tyrch Inn at Capel Curig. The food was nice (I ate beef) but the service was so slow, we just felt cross. I did tell them this when we left.  Fine if you don’t mind waiting an hour to eat when you have booked a table.

Wednesday 21st

Nice lazy day, went over to Dolwyddelan and walked a bit before heading to castle, got to point where we looked down on it. 4.7 km. (2.9 m) Inspired to make warm salad with left over chicken and potatoes plus added hot bacon and a bit of onion and tomato. This went down well!

Thursday 22nd

Sightseeing, went to Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant National Trust property. We were duly entertained by Will and had the place to ourselves. Beautiful location. I just love that there 5 consonants in a row. Went for short and very muddy walk in the forest nearby. So muddy it just wasn’t fun. 2.1 km. (1.3 m) Dinner at the Ty Gwyn Hotel in Betws-y-Coed. Nice food but over generous on the portions, just so much we couldn’t eat it all despite our best efforts. Other diners were a pair of middle aged gay gents, a table of 4 quite posh people and a couple who were so pissed they tried to exit the room by walking into the very large wall mirror.

Friday 23rd

This was our best walk day. After buggering about to find the right road to start from, we parked up near an archaeological dig just up from the village of Dolwyddelan. It was straight up for a good 200m which was pretty energising, very steep indeed. Then once the climb was over we were out in open country with no-one else in sight except for an eagle. Sandwiches en route and then down across moor and then farmland, the usual barking dogs, along the railway, through the wood, and back up to the car, a lovely lovely walk. 7 km. (4.4 m) Dinner at the Bistro, Betws-y-Coed, this was a real treat and great that we had booked it for our last evening. The posh people from the night before were also here and they too were much happier with their meal. Excellent food, and great service. Free nibbles to start with and free mead plus sweets to finish. It should be in the Good Food Guide. In fact, I’ve just recommended it.

Saturday 24th

Sad to leave as have had a lovely holiday in nice cottage, peaceful and quiet and restful.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.