Two wild camps, hiking, scrambling, SUP, packrafting, beers and laughs.
What can you do in 36 hours? go shopping, walk the dog, visit family, go to the pub for a Sunday roast, catch up on that box set? Well, yes you could or you could jump in your car, head to Snowdonia and have some serious fun.
The last two years have been hectic and my outdoor time has been hit pretty hard. I continually find excuses not to head out in to the outdoors unless its for work, I seem to put a value on every hour the day gives me and prioritise my days in a way that prohibits me from doing the things I love. Maybe this is what being a husband, father, self employed, house renovator is all about but I have felt myself slipping into a life that isn’t for me. So this last few weeks I have been getting back out there and enjoying the things that make me happiest. We all have to work and do the mundane things adulthood brings but surely we can leave that behind for 36hrs?
Ian above and myself decided to head to Snowdonia after work one Monday and cram as much into a mini trip possible. I headed to his house for 5pm and together we raced up to Pen Y Pass in the hope we could be on Cribgoch for sunset.
A sweaty hour or so later saw us scrambling up over the last few steep sections to top out at the start of the ridge. My heart was pumping, my legs were shouting, my mind had cleared and my smile was from ear to ear. This is what I needed, those that understand will be nodding their heads as they read this 🙂
Cribgoch holds only great memories for me, it was the first real ridge I ever hiked/scrambled, the first hike I took my wife on, somewhere I saw a satellite burn up through our atmosphere and land in the Irish sea, a place I have spent many a morning drinking my coffee like a king sat on his throne. When the weather plays ball the views are pretty spectacular, not just of the nearby neighbouring hills but views right across Wales and at times further.
After spending sometime on the ridge we scrambled back down the way we came a hundred metres or so to a couple of ledges, just wide enough for a sleeping mat. A timely 60 seconds saw our beds for the night prepared as we then sat down with a beer to watch the fading light of the day from the roof of Wales. A few head torches flashed on neighbouring hills reminding us that there were others just like us, taking joy in the outdoors and also enjoying a perfect mountain based adventure.
After a few hours sleep we packed down and climbed back up to the ridge to make coffee and watch the sun rise over Wales. I have done this a few times now and it never tires, having this busy ridge to myself for an hour or so will keep me coming back in this way again and again.
Once fuelled and hydrated with some of the finest mountain coffee and food we set off across Crib Goch and onto the Summit of Wales. The morning was still and the views were captivating, but what makes being on Crib Goch at 6am perfect is we didn’t cross paths with another soul until we were nearly on Snowdon’s back. I have often seen images of people climbing around or over each other on a busy day, scenes that make me shudder at the thought.
Once the obligatory Snowdon trig point selfies were nailed we descended quickly to the van and on to the all important lunch at Pete’s Eats 🙂
A quick paddle
With our bellies full of food we headed to Llyn Padarn for a few hours to chill out and enjoy the lake. Ian’s chosen craft was his stand up paddle board and I was super excited to get out my new packraft. Since my 3 day course and trips with Tirio I finally gave in and bought a Kokopelli Rogue I am really looking forward to some adventures in this little beauty.
The second night was to be Ian’s choice, a mountain he had yet to set foot on let alone sleep on. Needless to say I took no convincing as I love the physical workout this mighty lump of rock put you through. I have scrambled up this rock many times and not once have I take the same route, it seems to be the rule of Tryfan that no one will tread the same footsteps twice. With packs full to the brim for another night in the hills, progress was a little slower than normal. Arms, legs and hands were working hard to maintain grip and propel ourselves up the mighty beast.
After a quick chat with Adam and Eve we made our way down to Far South Peak where we both agreed would make a fine bivvy spot for the night. Once again we had had packed some great IPAs, Welsh cheeses and cured meats (no one said wild camping had to be tough) As the sun dropped down and we made our selves comfortable and carried on putting the world to rights.
The evening, night and morning treated us to everything the mountains can offer, a stunning sunset, a full harvest moon, clear skies and low cloud rolling over the summits.
We decided on a quick exit from the hills and on to Moel Siabod cafe for a good feed before heading back home.