There’s nothing quite like being in the mountains… and that’s where I was the weekend before last. It was exactly the huge dose of nature that I needed. My eyes have certainly been opened to how much I need little wild adventures in my life recently (30DaysWild of course) but sometimes you just need to dive head first into it, so that’s what I did!
A group of us headed to Snowdonia for a couple of days of camping and climbing. It was set up through my local Meetup group that I’m a member of. You may never have heard of it but it’s likely there’s at least a few Meetup groups near you. If you want to meet new people, go on some adventures, and try new things you should definitely look into joining! Find out more here.
We stayed at the Cwellyn Arms campsite but I can’t say we were overly impressed on the first night we arrived (a Saturday). It seemed all very disorganised with everyone booking pitches beforehand but the campsite actually seemed overbooked. It was so packed there was nowhere to park (unless you were ok with parking in a ditch!). For me the idyll of camping in remote mountains is tarred a little when you are surrounded by so many others.
There was no staff actually onsite so it appears they had little awareness of the chaos that was ensuing. We also nearly missed out on dinner (we managed to eventually find one pub that could serve us in the next village) because they had limited staff at the Arms meaning they could not feed the hordes at their door. We passed a couple of other almost empty looking campsites on the way, so next time we will probably head there! However, despite all that, it really was a beautiful place to camp and we managed to pitch our tents right next to the lake.
After a slightly wet first night in my mini tent (cheapo £13 from Wilkos!) it was wonderful to wake up to the great outdoors, even if it was rather cloudy. Then we headed to Miners’ Track to begin our ascent to the summit of Snowdon! There are a couple of car parks nearby (one at the beginning of the track next to a café and a hostel which was packed and expensive) and another about a mile away that we ended up using. We walked to the beginning of the Miners’ track.
The trail began with a very easy slightly sloping path through the high hills and past lots of little lakes. The weather was clear despite the hovering clouds. There were some lovely green views. It’s so refreshing to set out on an adventure!
As we reached the true beginning of the ascent towards Snowdon it began to slowly rain, and then it shuddered into a pouring shower. But I was very prepared with my raincoat, waterproof trousers and rucksack rainsheet! I do hate the rain when I’m not prepared but kitted up and in a stunning place I actually enjoy it. It makes me feel a whole lot more part of nature when I’m out in the elements. It became a tad steep but still very walkable, though also tiring for unfit me.
After a long curving path up round the base of the mountain we reached the really steep bit where we zigzaged up Snowdon. I actually preferred this steeper part of the walk as it was more like rock climbing than walking up hill. Working out where to put your feet and where to cling on was a fun challenge! It was strenuous, my leg muscles were certainly getting exercised.
A few hours of scrambling, climbing and resorting to all fours finally led us to just below the ridge that marks the top of Snowdon.
And then after the final stretch we made it to the very top of Snowdon! The views were stunning, especially with the sea in the far blue distance.
Of course we made sure to stand on the official summit. Though it’s only small and a lot of people try to cram onto it! I must admit I was surprised by the large numbers of people. Though some of them had cheated (in our opinion as we stood exhausted) as they had come by train. I’m glad we didn’t get the train, as I felt such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment as we touched the summit. What’s a wild adventure without the challenge?
After a well deserved long rest enjoying the views in the newly appeared sun and the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had (my body needed it) at the Snowdon Cafe (yes there is a cafe at the top of a mountain, along with the steam train it’s quite surreal) we began the descent.
We followed the same path we had come up for part of the way but then forked off onto the Pyg Track (an old map we had called it ‘Pig’ and the other ‘Pyg’). It was a supposedly easier path as it was less steep but much of it appeared to not be a path, so even more rock climbing in our tired state!
It was a good feeling to finally get back after 13 miles of clambering through mountains. We were all very quiet that night and I was very happy to curl up in my cosy tent!
It was such a fantastic weekend, surrounded by wilderness and far from civilisation. It is a brilliant way to be truly mindful, living in the moment and enjoying the rawness and challenge of life. It feels like freedom. We were not born to sit in front of computer screens, we were born to thrive in the great outdoors.
Although there was one thing that left me feeling a little sad, sad for a loss that occurred a long time ago. These wondrous hills and miles of empty land were just that. They were not filled with urban concrete and yet, it was just a vacuum with a thousand white dots in the landscape, the sheep.
Where was the wildlife and complex ecosystems that should be flourishing? Where were the great forests that could be cities for wildlife? Where were the wildflowers? Where was the birdsong? For a short moment, in that silence I felt the presence of humanity more than I have ever felt in the depths of London. It was eye opening, George Monbiot and my job have ruined me!
Despite that, I am so glad I took up the challenge and made some epic memories!