Day 1, BarmouthPie aficionados gathered either side of Afon Mawddach in glorious sunshine for a few days of eating beer, drinking pies, backpacking and luxuriating in good company. The Plan didn’t quite go to plan….but that’s the stuff of adventures….innit.
The first bit of not going to plan-ness was our tea at The Last Inn. The place was full so we had to search around the town and eventually, after passing LOADS of closed eateries, nosh was obtained in a local Chinese restaurant….actually a dining room tacked on to the side of a Chinese takeaway.
Day 2, Barmouth to Dolgellau
Day 3, Dolgellau to Cadair Idris
This was intended to be a relaxed and laid-back trip but the extremely hot heat of the day meant we need to take more rest stops that normal. This was A Good Thing, I don’t do heat at the best of times and the stops were welcome.
I was a bit surprised (pleasantly so) to find that many of the stiles in this area are identified with their map reference – very useful for navigation in poor visibility:
We were all running low on water and we were keeping our eyes open for running water. It didn’t help that we were walking high on a ridge and any running water would likely be much lower down the hill side. A small bubbly spring was found – running with crystal clear water, it was wonderful! We drank our fill and then filled up our water carriers – our next quarry was a nice bit of flat ground for our overnight stop.
About 800m east of Carnedd Lwyd a suitable camping spot was found. It was a little breezy but absolutely fine. Within a few minutes the area had been transformed into a village of tents:
The evening wasn’t without it’s moments: A naked man, surprisingly clean, was seen lurking around the tents, The Pieman attempted to burn his new Akto down, someone was seen licking clean the inside of her rucksack…..there was probably more. All very odd.
Anyway, back to the plot: We were still high up and so had the benefit of tremendous views over Barmouth Bay and much of Snowdonia:
Some of us stayed up late (9.50pm!) to watch the sunset:
The cloud formations were unusual, a bit swirly in places….I should have twigged that this was an omen.
By 10pm it was a bit breezierer (that’s Timperley dialect by the way), nothing to worry about – I was in my Akto anyway. I zipped up the tent and was zonked out within not a lot of time at all. I stayed that way until, er, around midnight. So I got at least 2 hours sleep.
Day 4, The Great Wind and and the walk back to BarmouthI woke to a slap in the face – it was the tent inner flapping around in the wind. I later learned that Laura in the tent next door spent most of the night sitting up in her tent trying (successfully) to stop it from flying away.
All was okay with my tent but it was clear that the wind was strengthening – it didn’t help that we were pitched on an exposed ridge. At 2am I plotted an escape route off the ridge and packed as much of my stuff as possible into my rucksack. Then I tried to go to back to sleep. The BBC World Service helped by keeping much of the racket of the howling wind from my delicate ears.
At 4am I popped my head out of my tent to see a light on in Dawn’s tent, I didn’t know it at the time but she was struggling too – a tent peg or two had popped out and her shelter had lost some stability.
At 6am I heard voices outside my tent but the BBC meant that I couldn’t tell what they were saying. I made my breakfast, had a couple of mugs of coffee and then decided to have a look outside. It was a bit of a shock to see everyone’s tent being packed away. The buggers were going to leave me, I’m sure of it!
Mike’s original Plan was to continue along the ridge but it was decided to escape the ridge as quickly and directly as possible.
Our party left the ridge at around 6.45am and headed down to a sheepfold where those who hadn’t eaten could have their breakfast – that was everyone apart from me!
More photos here