Snowdonia part 1

It’s 4.22am and I’m lying in the dark typing on my phone. The dim screen illuminates the pillow and sheet of my unfamiliar bed but little else of my surroundings.

I should be asleep but I’m not. I’m really excited – and not for my usual reasons. Today is Saturday and I’m like a cat on hot bricks at the best of times when I’m about to weigh in – however for the first time in around 64 weeks running I’m not going to group to stand on the scales. 

I’m climbing Snowdon in a couple of hours.

On paper when my friend and I arrived in Wales yesterday we couldn’t have chosen a worse time to come. There had been heavy rain all day long. The advance weather forecast had been poor for days and by the time we arrived in Snowdonia the water was cascading down the roads in torrents.

We had arrived a little earlier than planned for check in and as we stood in the porch way of the hotel watching the downpour slow or quicken and at the surrounding view.

The weather couldn’t spoil this location. It. Looked. Lovely.

There’s something about Wales when it’s wet. It just looks right. Over the years that I used to live in this part of the country I really began to appreciate just how lush and verdant it seems to be both during and after a good downpour. It’s like everything has been cleansed and renewed.

We found our room, which was one of a row of lovely little terraced cottages behind the hotel. It looked quite small from the outside, but inside the space had been used really well and it had a really cool split mezzanine level with a bright and airy feel to it.

As the headroom was restricted up top and my companion is a little shorter I got the bottom bed – which was actually quite firm and comfy with no creaks or odd noises. I hate unfamiliar beds at the best of times (I’m still paranoid about breaking them) but this seemed reasuringly sturdy.

After stowing our gear and getting changed we decided to explore. As it was still bucketing it down this was also a great opportunity to test out our waterproof trousers!

Just around the back of the (national trust) hotel there was a tempting looking little path that we’d driven past on the way in and we decided to go and have a look.

By the time we reached the gate and steps leading to the start it was hammering it down with rain – but that’s what waterproofs are for right?!

It turned out that what we’d chosen to explore was the most wonderful little woodland trails through leafy and intimate green groves which together combined to wind their way up the side of one of the larger hills of the valley above the hotel.

Initially it was quite impossible to see a view of how high we were getting – but occasionally through the trees we’d just about see another perspective of the landscape that showed how far up we’d walked.

In many places it seemed that we were continually walking in a fast flowing stream, as the water was cascading down the hill towards us. At times it was deep mud underfoot  – at others just a gravel river bed – but so far so good.

Nothing up to this point was too slippery or boggy to stop us.

Then, almost without warning the path opened out into a beautiful – and seemingly forgotten little oasis (it wasn’t lost – but it was easy to imagine it being in a jungle somewhere!).

The moss seemed to be consuming every surface in sight as it crept slowly over it’s sheltered domain. The tree roots were also high up on the ground and snaking their way through, under and over the old stone walls that lined the route.

One could be forgiven for expecting to see a Buddhist temple around the next corner – but instead nature had something better waiting for us.

Swollen by the rain, and further up the hill was a fantastic and fast flowing little waterfall.

After taking a few videos and pictures we carried on further up to see if we could get to the top – not knowing exactly where the path would end.

At the end of around 45 minutes of gentle exploring we emerged from under the tree canopy into a large open hillside full of bracken. Almost on cue the clouds and mist began to clear just enough to see the view that we’d been missing up until then.

It was worth the soaking and mud covered boots – and looked glorious.

We sat on a large, tall bench at this viewpoint for a while, with our legs dangling in the air, swinging our feet back and forth as the rain continued.

It’s impossible for weather to do anything to dampen the spirits in a place like this though. Something just feels right about the world when you’re sitting on the top of a hill looking down at creation.

By this point we’d worked up quite an appetite with our long drive and walk – and decided that it was time to go looking for a meal.

From a Slimming World perspective I’d been very careful early that day to make sure I’d not gone into an ‘I’m not weighing in and I’m on holiday mode‘.

To this end I’d awoken really early on Friday and prepared some Tupperware containers with lots of vegetables and fruit to munch on during the journey – but this would only go so far – so we drove back towards the nearby Beddgelert to see what was available.

Most of the food on offer was typical pub fayre – with chips or mashed potato and lots of fried things. They all sounded lovely on the various menus we looked at – and there were lots of happy punters tucking into lasagne, sausages or plates of steak and chips.

I didn’t fancy over indulging and feeling bad afterwards though – and since my companion was happy to keep exploring we kept on investigating what the little village had to offer until we found a small cafe, tucked away behind the pubs.

Here I found a good compromise and the waitress was happy to let me swap out the pitta bread on these chicken kebab skewers (served with minted natural yogurt and a side salad) for a healthier (and free) baked potato.

My companion couldn’t resist the chips – which I was assured were also lovely! They certainly smelt it.

When we finally emerged from the homely little cafe (both feeling quite satisfied) the sun was beginning to set.

We walked back to the car, chatting about what we planned to take in our packs and how early we needed to arrive at our destination to start. There was a lot still to plan and pack for, which we did as soon as we got back.

Finally – it was time for an early night – but would I sleep?

No. No didn’t – but I was still full of energy and raring to go!

Tune in later internet for part two!



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