The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Beddgelert Day 2

We awoke to a lightening sky and I soon managed to stir myself to face the worst part of any cold-weather camping trip: getting out of the cosy sleeping bag to bare one’s skin and get dressed in cold clothes.

With that chore over with (and it never is as bad as I think it will be), I ventured out to the convenient flat rock that was serving as a kitchen to brew up the obligatory morning cup of tea. I’d realised the night before that the gas canister I’d picked up was less full than I’d thought. What I hadn’t expected was for it to expire at such a key moment as ‘morning cup of tea time’.

Before I went in search of more wood for the Bushbuddy, I shook the canister and concluded it was just being hampered by the cold. After hugging it for a minute and by placing it on my foam sit mat, it obliged us with enough heat to get the water boiling.

I’m not sure how it took us an hour and a half to get ourselves ready to get moving, but it was eight thirty by the time we were ready to go, by which time the sun was up and the breeze had completely disappeared, leaving us with perfect reflections in the llyn and gorgeous sunny glows playing on the surrounding hills.

A perfectly still Llyn yr Arddu

Paying far too little attention to the map and not even considering the compass we wandered off in what we approximated to be the right direction. Initially we took faint paths through the heather, then took a rather direct route over the next lump in the ground, bashing our way through thigh deep heather.

Finally, when the llyns for which we were heading didn’t materialise we resorted to looking at the map properly, which a few minutes later led us successfully to arrive at one of the Llynnau Cerrig-y-Myllt.

Well - wow. What a spectacular sight; a sight that we tried unsuccessfully to capture via a video clip.

Immediately in front of us was the llyn, again with a mirror smooth surface reflecting the surrounding terrain. It also reflected the peak of Snowdon which was across the valley ahead of us.

Below the summit of Snowdon but just visible above the terrain on our side of the valley was a thin band of cloud.

Snowdon Reflected in one of Llynnau Cerrig y Myllt

Snowdon behind one of Llynnau Cerrig y Myllt

All of that was spectacular enough, but what was really impressive was how we could see the cloud absolutely pouring down a hillside to our right and into the valley.

We tarried a while drinking it in, before heading off to cross over a stream and heading directly down hill to the large stream (small river?) that led us down to a road.

It was as we approached the road that we met a chap; he was the first person we had seen out walking since leaving the river within the first hour of setting out the day before.
We met quite a few more people from that point until our return to Beddgelert, one of whom commented that they hadn’t expected the day to turn out well. Whereas our day had been accompanied by clear blue skies throughout, down in the valley their day had had a cloudy start. We felt duly smug.

Although we had enjoyed clear skies, we were seldom in the sun on our descent from the hills, across farmland and along the side of Llyn Dinas back to Beddgelert, and my goodness, it was a bit nippy!

Contrasted with the 30 degrees reading on my thermometer the day before, on Thursday morning that reading was between 3 and 5 degrees. I was glad for my winter trouser selection, even if I had roasted the previous afternoon.

The entire return route was nothing less than pleasant and it was just gone noon when we ambled back into a reasonably busy Beddgelert.

It was a short trip, with a total mileage of under 10 miles, but its right up there as one of the most spectacularly good backpacking trips that I’ve been on. It was just a shame that we hadn’t thrown an extra day’s food into our bags, as the temptation was great to ignore the other business we had to attend to in Wales and instead spend an extra night in the hills.


  1. standard practice gayle - never leave the canister on the ground, but place some insulated material underneath it when not in use. (stuff it inside a boot overnight?It will keep the canister warm enough to get the gas working better

  2. What a splendid time: So lovely to steal the good weather as everyone else has struggled in the gloom. Nothing like a nice bit of Scadenfreude! Droolingly lovely pictures too.

    Smashing! (Any news on the boots/shoes yet?)

  3. John - I can't remember where the gas spent last Wednesday night, but certainly on Monday night this week it was well protected over night. It still needed hugging lots of times to get enough gas out of it to heat tea and porridge (but then on the same morning the water that I'd managed to keep as liquid over night (good job as the water tap was frozen) turned to slush as soon as I poured it into the pan).

    Alan - there is indeed news on boots. Too many things to talk about and too little time: that's my problem - but I'll get there in time! Suffice to say for now that they've got (a whopping) four and a half miles on them so far...