Quite a while ago Blogpacker Robin announced that he was going to be popping out for a long weekend in Snowdonia this weekend and indicated that he was amenable to people joining him. Alan quickly said that he would join the party and it looked for a while like it would be something of a micro-meet.
Being the far-from-organised people that we are, it wasn’t until last Sunday that I suggested to Mick that a trip to the Carneddau would be more interesting than yet another yomp over the Chase and proposed that we make the journey just for a quick overnight, with the intention of tying up with Robin & Alan. The wonders of modern communication were engaged and by mid-week I had the details of the proposed parking place and campsite.
In an extraordinary display of disorganisation it wasn’t until 10am yesterday morning, whilst Mick was busy working, that I started gathering together all of the gear we would need (disturbing Mick for some input, like “Which sleeping bag would you like to take” (I ignored his answer and packed a different one for him) and “Do you know where your mug or my hat is” (he didn’t; I subsequently found my hat in my (cheap, plastic) mug, but Mick’s (titanium) mug is still missing).
By approaching noon (having been distracted by all manner of things, not least some very tasty cake), I had all of the gear in a heap and was in the midst of conducting an experiment as to whether I could fit everything I would need for a coldish-weather backpack into my 35 litre OMM Jirashanca*. To complete the experiment I needed food and that was my next obstacle as we were rather lacking in supplies of food suitable for a backpacking trip.
With time pressing, speed and laziness prevailed and so I drove the mile down to the village to ransack the village store for such unappetising but light foodstuffs as Pasta n Sauce, plus a box of muesli bars.
Five minutes later I was home, having ascertained that every car parking space in the village was taken. Harrumph – we didn’t have time for this!
Five minutes later again, I was whizzing down the road on my bicycle (only whizzing because of the wind being strongly behind me; coming back was a bit more laboured!).
At the time that I had hoped to be on the road, I was just cooking a less-than-lightweight fresh pasta and sauce (seems that our local shop doesn’t sell even unappetising lightweight stuff any more) and stuffing the Hobson’s Choice of breakfast bars into our packs.
Then Mick got tied up on some work calls and then I realised that we ought to have some lunch before we left, and then when, over an hour later than intended, we finally got on the road we got stuck in horrible traffic and then we got caught in more horrible traffic, followed by a little more horrible traffic.
As a result of all of that, it was somewhat later than intended when we pulled up into the allotted parking area and so we wasted no time in donning our packs and making like rats up drainpipes along the track.
Three minutes later I was huffing puffing and we slowed down from the rat-up-drainpipe pace to something more sensible, and at such a pace we happily continued, marvelling at the lovely afternoon that had materialised and marvelling even more at the stunning surroundings.
Three quarters of an hour later two tents and two figures were spotted on the hillside ahead of us in roughly the area that we had expected to find Alan and Robin and so towards them we headed.
To be continued…
(*The 35-litre pack was just an idle experiment. My intention, with a couple of hours on my hands, was that I would then unpack and put everything in my OMM Villain to make sure that it wasn’t too much of a squeeze. When that couple of hours mysteriously disappeared in the blink of an eye I didn’t have time to switch packs and in any case had decided that everything fitted just fine in the smaller pack – and without even having to hang anything off the outside. The result was a very comfortable couple of days with a tiny pack weighing in at just under 6kg without water.)