Hiking – Up and down in Wales

Previously: The road that led us to Wales…

…Had been long and tiering we had had our encounters with duct tape and and broken locks, bad and short sleep and small melt downs, but eventually we got here, under a mountain.

After the long drive we had been resting a bit on the parking, poured some coffee down with a hearty breakfast, while glancing up to the climb of the day. We would be making our way up the famous scramble up the north ridge of Tryfan. Apparently quite some people are enthusiastic about climbing it, Waffle included.

Quite soon we got to see what all the fuss was about. After only a short hike up, we reached the first big boulders, over which the trail was clearly meant to be walked, crawled or scrambled. The trail reminded us from the hikes we had in Scotland a few years back. Direction is straight up; if there happens to be an obstacle, deal with it.

 

That is pretty much how we continued for quite some time. Slowly making our way up, boulder by boulder. The trail was not easy to follow, in fact, there were plenty of trails to choose from, some of them leading to dead ends, drops or too difficult spots to get up from.

We progressed slowly. On top of the difficulty of the ascend we were both dead tired and my heart was not having any of it. So we were not focusing, I was sitting down every 15 minutes and we ended up walking back the same track multiple times. As did some other hikers, who were looking for a way up.

This is probably the first ascend that I was, at times, feeling afraid and insecure. Pushing through those moments, climbing up a rock you thought you possibly couldn’t climb, hanging over emptiness while searching a good spot to hold on to. Those give you the most amazing rush of happy!

It took as quite a while to reach the top, but as always the view you get as a reward is splendid. The hike up might have just been one of the prettiest trails I have done so far. Very entertaining and rewarding.

After gaining our breath back we continued down on the other side of the ridge. We lost the trail among the boulders a few times and and got stuck with some verticals. So the way down was by no means boring either. The final bits took us to a lake and some soggy grasslands before heading to the car park, where our noble home on wheels was waiting.

Then started the vigorous search for the next place to sleep. Since we have built a trailer, and so become trailer trash, Waffle has attained an application that suits the lifestyle. He has a Park4Night -app in his phone, which has an abundant amount of places to sleep for a night with your moving castles. The fabulous app took us up to the beautiful, beautiful highlands on to a remote parking spot with a lake. Not bad, we also were provided with a small army of sheep to guard our wagon.

The next day there were no mountains planned, since the weather seemed to be turning wetter. Instead we would be strolling over some minor hills and in the bottoms of pretty valleys. Then the following day, Saturday, we would be tackling the Mt. Snowdon. Maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The road that led us to Wales…

As usual, an approaching long weekend gave us a reason to anxiously keep looking at the weather and hikeability of areas not too far away. In our priority list the Swiss Alps were keeping a high position, but as the day of departure approached the weather was looking increasingly bad.

Eventually the only option was to leave for the always so sunny Wales!

We had been changing long looks with the Snowdonia National Park and this seemed as the perfect opportunity to explore its hills. I was still a little bit bitter, since I have been really anxious to go to the Alps, but then again, lemons become lemonade, or how do we say it.

On a Wednesday we had our boat ticket on hand and passports in tow and our house on wheels attached to the car as we headed for work for the day. Turned out, that was more or less everything useful we had packed. Slowly it all became to sink in. We had our shower, but no towels. Yay. We had our camping chairs, but no fire bucket. Yay, again. We had sunny weather coming up, but no sunscreen. Yay, I always wanted to look like 50 when I turn 30.

More importantly, we had forgotten the licence plate of the trailer. Not exactly a good thing when crossing a border. So Waffle ended up running around like a headless chicken to get a new plate made. In the meanwhile I was hunting down some duct tape, to attache the plate with, since we didn’t pack any screws.

Waffle also had found out, that the lock on the door of our trailer did not really hold. So our trailer door was casually flapping away as it was pulled around the highways. The duct tape came in handy here too.

After a vigorous day of working and running around we were finally on the road to Calais, France. On the same road there were approximately 2,73 million other people trying to spot a piece of coast to sit on. That all resulted into us being stuck in a jam for an extra two hours, missing 2 boat connections and arriving to Dover closer to midnight than anybody would have wished for.

Snowdonia, UK

On the A5 towards the hills!

Snowdonia, A5, Wales

Caravan, Road trip, Wales

Our road train!

As we rolled out of the boat, I propped myself into an upright position against the window in the desperate attempt to stay awake and keep Waffle company. Absolute failure that was, as I was soon slipping into the abyss of drooly, snorety car-sleep. Soon Waffle shook my grumpy ass awake, since he was falling asleep as well. We needed to stop and move ourselves to the sleeping room. We used some rope to make sure nobody could get in to our trailer while we snored, and crawled under the covers, to get an hour or two of shuteye.

The morning came all too soon, but the prospect of having some mountains to climb turned into motivation to get up and going. I don’t know how Waffle did it. I would have not been in any shape for driving with my crisscrossed eyes. But soon we entered the National Park and gasped at the sight of the first hills plummeting into valleys and rising up again to plateaus. I felt my hiking nerves tingle, deary me had I missed that feeling!

We parked our road train right underneath the peak of Tryfan. The first mountain we were planning on climbing that day. First, we tried to sleep a bit longer though, since the climb up would be scrambling, and somehow I think, a well rested brain is crucial for survival in such activities.

I’ll leave you here for now. More about the wonders of the hills, and whether or not we had luck with the weather,  in the next post!

Sneak a peek to our photos here!

 

 

 

 

Escape to the neighborhood

I was looking forward to a nice, calm and relaxed Sunday today. Our neighbors had a different idea. They have just bought the house, and the renovation is on full swing during the weekends. Now they are killing the floor and apparently some of the walls with great passion.

My ears were ringing and I was getting irritated. So was Waffle.  Some browsing later we took our way to escape to Hamme, a small town a bit further up the river from us, with plenty of calm countryside walks. It was a beautifully chilly, sunny autumn day, so why not go out?

We arrived close to sunset, and the colors were stunning. There was frost and a bedding of brown leaves coloring the ground and a sea of reeds waving in the quieter waters as a golden fuzz. It’s been long time since we last did these short hikes around our own home. You don’t always have to go far to find things beautiful and interesting.

 

It was good to be out together. We had time to get silly again, I love his brain, refusing to get adult and serious, always looking for ways to do something silly. I think I tell that to him way too seldom.

The autumn air was getting our minds working on more smart things too. We spent a good amount of time planning. There is this dream of a “home extension”. A thing to be built that would bring quite some new aspects to our weekend travels. Waffle’s father is also in with the plan, which is great, because the two of us don’t necessarily have all the knowledge needed to do such a thing. (Irritating isn’t it, that I don’t let you know what it is? You’ll find out soon enough, trust me).

The walk chilled our cheeks and noses and gave a nicely wintery feeling. It feels so good  now to be back in the warmth of our home. The neighbors have stopped and the local marching band is still sober. Now over and out, with my glass of glögi off to the sofa.