Snowdon

The trip started at 3am on a Monday morning when we left our homes in Devon. The first leg of our journey was to take us to Mount Snowdon. My stomach was churning with both excitement and nerves but when we arrived it was already proving to be a scorcher of a day which lifted my spirits. Due to our plan to camp on the top of Snowdon, we took our large packs and started off on the Watkins trail. We picked this route because my friend, who has experience in climbing, said the tourist route was not an option; I gladly concurred as, although I am a keen hiker, I do prefer to have as little human interaction as possible. We climbed past some old, derelict quarry houses as the mountain trail gradually got steeper and steeper - eventually stopping for a much-needed break. We devoured a Clif bar and a drink while looking out to one of the most beautiful views I had ever seen (pic Snowdon view). Approaching the final ascent of the trek, we were faced with an almost vertical scree climb up to the summit. Finally making it to the top, I was hit with a mixture of emotions: relief, that it was time to rest and a euphoric sense of achievement, as this was the first mountain I had climbed. Unfortunately, disappointment was in the mix as getting to the summit was delayed due to a queue of people that had taken the train (yes people do that!), slightly shattering the sense of solitude that we had been blessed with all the way up. Seeking peace and quiet, we headed away from the tourist hotspot and found a place to set up camp (pic Snowdon camp site). As day turned to night, the café closed (yes, they have a café!) and the tourists dwindled. Once peace had finally returned, we cooked our food whilst looking out onto the misty mountains of the Snowdon range (pic Sam pano Snowdon & me pano Snowdon). Here we kicked back, listening to music and chatting about the adventures that were to come in the week ahead. The night drew in and the weather started to change for the worse, so we clambered into the tent to escape the elements. Sam fell asleep instantly, fully confident in the tent’s durability, whilst I listened to the weather outside which seemed to be going from bad to worse (I was a tad dubious about a roof remaining over my head). I did eventually slip off to sleep but was soon awoken by the tent being battered and hammered by the wind and rain, convinced that we were going to be thrown off the edge. To my joy, we woke unharmed and started an early descent. The mist had enveloped the mountain range, leaving the rocks coated with a fresh layer of morning dew, making them slippery and dangerous. We followed a different trail (the Rhyd Ddu Path) to avoid the steep scree that we encountered on the way up. Drinking in the mystical atmosphere, we decided to play the main title song from Braveheart whilst continuing our descent, excited to embark on the next chapter of our adventure – Scotland. As the bagpipes rang out, a man emerged out of the mist, wearing a kilt and a leather punk jacket (yes, this actually happened!). Having recovered from that bemusing encounter, we headed on, finally arriving at the foot of the mountain and escaping the mist. Here we met the shepherd of Mount Snowdon, up at the crack of dawn with his two dogs, ready to start his blissful day of work in the mountains. He was an old chap, tough and weathered, with a thick Welsh accent and he asked us how we were and what our walk was like. An exchange with a final straggle of hikers before finally returning to the car and to a breakfast fit for champions - tomato soup and ramen. Cracking on the Tom Jones, we left Wales to head up to Scotland in Bruce, the trusty iron steed (old VW Polo).