Beddgerlert Birthday Bash
Last week, I turned the grand old age of 24! For my birthday I wanted to climb Snowdon, I have done Ben Nevis & really want to do the three peaks before the year is out, so this would just leave Scafell. I decided to book a few days off work & on Wednesday afternoon we set off for Wales!
The drive itself isn't very long from mine, about 2 hours, and once you hit Wales there is plenty of stunning scenery to keep you distracted. I had booked for us to stay with 'Camping in the Forest' at there Beddgelert campsite in Snowdonia. When we arrived at the town of Beddgelert just before 5pm we were able to grab an ice-cream from this adorable little shop, Banana Chocolate Chip! Yum. There last customers of the day, we got there just in the knick of time. It looks pretty gloomy in the photos but in my opinion it is always ice-cream weather!
The campsite was just a short 2 minute drive from the village, a straight road & when we arrived we were welcomed by a lovely gentlemen who explained where everything was. I didn't take many photos of the campsite but would definitely stay again! The facilities were great, very clean toilet blocks with showers and hairdryers (all the essentials). The on-site shop was well stocked and even had a service where you could order fresh baked goods to be picked up the next morning. Once we had set up tent, in the drizzle we decided to walk into the village for a nosey.
On our little trip to the village we found a quiet pub, I forget the name but if you go you'd be sure to find it, this place isn't very big. With a bottle of Blonde Tom in hand I beat Danny at a round of pool, I was as surprised as he was as I am not skilled in pub sports at all! The only downside was that there didn't seem much on offer in the way of food places, so a short drive to Porthmadog was taken to bag ourselves some fish and chips. These definitely were worth the miles. Happy and fed we decided it was best to head back because the campsite gate closes at 10pm so if you do drive it is important to be back before then.
Soaked on Snowdon
After a surprisingly good nights sleep, we rose pretty early to pick up our baked goods & figure out where to go next for our day of hiking. It is important to note that having cash on you in Wales is a big plus, I planned for us to take the Rhyd Ddu path up Snowdon but when we hit the car park there wasn't a cash machine in sight, and we had to drive a bit to find one. It was £5 for the day here (very reasonable), you park next to the railway station & with not much more than a map we headed off again in a little bit of rain. I was reminded of the line from Jumanji, 'A little rain never hurt anybody.' and Robin Williams reply 'No, but a lot can kill you.'
The path itself is pretty clear at the beginning, the route is less used & I wanted to make it more of a challenge for myself. Being the first mountain I have done without my usual crew, I wanted to prove that I had acquired the skills to navigate by myself. It is a gradual climb at first through some sheep filled sections. It wasn't long before we bumped into two other hikers trying to find their way, asking if we had done the route before. I was able to figure out where we all needed to go (gold star for me) & we continued ahead. About an hour in it became a lot steeper, the path still in my opinion easy enough to follow and we eventually reached a section that had a very weathered fence, guiding you up, so not to fall over the edge. This was a good sign that not only were we headed the right way but that we were nearing the top.
The conditions were not ideal in the slightest, the rain and wind gradually began to get stronger as we got higher and with the mist not once clearing it was more like being on Mount Doom! 'One does not simply walk into Mordor'...
The path began to level out as we hit a knifes edge style ridge, I almost got blown over on my face a few times, the exposed sections were pretty hard on us. It was just here we passed a guy who shouted 'Not far to go now!' that was a very welcome message as we were both feeling the conditions being pretty soaked through at this point. (Vans and jeans are not ideal hiking gear just so you know, Danny learnt that the hard way). Luckily I had my walking boots, thermal leggings and base layers on so wasn't feeling too bad.
After making that last climb to the summit, for a quick photograph. We had earned a coffee in the little station & taking some time to dry off seemed sensible. Now the weather had worsened quite badly, so Danny and I thought about getting the train down, more so because he wasn't really dressed appropriately for the weather. In a sunnier climate I think he'd have been just fine. However, his dreams were shattered when shortly after we arrived they announced the train had broken down and so everyone had to make their way back down! The staff didn't look too pleased with this either.
This didn't bother me so much, I enjoyed the challenge. On previous climbs I have always been pretty lucky with the weather conditions. After purchasing some Snowdon hoodies & a rain poncho, because my other hoodie was also more of a mop at this point. We began our descent at a quicker pace than the climb upwards, because we were both eager to get back to the warmth of the car. Danny looking a little less amused than me!
Once back at the car, it had taken us a grand total of about 5 hours to go up & down, with us spending around half an hour in the cafe. What a birthday! I really thrive on pushing myself in these situations, as a few years ago I wouldn't have made it very far at all. It was beautiful even with the dreary weather. If anything this added to the experience, it means my next trip to Snowdon will be different again. I would love to take in some of those views on a clear summers day from the summit, as it was pretty lacking for us.
This particular climb was all about independence, being much more experienced than this time last year, I knew it was up to me to guide us and ensure we were being safe. I had to navigate which i have never previously done, more of a follower but this was really great experience for me. I look forward to a lot more climbs with groups and even a few solo. When we finally reached the train station we were both much happier, a quick change & heaters on we started the journey home to Northwich. The night consisted of lots of pizza, popcorn & very little moving. Safe to say it was probably one of my favourite birthdays so far. Just need to think about how to top it next year...
🍑 A B Y
Aby, 24. Northerner.