Being in North Wales for the weekend made me realise that I mustn’t let anything stop me from doing what I most enjoy, which is travelling, exploring, and having a bit of an adventure. To make that happen, I decided not to waste any time. I headed off to the nearest outdoor shop in Llandudno, and bought myself a good quality sleeping bag. That meant I could stay in a campsite for the night and sleep in my car if I couldn’t find a place to stay for the night.
After that, I drove to Snowdonia in search of a campsite. There certainly isn’t a shortage of them. I stopped at one, which happened to be owned by the National Trust. It was a small campsite with an electric shower and clean toilets. The only thing it lacked was a kitchen, which would mean driving to the nearest village for dinner and breakfast.
Without a tent, I didn’t have anything to set up, so shortly after arriving, I got in my car and drove to the nearest village that someone had mentioned. It was early evening by that point. I had no idea what the village was called or what it would be like. To my surprise, I discovered a small, bustling, picturesque village – Beddgelert. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had accidentally stumbled across one of Snowdonia’s gems. Don’t you just love serendipity? I parked in the free car park, and went for a wander.
It looked charming, with characterful stone buildings and a stone bridge over the River Colwyn. It’s always a joy when I discover places like this. I walked across the road, over the bridge, and turned left. I ended up at the start of Aberglaslyn Pass. It couldn’t get any better, could it? It was too late for me to go for a long walk, so I just walked down to a bridge, crossed over the river, and returned to the village.
As I wandered around, looking for a place to eat, I wished I could stay there because it was so idyllic. That’s when I spotted a B&B, which had a ‘vacancies’ sign. I certainly wasn’t expecting there to be any vacancies on a Saturday night in such a lovely village. I rang the doorbell, and asked if there was a room available. There was. The woman invited me in to view the room. Once I saw the bed, that was it. There was no contest between sleeping in the back of the car or sleeping in a bed. The bed won hands down. I agreed to take it and promptly went to my car to get my suitcase. I could save my back up plan for another day.
Staying in Beddgelert was fortuitous, and not just because I slept in a cosy bed. I had no idea what I was going to do the following day. If you have read a few of my blog posts, you’ll realise that I tend to travel like that – without a plan. I tend to make it up as I go along. In the morning, at breakfast, a family were talking about hiking up Mount Snowdon. Up until that point, the idea hadn’t crossed my mind, but listening to their conversation (I’m not an eavesdropper, honest!) had planted a seed in my head, and that seed grew rapidly, in the space of a few minutes. You see, I love walking, being outside, and challenging myself. ‘Should I hike up Mount Snowdon?’, I wondered. The more I thought about it as I packed, the more I thought I probably should.
I googled it, and read about the routes. As I was on my own, I didn’t want to take a really difficult route. I like a challenge, but I wouldn’t knowingly put myself in danger. What you might not know is that I have a habit of getting lost, with or without a map. My internal GPS can be a bit off, sometimes. Well, most of the time, actually. I read about one route that sounded ideal, Rhyd Ddu, because it was one of the easier routes, picturesque, and a route less travelled. That would do me!
I was sold on the idea even if I wasn’t prepared for a day of hiking up a mountain, let alone the highest mountain in England and Wales. I had my hiking shoes with me because I take them pretty much everywhere. I also had my waterproofs because you need to prepared for rain when travelling around the UK. It would mean hiking up in jeans, which isn’t the best material for a hike, but I had no choice.
I popped into the village’s convenience store, which doubles as a post office, to buy a packed lunch and get some cash out, then, I was ready. I jumped in my car and drove about 3 miles down the road to the start of one of the routes that would take me up Mount Snowdon.
Have your say
How do you travel? Do you also go where the wind takes you, or do you prefer to have a plan?