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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A mountain jaunt

Hi all,
The bandwagon has been a little quiet lately, what has everyone been up to?

We're on the way to Birmingham (well, technically Wednesbury, but there's only 16 km between them - kinda like Bendigo & Eaglehawk but with more houses in between). Mum lands tomorrow. :-)

I've been keeping busy with work. Last month I spent a lot of time travelling around Wales; in the space of one week I went from Cardiff to Bangor to Llanberis to the far side of Anglesey to Caernarfon to Llandudno to Wrexham to Builth Wells to Swansea & then finally home to Cardiff again. I'll have to see if I can embed a map. It was a little insane but was National Science & Engineering Week and I had four Chemistry at Work events to attend.  :-)

It wasn't all just work, Bruce joined me for the weekend in Caernarfon and we wandered around the cute little walled town and explored the castle. However, the highlight of the weekend would have to be walking up Mount Snowdon.

We started a bit late (we had to make the most of the delicious breakfast at the B&B), so there were no carparks at the ideal starting point. Not to be deterred we drove to Llanberis & managed to find a free space. Off we headed, up the path in the direction of the summit.

We may have taken a wrong turn right near the start and had to cut across fields a couple of times to get back to the right path...  But eventually we were heading up the mountain. The walk was challenging - a constant uphill for 4 hours! - and for most of the walk we were under or in grey clouds. It was pretty amazing to come out of the top of the clouds - dazzling sunlight, peaks above us, white below us.

One of the drawbacks with climbing Mount Snowdon in the off-season is the lack of amenities. Admittedly, most mountains don't have conventional toilets - in fact you're lucky if you find a rock to hide behind. However, Snowdon has a train line with stations along the way & a cafe at the top. So when I needed to pee, I figured that there would be a loo at the top. And there was. But it was shut! If the trains aren't running, the amenities aren't available! I think that this is a big mistake on behalf of Snowdonia council - there were about 100 people at the top of the mountain and probably at least as many on the way up or down, just think of all the puddles that were created that day alone!

After admiring the view and taking photos to prove we were there, we headed along the railway line for a while, found a quiet patch away from the crowd & had some lunch. After a short relax, we set off back down into the cloud. About three hours later we were drinking hot mulled wine at the start of the trail. It was much easier coming down but you still needed to watch where you put your feet. And watch out for the sheep! They'd bleat at us and then run away. Weird!

It was an enjoyable day but I think next time we'll take the train. ;-)

*hugz* to all