From the Sea to the Mountains

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Tonight I am cut off from the world. At least in the mobile broadband sense. I’m in a campsite at the top of Llan Gwynant, a small lake nestled in the valley on the east side of Snowdon. I’d guess it was glacial at some point on the past. I had the place earmarked and got to it relatively early and wasn’t going to just peddle on past. This is the Wales I came to see.

The day started off a pisser. It had rained overnight, despite which I had slept well, waking briefly at 5am, but dropping off again until 7am. The rest of the campsite was still sleeping, possibly from the fatigue of listening to the hobby teenage boy who was running about till about midnight, shouting at the top of his voice to other much you get kids. Just about everything he said came out with unnecessary venom, that I’m sure there is a recognised disorder for it. Possibly Wankeritis. Fortunately the rain made them go away.

Despite the rain stopping during the night, the tent was soaked and I waited around for a while to let it dry out, spurred on by the appearance of brighter weather. That was a red herring though, as it soon started drizzling which then turned into a proper shower and the place was shrouded in mist for half an hour. So the tent got packed away wet, and it felt like I might be carrying a couple of extra kilos of water as a result. But by the time I left the site the rain had passed and the patches of blue in the distance quickly brought themselves closer and things cheered up. I found a Spar to stock up in after eating all the supplies the night before. Second on the agenda was a cafe for the obligatory fry up to start the day.

I stopped briefly at Harlech Castle but didn’t want to look around. It didn’t look like there would be a good place to leave the bike with the bags on, so I took a couple of photos for the record.

A young French cyclist flagged me down in Penryhndeudraith to ask directions. He was setting off in the direction of Snowdon, which he wanted to cycle up on his mountain bike, brave chap. I said I would be heading that way later, but first I wanted to take a look at Portmerion. We went our separate ways, and I found my target after a couple of miles. Alas, £9 was a bit steep for a quick look around and use of the restaurant, and I went and sat in the carpark, in the sunshine, at a park bench and had an improvised lunch from rations.

The route into Snowdonia via Beddgelert was A-road only, but it turned out to be pretty quite and it was enjoyable skirting the edge of the hills, looking across the valley to yet more hills. Beddgelert was a bit touristy, but I found a smart looking hotel with tables in the sunshine and treated myself to a lovely smooth pint of something unpronounceable but local. Today was not going to be great distances but I still covered 37 by the time I looked down on Llan Gwynant, sunshine only occasionally broken by the clouds peeling off the top of Snowdon.

There was no one on reception but some campers just said help yourself, so I cycled around the site looking for a pitch. One of the fields was sparse and away from noisy families so here I pitched. After a chance to sort out the wet stuff I took the bike for a luggage free toddle up the pass to the view point that looks towards Snowdon. Unfortunately the peak was constantly shrouded in cloud, despite the best wishes of several onlookers trying to will it into reveal itself. But the sun was still out and t was bliss to feel it’s warmth and enjoy the fading colours on the surrounding hills. The morning will be better as the sun will be in the east and assuming no clouds, it should be more photogenic. Perhaps an early start would be a good idea.

Tonight I’ve sat in my tent, the doorway framing the view as the sun sets, another meal in for one. The only thing spoiling the peace is the screaming kids and gobshite parents. Next time, I’m going to make a point of wild camping so that I can get some peace and quiet. It would be nice if other tourers congregated together, but that’s probably wishful thinking.




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