Friday, 7 August 2009

A big adventure

Snowdon, a big adventure and one of those "must do" rides on my list, was done this week. 6pm, Wednesday saw riding buddy A and I loaded up with camping kit pedaling out of Llanberis towards the peak of Snowdon. A lovely sunny evening as we started out 3 hours later, with a bit of riding and a lot of pushing we reached the summit in the near dark and fog, just as the wind was starting to really pick up.

The plan of descending a bit to look for a quality camping spot had to be rapidly ditched in favour of the nearest bit of anything remotely pitchable on, so we ended up pretty near to 2 other tents, mere metres from the path. This wasn't the ideal site and I'd read lots of stuff on t'internet about how strict the rangers are on Snowdon and how likely you are to get moved on if found illegally wild camping up there, but the weather and nightfall meant no choice but to risk it. With kit coming out of backpacks and tent fabric flapping in the breeze we were approached by a lovely man from the Snowdon cafe clutching 2 cups of tea wishing us a good nights camping and telling us where we could find him if we had any difficulties, totally unexpected, but so nice.

I should point out here that this was my first attempt at pitching my new Terra Nova lasercomp tent, nothing like being fully prepared! I had at least had the foresight to take some spare tent pegs with me as several of the tiny ti pins that come with the lasercomp were instantly yanked out of the ground by guy ropes and flicked into never-never to be found again land. By this time it was dark, cold and foggy and I announced to A that it was too bloody windy to be trying to light the stove and we'd have to manage with our cups of complimentary tea and whatever we'd got that could be eaten without cooking.

I scrambled into my tent, into dry, warm clothes and sleeping bag and got snug. The night passed with some sleep, a lot of tent flapping, at times fabric flapping onto my head, a bit of peering out from the tent to make sure it was all still pegged down and a bit more sleep. 6am saw me up and out of the tent, and snapping a few photos, A got up shortly after and the low cloud started to clear. Stove on for several boilings for porridge and brews. We packed up all our kit and were ready for rolling down the mountain a bit before 8am.

The ride down had a few hairy moments and a fair few sections where I was off and pushing, no nerve for anything too technical, but was mostly fun and over far too quickly. We made it back into Llanberis and it was straight into Pete's Eats for a pint of tea and a good feed.

The whole thing was a big adventure, mostly fun, I had a few moments of questioning my sanity, what was I doing ruining a good run by bringing a bicycle along, why wasn't I sleeping in my own cosy bed, that sort of thing. But, I'm definitely glad I did it and I'd probably do it again.

More photos here.


Red Bike said...

That sounds fantastic! (well maybe not the dark foggy bit)

You obviously needed a Teakate with you. They come highly recommended for tent pitching and cooking/tea duties in the wind.

- Now get planning the next bivvy trip (Big hills but no mountains please!)

Julbags said...

Sounds fab, which route up and which route down?

The bike ban is a bit of pain but having walked Snowdon it is so busy you'dnever get a good riding stretch in.

It was thick fog when I walked it, never seen the view from the top.

jumbly said...

Juls - Llanberis trail up and down, there is a future plan involving the Ranger Path, I might run it though and not ride.

trio said...

Llanberis is what I want to do, ranger is very techy apparently!

Sounds like a fab adventure, on my to do list as well. I have now missed two chances!

Julbags said...

I walked up and down the Llanberis too. The original plan was to come down the Ranger Path to have a look at it but the fog was too thick. At the point (near where the pyg track joins I think) where you are practically on top of the train tracks you couldn't see them. Decided known route was best!

Richard said...

Geat adventure, I would like to do taht someday.. well done!

Pink Orange 5 said...

Ha ha, no waaayyyyyy.....
You must be mad !!
At least you enjoyed it that was the main thing.

jumbly said...

Pink - can't tempt you out on future wild camping adventures then?

Pink Orange 5 said...

Nah, I've gone from tents gradually up to 5 start cottages, not going back !!

kate said...

it reminds me of a night i once spent on kinder, essentially i was wrapped in the tent as it was so windy! still very jealous though :)