Last year an amazing weekend camping in Llangollen kicked of an entire year of weekend’s away, Sunday walks and overseas trips.
It’s an annual event and it was so good that I emailed Sue, the organiser to tell her how much I enjoyed it.
Just to prove that no good deed goes unpunished, I ended up being roped in to organising this year’s event with her (I’m only joking it was great fun).
The format of the weekend, is we normally spend Friday afternoon around Llangollen, then do day walks on Saturday and Sunday and go back home in time for Monday.
It had been a week since snow had fallen in Chester, and it had largely disappeared. As we drove over on Friday morning the hills were covered in Snow, which made for this superb view.
Although bright, the weather wasn’t kind, and the temperature was around -4 during the night.
We decided that those staying over, would use hotels. I stayed at Gales wine bar hotel. It was very comfortable, and quirky at the same time with walls made of wattle and dorb.
A few of the group were from Wrexham, so they got buses or taxi’s to/from home.
In Llangollen high street.
The main area’s of interest here are pro-adventure (an absolutely brilliant outdoor shop) and the Seajays chippy.
We had a bit of a wander around, then had a few drinks and went back to our hotel to get ready.
That evening, we had a meal in the Cornmill, which overlooks the river Dee. Same as last year, the food was superb.
In the morning, I’m organising the first walk (I say organising, as it was actually Brian who was leading it).
It involved a train journey to Glyndyfrdwy and then a walk back.
I was really excited. I’ve been in a helicopter, in a submarine, the list is endless, but I’d never travelled on a steam train.
Glenn wasn’t joining us on the walk due to work commitments, but came to see us all off from the railway platform. He bought me some commemorative Steam train themed socks to mark the occasion.
Once on-board, it was euphoria. Its an adult group (but were not swingers or anything like that) but it felt like being on the coach during a school trip, it was that exciting.
The view out of the window, didn’t fill everyone with confidence for the walk.
The train journey was superb. I know some of you reading this will yawn, and wonder how a steam train can be exciting. Sat with all my friends, travelling through the snow filled countryside was an incredible experience, that’s hard to describe.
The only disappointment was it was over in just 22 minutes and we arrive in Glyndyfrdwy.
After disembarking, we hit the trail.
There had been talk of wandering home along the paths, but Brian decided to take us off road, and we were trekking through forests with deep snow.
Weather was beautiful.
The snow in the hills was much deeper than at home in Chester.
As long as we walked carefully, our boots would provide even support across the snow and we wouldn’t sink.
Just to show the depth, in the bottom middle of this picture is a fully extended walking pole (around 3 feet long) pushed into the snow with just the handle showing.
We stop off at a pub called the Sun in in Rhewl (or literally, in the middle of nowhere).
It had been taken over by a couple who were having problems with electricity and stuff like that.
Most people had coffee, but a few of us had pints (obviously, I had a pint).
After leaving the pub, disaster struck.
Walking along some raised ground, Brian saw a big mound of snow. Jumping hard in it, he believed that the snow would compact and break his fall.
Turned out some of the farmers children had constructed a snow-hole up against the raised earth.
As Brian jumped, his boots passed through about 2 inches of compacted snow which formed the roof, then he “sailed” 4 feet down to land hard on the ground.
I think he was lucky he didn’t break his leg. The “manufacturers” of the snow-hole were unavailable for comment.
We finish off the walk by bagging a hill overlooking the town.
Inman’s wood (named after Jon Inman from are you being served) was very steep and had really deep snow. Some of the foot holes involved immersing a boot 2 feet into the snow.
Luckily, I’d relieved some new walking boots as an early birthday present so everything was fine (Salomon Quest, are the best boots I’ve ever owned).
Back in town, I wanted to relax, but for various reasons was unable to.
We tried to get a cheap room for Brian (the guy in the photo with the pretend frown). I was delighted when we managed to get an on suit room at Bensons (with breakfast) for just £32 a night.
I desperately wanted to watch Dr Who, but I had to organise a 2nd evening meal (I’m still unsure why we needed a 2nd organised meal after the previous evening. I thought the chippy would suffice).
Annoyingly Galess (like quite a few other eateries in Llangollen) don’t accept bookings for tables so you have to find a table and “camp” at it until your friends arrive.
I liked Gales, but the food took 2 hours to arrive. The food was nice, but at that point, I was so hungry I would have eaten newspaper.
Haven’t done much hill walking since New Year. I was so tired, I went to bed straight after dinner (a shame, my friends had a really good time around the local bars).
The next morning and were off to the next walk.
This time its being led by Trigger (who’s real name is Paul). The walk had been moved to the Clwydian ranges, so we had to drive over the mountains (we stopped the car to take some photos).
Well be walking around some hills near Moel Famau.
Emma poses next to the sign, and we set off.
We walk up through the snow.
You can see the Jubilee tower in the background, which we reached a few minutes after this photo was taken.
We continue along the tops in a skirmish line.
We reach this Cairn where we had lunch (we had to get on the leeward side, the wind was howling).
Wandered along a snow covered hill which looked fine.
As we moved to the side, we could see things differently.
From the bottom of the gulley it was clear if we’d kept walking in a straight line, we’d have been in peril.
This scene reminded me of a miniature version of the Khumbu Ice-fall in the Himalayas.
The walk and the adventure weekend is coming to an end. We wander along this sort of “snow wall” and have a quick drink back at the Golden Lion at Llangynhafal.
Thanks to everyone that came along, and most of all to me, for all the hard work in organising it 🙂