Well, my house “do up” is finally complete after 2 years and the Barbecue I held to celebrate it went really well. I even wore a martial arts outfit, as my alter ego “The weekend Ninja”.
I’ve seen loads of interesting plays, talks and comedians recently (which you’ve probably seen on facebook/twitter).
Not long now before I go off to Burma and Nikki and I will be celebrating 4 years together while away.
For now, I’ve converted a few older pages and written this recent piece about a nostalgia inducing trip to Llanberis.
Near and far, the search for adventure continues…
Looking back on an ill fated trip to Snowdon (we were meeting my brother at the top and the train he was on broke down).
Theres always a silver lining. We walked up the Llanberis path (I’ve done all 6 routes up and down and the Llanberis path is easily the dullest) and noticed an interesting ridge off towards Llanberis.
Closer inspection on the map confirmed it as Moel Ellio.
Seed planted, I knew we’d come back to “conquer” it.
Although Nikki is my girlfriend she’s also a free individual.
As such I really appreciated all her help, now that the work on the house (much of which she’d either done herself or motivated me to do by nagging) had been completed.
Some sort of nice reward seemed to be in order. I booked us 2 nights at the youth hostel in Llanberis. We were looking forward to it, as we hadn’t stayed in that particular youth hostel and Llanberis has always been special to me.
Just like Chris Bonington, Snowdon near Llanberis, was the first proper mountain I’d climbed under my own steam.
The following summer I had an amazing trip there with Jason Macdonald, Caz, Lee Sawbridge and Jane Smith.
I’d always wanted desperately to be an outdoor pursuits instructor. Bit by bit I realised I wasn’t cut out for it and perhaps an alternative career would be better.
As I stood next to the stream near the fairy glen I made a decision. I’d build an exciting career in computers and use the money I made to fund a life of adventure.
At that moment I was sad as I knew I was giving up a dream, but I was filled with an expectant energy about the future.
Back to the present day, and Nikki and I check into the hostel.
The hostel is modern, bright and spacious. But on the lane leading up to it, there were a number of maintenance vans and we didn’t know why.
Well, the hostel had no running water!. But it was Friday night, so I just drank beer and we ate the delicious Thai Green curry that Nikki had prepared.
The following morning and were up and out on the hill.
The normally excellent instructions from walking world fell a bit short so we improvised (I love walking world with its normal easy to follow instructions, but ALWAYS take an OS map in case of the unexpected).
Steep going, then we hit the top of the ridge and follow it as it rises and falls (the wind was so strong in places that you could lean forward and not fall over 🙂
So, Moel Ellio completed. To honour the occasion, I gave it a new name. I decided to call it the Elephants back.
We complete the walk, get back to the hostel and get showered and cleaned up.
With dinner reservations already made, we’ve got a couple of hours to kill.
That summer we spent an evening at the Padarn lake hotel. They had a normal bar and a ramblers bar.
I’ll never forget how busy it was, people were just sitting out on the flags outside in the sunshine.
Inside Lee and I found a corner and talked about the future, when Mac and Caz played Double Dragon.
Sadly today, its a sports bar and has nothing of its previous character.
But this was made up for with the award winning Peak restaurant where we had dinner.
Beef and Ale pie and Mash, washed down with Moretti and later a Chilean Merlot.
Not finery I enjoyed in my youth. Back then it was tea brewed on a Trangia and evening meal from the chippy 🙂
Off to bed to a good nights sleep (well as good as you can in a 3 foot wide bunk bed!).
In the morning, we eat another hearty breakfast at the Youth Hostel, then walk 2 miles out towards Pen a pass.
We pass a campsite I’ve stayed at several times. I remember when we came here with Caz and Yvonne(friends at the time, now married for over 20 years).
Yvonne had decided to climb the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales and on this weekend it was Snowdon.
We’d seen an amazing hill from the Elephants back the previous day.
Walking rules, go something like this:
Walking on open ground is about 3 times harder (and slower) then walking on a path.
Walking over rough terrain is about 2 times harder (and slower) than walking on open ground.
This was rough terrain, extremely steep and throw in some scrambling half way up. An incredibly challenging route.
After 5 hours, were rewarded with this amazing view back into the valley and the Padern lake.
Back down the hill by another way (still no proper path) but we’d worked out a smart circular route for next year.
Back at the bottom of the hill, the Vaynol arms beckons and we get a nice drink before heading back.
On the summer trip, we camped here. I remember almost everyone on the campsite headed for the pub around 7pm.
Its still got loads of climbing memorabilia and pictures of famous names like Don Whillans.
Its then that it hits me.
We’ve left the car back at the youth hostel, so we have to walk 2 miles back to Llanberis then up a big hill!.
Another brilliant weekend, then off back home for bath and dinner in Urbano 32.