Time Taken: 27.5 hours
Our Gear: Alpkit Brukit, Thermarest TrailPro, Alpkit Dirtbag mat, Merrell Grassbows, FiveTen Guide Tennies, Rab Down & Mammut Sleeping Bags, Black Diamond Headtorch, Scarpa Force X & Five Ten Ananzi Climbing Shoes, DMM Bouldering Mats, Kayaking Kit – Sweet Protection thermals & Wanderer & Strutter, Palm Equipment (Luna) BA & Drysuit, Typhoon Mulitsport 3 Ladies Drysuit, Merrell WaterPro Maipo shoes, Teva water shoes.
The first Welsh Weekender kicked off much like every adventure, with a full car and last minute food. After suitable faff, we (the royal ‘we’ that is, the story of the second failed driving test is one that shall remain untold *sigh*, sorry, I digress…) drove over to North Wales full of optimism. We stopped off at the Fairy Glen (a section of river on the Conwy) for a walk and to make the most of the spring light. It was my first time seeing the Notorious G.L.E.N, and it did not disappoint. Fairy Falls was a awesome sight to see and it was quite impressive to think that I might one day willingly put myself and my boat into that chossy mess.
After a wander round Betws and some overpriced Londis supplies, we settled down to dinner in Y Stablau. Whilst tucking into a steak, we heard someone say “Are you going out tonight?” to their friend. ‘Out’ ? As in, out out? In Betws? I am still none the wiser about this, if you can tell me where to go out out in Betws, I WANT TO KNOW!
After dinns, we parked up by Cobdens Rapids in the deserted hotel carpark and set about transforming the car into the camper-car. Estate cars are the bomb, I’m just going to put it out there – you can literally fit everything in there including peoples/thermarests/sleeping bags! I highly recommend cracking some windows though, and locating some good wee spots before dark! Oh and take some torches to save your car battery (or jump leads if you like to live on the edge). It was surprisingly peaceful, reading with a headtorch and a cider. I did get a little creeped out, but we got the ratio of remoteness to civilisation just right so that I didn’t feel like we were going to get kidnapped by a mad farmer, but we weren’t at risk of waking up to a curious audience.
The Brukit was perfect for breakfast tea out of the boot, and my merrell mugs were perfect for our variety pack cereals (these are the real mark of a holiday – it was nice not having to fight for the coco pops with my little brother and sister…)
Weather wasn’t great, but we persevered and had a quick bouldering session at the RAC Boulders. As rain moved up the valley, we had to give up and head back to the car. These boulders are pretty cool – easy/short walk in, and a variety of slabs and overhangs.
Giving up, we parked up outside Plas Y Brenin, kitted up and got on the (Middle?!) Llugwy. It was annoyingly hot and sunny (where were you half an hour ago sun?!) but the river was easy Grade 2 with Jim’s Bridge rapid about half way down – a lovely little stretch with lots of eddy hopping opportunities. Cobden’s was VERY low and on attempting to take the chicken chute left line, I found myself hemmed in by rocks. J ran the right hand drop and I trudged over the rocks pulling Bernard behind me. I’m really glad no one saw me, because even I felt stupid falling over rocks with a boat in my arms…
Afterwards, we headed to Llanberis wandered round the outdoor shops and I lost my Pete’s Eats virginity with a huuuuge chip butty and a pint of tea.
It wasn’t the most successful of weekends activities-wise, but it launched the camper-car adventures and gave us an idea of how we would plan a mini welsh-weekender. Also, NEW RIVER SECTION! Totally adding it to the list…