The North of Wales

What was the North of Wales about for us? Well, mostly friendly people, rain, sheep and beautiful scenery.

In the morning of the 11th of July we cleared our camping spot in the “outskirts” of Dolgellau and first went looking for a shop for some rations. Soon we got what we needed and searched for a good hitchhiking spot on the A470 to get a ride in the direction of Caernarfon. Unfortunately it started raining again and we got pretty wet waiting for our first ride.

Me and Nina always try to guess with brand of car will pick us up, up until this point we were always wrong. This time however, Nina made a bold move and went for a Mercedes! Almost all rides we had were in pretty modest cars, and all cars (even the BMW from D and Scott) were at least a bit messy in some way. Not that we mind a messy car, we are ourselves kinda messy anyway, so I like to think it gives us some comforting feeling to be in a messy car :-).

Anyway, taken this in mind and the facts that we were very wet and that most expensive cars seem to be afraid from us, you can understand how “bold” Nina’s guess was this time! However, I think you already guessed that soon a Mercedes with nice leather interior pulled over to give us a short but useful ride.

The driver, Glenn, brought us only about 2 km further up the road, but passed the next roundabout were the road split in 2 directions so we would only face the traffic going in the right direction. So you could say Glenn made quite an effort (getting his fancy car all wet) for only bringing us to a better spot close by.

From this spot we were soon picked up by a young woman, Jess, our first female driver on her own. She was on her way to work, at the heritage department of Snowdonia National Park. She told us stories about the park and the folklore.

Her ride brought us to Penrhyndeudraeth, about half way to Caernarfon. There we got a ride from Aled. A young student, living in Caernarfon. He dropped us off in the city center so we could dry and warm ourselves in a bar, Caffi Maes.

Initially we planned to start our hike in a little place called Nebo, a bit before Caernarfon. But because of the whole wetness issue we opted for the warmth and dryness in Caernarfon. Still we had no plans where to stay for the night. In the bar we tried to contact some couchsurfers in the area but could not reach any of them. Meanwhile the weather was clearing up again so in the late afternoon we got a bus to Llanberis were we hiked some kilometers up in the mountains and found us a nice spot to camp.

Another gray and rainy day was awaiting us next morning. We were to climb up the mountain Snowdon, the grave of the mighty giant Rhitta Gawr, slain by King Arthur. This sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it? Well, it was a bit disappointing, first of all there was a railroad track running relatively close to the trail going up all to the top, secondly there were many people going up (not even counting the ones on the trains) and at last the weather was pretty bad. As soon as we got up to the pass we started descending again on the other side in the direction of Penn-y-pass. This trail was even busier… However, once we got under the clouds the scenery was very nice.

Once down in Penn-y-pass we got some rest in the local youth hostel. The scenario of the previous day repeated itself, the weather cleared up and we got dry and warm. Again we hiked for a short while and found a nice camping spot.

Finally the weather seemed to turn. While packing our stuff in the morning, the sun even got through the clouds.

Happy with the weather we started climbing again. In the highlands we encountered some “Mordor-like” landscapes and a lot less people than the previous day. We enjoyed it very much! We just encountered one obstacle while descending again, the trail went over a very steep scree, something Nina doesn’t like very much. But we managed to get off without any harm.

Down in the valley near Llyn Ogwen we set up our tent at the campsite of the youth hostel. A welcoming shower, a game of pool and a nice dinner were our rewards of the day!

This was our last full day in Wales. Next day we would set off to Liverpool where we found ourselves a nice couchsurfing host.