17th April 2017
The 4 day bank holiday weekend surrounding Easter is a time I usually find myself making a trip to the mountains. With the weather improving and the sense of adventure and excitement for summer building, I headed off with a few friends for a weekend camping and walking around the Ogwen Valley in Snowdonia.
I love turning up and pitching camp in darkness as you’re never quite aware of what’s around you. You can see the vague horizon and dark bodies of the mountains around you, but so much of it is shrouded in darkness that you aren’t really sure of your location. It’s as you wake up and unzip the door of the tent that you realise exactly where you are.
We began our first days walk by heading up the south side of the valley, climbing up alongside Tryfan’s eastern face. Tryfan is situated centrally in the valley, and dominates the landscape; it’s craggy, rocky outline jutting upwards, with the two famous monoliths perched atop. The morning was clear, and sunny, but our optimistic thoughts of evading the rain didn’t last long and as we approached Glyder Fach, the first of our two summits, the cloud closed in around us. The remainder of the day was close to a complete white out; engrossed in cloud and dashed with rain we ascended Glyder Fawr before making our way down the aptly named Devil’s Kitchen and back to the sanctuary of the valley floor. Cold and wet through, we made our way to a nearby farm in Capel Curig and stayed in one of the small bunkhouses there; thankful for a solid roof over our heads and dry bunkbeds to sleep in.
Our second day took us along the ridgeline to the North of the Valley, climbing the steep face of Pen yr Ole Wen and along a 13 mile route back to the tents. The day was clear, providing great views over the valley, with the sun occasionally breaking through the clouds to beam patches of light downwards. After lunch we began the climb up Carnedd Llewelyn, and found ourselves transported into a different world: Cloud hung around the summit, and powerful squalls of wind battered us throughout the ascent. We sought refuge behind a small stone wall for a moments rest at the top, where horizontal icicles clung to the rocks and snow nestled anywhere where it could find shelter from the wind.
Having descended back down and camped for the night, we awoke and headed north to the Isle of Anglesey, hoping for some coastal views and sea air. We spent the afternoon walking along the clifftops (not too far from Holyhead) in search of potential locations to camp for the night. We wanted somewhere secluded enough to not be disturbed at all, but also within close enough proximity to the road to avoid a long walk with tents and gear. With our campground chosen, we returned to the cars, collected our things and headed back to the cliff, which overlooked the Irish Sea.
On our final day we headed out onto Ynys Llanddwyn, a tidal island on the South West corner of Anglesey. An hours walk along the beach and through sand dunes brought us to Llanddwyn Lighthouse, perfectly situated atop a small hill with and old staircase winding upwards to the small door. I’d been wanting to visit the lighthouse for a while, ever since seeing it in photos a few years ago, and was really pleased to be able to fit it in at the end of the trip. The location and photogenic nature of the lighthouse ensures it’s definitely somewhere I’ll return to next time I’m in the area