25 April 2022

Birthday hike for Kate

I had two nights where I didn't have any obligations in the week that Kate was around. So we decided spend both of them somewhere beautiful. The first night we had visited a bothy I didn't previously know about. The second night we would go to a bothy I had seen several times before, but never spent the night in. It was also not very far from civilisation; that was good because I needed to do some work, and I also was tired after our first adventure which had been followed by a cave rescue session. Kate had said there would be three of us this time; a lady she had been on the ship with would join us. I hope she wouldn't be too disappointed at the somewhat understated hike I had suggested!

I also wanted to prepare a bit as I knew that on the second day it would be her birthday. I wanted to make that a bit special! I decided to bring cake, a candle, and some more whiskey. The local supermarket had a gift set of three tiny bottles of Penderyn whisky; I knew that good stuff, so I bought these. And I quickly made a chocolate cake. Packing the bag didn't take much time; I could leave some of it packed as it was.

I arrived at her place at the agreed time. We would then car share to Cwm Eigiau. I met Bee (short for Belinda), put my dinner in my bag (Kate had bought some hike meals in town), changed into my shorts, and made a cup of tea for myself and Bee. The others are still packing. But after not too much time we were ready to set off. Kate drove us to the parking lot where there was space for us. And then we could set off! Bee first took a picture of our three bags; mine was a lot bigger as Kate had asked me to bring my tent. This bothy was in much more busy terrain so it could be full. Not very likely, but possible. And I didn't mind; it was a short walk with not that much height gain. And it was a beautiful day!

Start of the walk

We took it easy. We were not in a hurry and the landscape was beautiful. And Bee and I had to get to know each other a bit. She was lovely! And we saw little figures by the bothy from the other side of the valley; we were glad we had a tent. We couldn't tell how many there were. It took us a while to get to the first reservoir. From there, the second reservoir is really close. And that bothy is quite close to that.

First break; pic by Bee

I can see why they were making jokes about the bag. Pic by Kate. 

The second reservoir

When we got there, we met the person in the red jacket we had seen from a distance. He was called Stuart (Stewart?) and he was there on his own. We had a nice chat with him while having a good look at the bothy. I was glad the ladies liked it! It wasn't anywhere near as spectacular as the previous one, but it was a lot cleaner and more comfortable. And not spooky.

Living room of the bothy; pic by Kate

Bedroom; pic by Kate

We then sat outside to drink some birthday whiskey; all four of us. On her actual birthday, Kate would have to drive. And after a while we cooked dinner. We cooked and ate it outside, even though again it was getting cold. And after dinner we had the birthday cake with the candle. We also welcomed two additional people; two climbers.

Whisky in the sun

Birthday cake; pic by Bee

Multitasking; cooking while droning. Pic by Bee

After dinner we went indoors, and even lit a small fire. It was very snug! But we are all bit tired so we didn't go to bed too late.

Kate tends to the fire

Snug! Pic by Kate

I struggled to sleep because this bothy was so much warmer than the other one. I also went to the loo; I wasn't sure if it was necessary but it is always lovely to briefly be outside under the starry sky. And it was!

I woke up absurdly late by my standards; it was almost 7:30. I got up and started breakfast. It was already quite warm! It was very pleasant to have our porridge in the sun. The climbers were already gone, and Stewart was on his way quite soon as well. I hope he had a lovely day hike! We packed our stuff and then we as well were ready to leave. We had decided we would not retrace our steps; we would go back to what yesterday had been the first reservoir, and from there bushwhack it to the ridge, and then down the ridge on the other side to the path. And so we did! The terrain was quite okay. And on the other side we first explored some mining ruins.

Bothy in morning light

And in context

Break on the ridge. Pic by Kate

Bushwhacking to the ridge

Slate industry ruins in Cwm Eigiau

Walking back to the car was beautiful but uneventful. And then we went back home! And we had lunch there. After lunch I said my goodbye and went home again. I needed to get ready for the last session in my climate course! And I trusted Bee would be capable of making Kate's rest of her birthday enjoyable.

Near the reservoir; pic by Kate

I was quite tired now, it was amazing to have done not one but two adventures that week. When an opportunity presents itself, you had better take it! Especially if it is a friend's birthday. Even more so if it is the birthday of a friend who has in the past made your birthdays lovely. But even without birthdays; I don't know when the next time will be I will have people to do things like this with!

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