During our family reunion this year, my cousin Sandra told me she was going to go on holiday on the British Isles that summer. She said she also would be coming through Wales. I was wondering if she could pop by. She said she had booked a camping for a few nights, but she struggled a bit to point it out on the map. Then she looked up the name: Gwern Gof Isaf. That is only just up the road! I was excited. I looked forward to meeting up with them.
Then they came she arrived. I said I was going to come over on bicycle, just because I can. And I wanted to be able to stay the night there. I love nights in the hills, and if I would just stay there, I wouldn't be in any hurry whatsoever. And I wanted to strike a bit of a balance between comfort and amount of weight to carry. I needed a tent and sleeping materials of course. And warm clothes. But what else? Ideally, I would bring cooking equipment too. I don't know at what time the others would get up, and imagine I would get up an hour before them. Without cooking equipment I would have that manage an hour without coffee! That is a lot to ask. In the end I went for some instant coffee and a flask. I figured my cousin would have comfortable kitchen equipment, and could provide me with a litre of boiling water in the evening. I'm sure you can still make acceptable coffee with that some eight hours later.
With that, my pannier bags were quite full. I wasn't moving very fast with all of that on my bike! And I walked the steepest to bits. No need to arrive as a panting sweaty mess. And when I rolled up to the camp site, I spotted some familiar figures. There they were!
|On my way|
It was really good to see them. I had seen my cousin and her son Booker in June, but she hadn't brought her husband, so it had been a long time since I had seen him. They hadn't brought their daughter, who is 18 and does her own thing.
They pitched their tents, and I scouted a bit for a place for mine. I wouldn't be pitching it until it was bedtime, but it was nice to scout in daylight. I also scouted the stream. And I just had a little shower already!
I already know the area there was beautiful, but now they knew it too. One disadvantage was that it was absolutely infested with midges. It was really bad! But what can you do.
I had suggested drinking a beer together, but they hadn't brought any. They were not on the particularly boozy trip! But they liked the general idea, and I quickly went to the shop with Sandra and Booker to get some. That gave Marcel some time to finish the pitching of the tents in peace.
When we were back he had pitched their shelter, that we kept closed against the midges. That way you can't admire the view, but at least you are not eaten alive! And we did a lot of catching up.
At some point it was time to go to sleep. Sandra and family hadn't quite got the kitchen ready, so I left without hot water. I would just have to hope they wouldn't wake up too late! And I pitched my tent close to Craig Caseg Ffraith.
Quite soon, the wind picked up. My tent is a bit flappy! I struggled a bit to sleep. But it was nice to wake up at such a beautiful location. It started raining, though, so I quickly picked up the tent and went back down to the camping. And the others were not awake yet, so I just sat in the shelter with my newspaper, hoping for a coffee in the not too distant future. And not much later, they were voices coming from the tents. People! And that meant: coffee!
|Lovely spot for the night|
Soon the others arrived, and in the process of coffee making started. We had a nice relaxed breakfast, and we also decided on the program for the day. I had mentioned that Charles Darwin had done fieldwork in Cwm Idwal, and that made my companions want to go there. It also helped that I confirmed it is really beautiful there. And the rain was supposed to stop about noon the latest. So we went! I knew I would have to get my bike back home anyway, so I went ahead on bicycle, and meet them there. That got it already a quarter of the way home.
The path through the old quarry was closed due to rockfall, so we just went on the path. Sandra mentioned that someone from the campsite had suggested it is beautiful to go up Devil’s Kitchen. I thought that was a bit ambitious. We hadn't brought much in the way of food and drink! And can you keep an unprepared 11-year-old away from his devices for that long?
Marcel was even interested in the stuff I tell our students when we take them there! I enjoyed nerding out. There is so much to see there.
When we came to the junction in the path we decided that indeed, we would not go up to the ridge. Instead we completed the walk, and then all went back to Bethesda. Sandra and family went to buy some lunch, and I got the garden furniture ready. I was ravenous by then, and it was nice to eat something! And I liked showing them my house and garden. And cat. They were impressed.
After lunch are we made a plan for the next day. Marcel had voiced interest in Dinorwic. I love Dinorwic! And he convinced Sandra, so that was the plan for the next day. They would pick me up at 11. And when we had made that plan, they went back to their campsite. I was quite tired! I supposed the flapping of the tent had something to do with it, but I am also not used to spending days in the company of a child. And Booker is quite a presence. But that's okay! I now had some quiet time with only the cat. And I was looking forward to doing it all again the next day!