August 10th– Our summer holiday officially begins! We’re all set to spend 6 days walking & camping in Snowdonia, including climbing the 14 highest peaks in Wales. And, surprise, surprise – it’s raining! Nonetheless, kitted out in our waterproofs we courageously hit the trail – or should I say waterfall? Soon we’re sopping wet and virtually the only people on the trail, but we’re optimistic for sunshine. (Oh, how naïve we were!) The harsh wind drives the rain against our faces like needles. Thousands of tiny rushing waterfalls have appeared across the mountainside, efficiently delivering gallons of water to the basin bellow… the same basin where we plan to pitch our tent that night. In the end, the swampish campsites and our soggy toes convince us to take an escape route and hitch hike it back to Beddgelert. I can practically hear the wood-burning stove and tumble dryer beckoning us back to the house. Angharad’s not home so we’re locked out of the house, but we enjoy a candlelit dinner in the infamous pod. Pizzos 0 – Weather 1.
August 11th– Dan wakes up ranting and raving about British weather. I definitely agree we should boycott the weather. It’s still raining and the forecast is not looking good. We’re both gripped with terrible indecisiveness. In the end, since our Wales plans involve being in the outdoors non-stop and it looks like it may rain non-stop, we reluctantly decide for Haddenham. Pizzos 0 – Weather 2.
Catching a bus to the train station in Bangor we’re advised to buy “Red Rover” passes, completely unaware what a momentous purchase it will turn out to be.
As the bus winds through the majestic Welsh mountains, we feel unable to say good-bye. It’s all ending much too soon, like a teenage summer romance. And to really twist the knife in our hearts, the clouds begin to part to reveal a dancing sun. By the time we reach Bangor and realize it’ll cost £100 to get home, all yesterday’s mountain misery is forgotten. We’re gagging to get back. Only now we’ve got our roller suitcase with us, not exactly a mountaineer’s BFF.
Suddenly I remember Angharad’s friends Elise & Hefan live in Bangor… maybe we can stash our suitcase w/them! Next thing I know, Elise picks us up, nonchalantly says they’ve an empty house we can stay at, takes us there to drop off extra luggage, and then drives us back to the mountains. What a super-star! Pizzos 1 – Weather 2.
Of course, the closer we get to the mountains the worse the weather becomes. This time my boots stayed dry… for the first 15 minutes, at which point I step in a bog. After a fairly short hike we decide to set up camp because hovering on the horizon ahead are low clouds and our arch enemy, Mr. Rain, who arrives on the scene right after we withdraw to the shelter of our HUBBA HUBBA tent. (Yes, our tent is really called that.) Pizzos 2 – Weather 2.
August 12th – What should awake us in the morning but the lovely pitter-pater of rain drops on our tent. Thankfully the rain stopped and we enjoyed a steep scramble up a nearby hill whose spectacular views once again convinced us that regardless of the weather, we would climb the 14 peaks as planned. And then the deluge began again and down the mountain we marched. Red rover got us back to Bangor (& sunshine) and we went off to explore the city. Pizzos 2 – Weather 3.
Not so surprisingly, it started to rain again just as we were due to begin our picnic on the pier. The rain nearly drove us to throw ourselves into the Menai straight below, but a covered gazebo at the end of the pier was our salvation. And after lunch the sun came out in all it’s glory and a flock of colourful sail boats came down along the river, as if to personally encourage us in our battle against the Welsh weather.
Pizzos 3 – Weather 3.