Off the Beaten Track in Snowdonia
Dolwyddelan, we drive through this town on the A470 on our way to the mountains. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful drive to get to the main Ogwen and Llanberis areas, so when we arrived at the bunkhouse on Thursday I was excited to spend a bit of time exploring. You can find out about the place we stayed here. It is simply a basic bunkhouse with 12 beds, a kitchen, a small seating area and kitchen. The only thing it really lacked was a drying room which we improvised after our very soggy walk up Snowdon. The pub and Local Spar shop are a 5 minute walk away, Betws-y-coed about a 15 minute drive and the fast changing town of Blaenau Ffestiniog a 10 minute drive in the other direction.
We found the most amazing walk from the bunkhouse, a hidden valley with a wild feel, ever changing views and the most perfect spot for a picnic. it worked out at just under 7 miles, following the red mountain biking route but could be shortened in a couple of ways; Park in the village and do the round or walk to the footbridge and back along the road. Whichever you chose, take a blanket, something to munch on and spend a while sat by the river.
Day 2, we headed for Snowdon, on a bank holiday weekend. Rule number one of Snowdonia on a bank holiday weekend: don’t go near Snowdon. Fortunately, the weather forecast wasn’t great and we had the experience and equipment to take one of the paths less trodden – up the Watkin path and down Bwlch Main. I’d love to go back and do the route again in good weather to experience the exposure that the low cloud hid from us.
The best part of the whole experience was the fact that the weekend was a girls trip. Even the Dogs were female. Seeing everyone scrambling and helping one another sent my mind back to my first mountains, to the men that felt they were NEEDED to help me and to look out for me. Despite my experience and qualifications I still find myself being ‘looked after’ by sometimes less experienced men. This scene was empowering and refreshing.
Day 3 we celebrated the parking officers on our way to Beddgelert. There were hundreds of poor souls that returned to their badly parked cars, after a long day following every man and his dog up the pyg track, to find a penalty notice for blocking the highway. You need to be an early bird to get a space on a bank holiday and if the Car Parks are full, use the bus or pick another route.
Beddgelert is a quaint town in the hills with a great icecream parlour and an interesting history. We pondered the hard graft that had gone into the dry stone walls on the surrounding hills, walked by the river, sat in a pub garden and visited the grave of the legendary Beddgellert. I’d recommend the riverside park for picnics and lazy sunny days come summer or the perfect base for exploring the moelwyns and the eastern peaks.
What I Learnt This Weekend
- Get off the Beaten Track Once in a while
- It’s not about what you do but who you do it with
- IT ain’t all about the big mountian days