April 19, 2011 § 1 Comment
It’s been a few weeks since a crack team of 13 of outdoor enthusiasts decided to take on the mighty Snowdon. I swear my legs still ache.
Housemates Flo, Leo and I managed to organise ourselves enough to leave Cardiff at 6am, armed with the results of our over-enthusiastic Tesco shop the night before. Carbs and fat featured heavily. So heavily, in fact, that we were all feeling pretty sick about an hour in, having gorged on rolls of the chocolate and sausage kind, washed down with coffee. It took four hours to drive to the national park, which turned out to be a lovely journey as there’s no motorway – we spent the entire journey cooing at pretty little cottages, lambs gambolling in fields and the occasional deep blue lake, all good excuses to get out of Flo’s tiny weeny car and stretch.
After parking at the visitor centre at Llanberis, at the foot of Snowdon, we set off. For the first few hours the peak wasn’t visible, instilling me with a false sense of ease that soon faded when I realised that around every corner was another huge valley, usually with a freezing-looking lake glistening at the bottom.
The path wound around the edges of the valleys and eventually we came face to face with the peak. Well, we would have if it hadn’t been shrouded in cloud and spotted with snow in places. It looked scary. Flo tried to keep me going with regular breaks for Tunnocks wafers (food of the gods) but I had to work hard not to whine like a tired toddler.
It was all worth it when we (finally) got to the peak, where the clouds had dispersed enough to give us a beautiful view over the valleys. Except for the black road snaking through the hills in the distance we could have been looking out on a medieval landscape. We toasted the peak with, err, chicken drumsticks, because we were starving, and got ready to walk back down.
The walk down turned out to be a lot harder than the ascent – we were tired, there was no peak to aim at and the steep downward angle jarred our kneecaps. Luckily Flo, Liam and I figured out that loudly singing musical numbers and Disney medleys (which Liam turned out to know all the words to) was an ideal distraction, and we finally got back to the village, where we managed to drag ourselves to the pub and collapse on sofas.
We stayed in a bunkhouse on a lovely little farm with comfy beds, a big kitchen, a little hut with a fire in it and, my personal highlight, the friendliest cat in the world ever. Oh, and some chickens.
All in all, some very good times, and I have a huge amount of respect for people who take on the Three Peaks in only a few days, as I could barely negotiate stairs after our epic climb.
April 17, 2011 § 6 Comments
Lucky enough to have a Glasto ticket? Planning on moshing at Reading or Leeds? Taking the sedate path at a family-friendly shindig? Wherever you are heading, take heed of my definitive list of what to take, which I have compiled from bitter experience.
Loo roll: Take twice as much as you think you need.
Tent and sleeping bag: Don’t get precious about them. They will return home covered in graffiti and smelling like other people’s wee – that is the festival law. If you have a lovely tent you take on sedate camping trips, buy a separate festival one that you won’t cry over.
Pain killers: Necessary every morning to ensure you can actually get up and see some bands after a bit too much illegal substance abuse the night before. Not that you’d do that.
Wet wipes: They are a shower in a small, portable bag. Get medicated ones so you can keep hands clean, too.
Wellies: If you take them, it’ll be sunny. If you don’t, it’ll chuck it down and you’ll be living in mud for a weekend.
Deodorant: because you won’t shower.
Fancy dress: Obligatory. Take some with you to avoid the temptation to spend £15 on a lime green jesters hat once you’re there.
Mac in a sack: Folds up small. Again, it won’t rain if you bring one.
Glow sticks: For drunken moshing. But do not break open and apply to skin, as this hurts. A lot.
Flag: To mark out your camp in a sea of dark green tents.
Sunscreen: Heatstroke ain’t sexy.
Torch: Avoid breaking your leg tripping over someone else’s guy rope at 3am.
Toothpaste: You might pull, despite smelling like a dead goat.
Spare pants: See above.
String: I don’t really know why you should take string, but it makes me feel like a super-prepared boy scout.
Bin bags: incredibly useful for rubbish, storing dirty clothes, fixing holes in your tent…