Eryri: Snowdonia

Lets go climb some hills.

JP overlooking lake Ogwen

What better place in Wales to find some hills to cycle up than in Eryri or Snowdonia.  We were planning on doing an unloaded day trip (52 miles RT) from Anglesey up to Llyn Ogwen (lake Ogwen) under the shadow of Tryfan peak in the northern aspect of Snowdonia. However, a lazy day off in which we only rode 32 miles to our obligatory stop at the Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllantysiliogogogoch train station and a few pubs changed the plan to camping just South of the lake- which meant riding up into the Snowdonia hills fully loaded. That’s what we get for making decisions in a pub.

The first task was to confirm a camp ground-  using the UK camping site we identified the Gwern Gof Isaf campsite a few miles south of the lake Ogwen.  During a quick call to confirm availability and get directions we were instructed to turn into the second farm on the right- ignore the first farm- go to the second one.  So what did we do? Turned into the first driveway and ended up camping at the first farm on the right.

In our defense (my defense) the names were somewhat similar:   Gwern Gof Uchaf and  Gwern Gof Isaf. However the campgrounds were different- ours was very crowded with trekkers, mountaineers and rock climbers.  A trip to the bathroom required you to stare at the spiders roaming the ceiling of the tiny water closet – hoping that they didn’t charge you as you did your business as quickly as possible. In their defense, it is a working farm.

None-the-less, the location of our campsite was spectacular. We were situated at the base of Tryfan Peak in a gorgeous valley carved by glaciers.  We were graced with perfect weather and a beautiful starlight, windless night.  The only drawback were the mighty hungry, aggressive midges that came out at dusk.

Our early evening entertainment was brought to us by the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation which is based across the highway from the Gof Uchaf camping farm. A solo climber fell 10m injuring her arm and spine around 7pm and the search, including helicopters, continued well into the night.  She was found and transported to the nearest hospital later that night.

Tomo, ALexa and I took advantage of the gloriously sunny morning and hiked an hour up Tryfan’s flanks.  We contemplated climbing Tryfan as the weather was perfect. Having just watched a rescue, we decided to save the actual climb of Tryfan for a day when we were better prepared.  Now I guess I have to go back to Eryi for a climbing holiday-  Anyone up for completing the Horseshoe?

What does a long hill climb end with?  An even longer decent.  Nine miles and we didn’t have to pedal once – through the valleys down to the very cool climbing town of Betws-y-Coed where we had a lovely cream tea break.  After which we followed the rolling B road into Conwy and Llanduno Junction where we camped our final night in Wales.

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