It’s always good to get out and test your equipment, and last week I had chance to try out mine in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, Snowdonia.
The original plan was for a group of us to first climb Mount Snowdon via the Rhyd Ddu path (click here for an animated walk through) returning down the same route, then to find somewhere to wild camp preferably after trekking up through Beddgelert Forest to Moel Hebogg. We had a few drop out so in the end it was just two of us!
On the day
Having checked the Snowdonia weather via the Met Office and after an early start to get to Snowdonia, we set off up the Rhyd Ddu path.
The weather was bright, a bit cloudy to slightly overcast, with a forecast chance of rain in the afternoon, the recommendation was for winter clothing towards the top of the mountain.
With the return trip planned back down the Rhyd Ddu path we only needed day packs for the first leg of the journey.
Some basic items taken (some shared between two people):
- Walking poles
- 2 lt water
- Snack food
- kettle, stove, tea, milk, sugar
- Lighter / flint / steel
- Bivvy bag (emergency shelter)
- glow sticks (emergency use)
- Waterproof jacket, trousers, gloves, hat
- Worn clothing, Long Johns, Walking trousers, T-shirt base layer, Thermal warm long sleeve intermediate layer, Wind proof jacket, bandanna.
- Map & Compass
- Ham Radio, Mobile Phone, Knife
The views are spectacular as you rise up the mountain, below the many lakes / reservoirs can be seen like mirrors inserted into the land.
Cloud formation at around 600 metres soon blocked out any sun and warmth as the temperature stared to lower and the winds increasing. Still relatively dry we pushed on through the cloud.
With the incline becoming more steep and the air thinning my (lack of) fitness was starting to show, however with several short stops it was long before we started to see our first signs of snow as we climbed the last 200m to the summit.
Arriving at the summit for a well-earned cup of tea brewed on a camp stove, so truly British!
The decent was somewhat easier and quicker and it was no time before we were back at the start of the path and with perfect timing as the rain came. This was an ideal opportunity to dive into the village pub for a pint and a bite to eat to reflect on the day and decide on a wild camp pitch location.
With the down turn in the weather and forecast of minus temperatures at above 500 meters, we decided to find a pitch site at a lower level. We had spotted a small lake/reservoir about 1/2 mile from the Rhyd Ddu start point as we descended Snowdon so we set out to find it and to see if it was suitable.
Spotting a small patch of green on the far side of the lake next to a ruin of an old farmer cottage we pitched our tents before the worst of the rain fall and loss of light.
Time for a quick Hot Chocolate brew before the light disappeared and the heavens opened up so it was time to turn in.
The storms overnight really did give the tents some battering and were a great test. As dawn started to break, the clouds cleared and the winds died down, opening the flap door
of the tent and looking out across the lake was worth everything.
It was possible to use the stove just within the outer tent sheet should it have been raining, lighting the stove was initially an issue as the lighter broke! “Two is one, one is none” sprung to mind as I routed around for my spare lighter!
With a bright morning sun to dry out the tents gave us time to snap a few images of the beautiful surroundings and to get breakfast on.
Theres nothing like a camp meal and steaks planned for the night before made a great breakfast meal!
With everything packed away, the rule ‘leave no trace’ applied, it was time to leave this tranquil place and head home.
Next time, I’ll be concluding with a summary of my evaluations of the equipment taken.