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Published: August 19th 2013
Famous last words. I should have known as soon as I'd said it. That conversation had even included the idea of me standing in the rain holding a framed picture of those words... But anyway, Graduation had seen the Well-Ville household go our separate ways into the Big Bad World of Unemployment (some of us). A week later, having spent more than enough time re-introducing ourselves to living with our parents, three of us congregated in North Wales for a camping/ road trip.
The plan was to climb Snowdon the day after we arrived and our campsite wasn't far from the beginning of the PYG track, the one we panned to take. The campsite itself (at this point) was very good. Situated in a valley, by a lake it was a very pretty location. The amenities were all clean and there was even a mobile Pizza oven for when we couldn't be bothered cooking. When it's hot and dry, it's an amazing campsite.
The Snowdon climb wasn't too bad. We were a bit slow (my fault, sorry guys) but reached the top in 3.5 hours. We started off well, it was dry, if a little cloudy, but that soon
changed as whether closed in. To begin with, it was only that we couldn't see where we were heading towards, as it was shrouded in cloud. But as we climbed higher and we got colder and wetter, we got into the cloud and could just make out the darker grey areas above us amongst the vast white/grey surrounds. At one point, the thing keeping me going, besides Caitlin's misguided assurances that we were nearly there, was the thought of hot chocolate in the cafe at the top. And my God, it was the best hot chocolate I've ever had. Anywhere else, it would probably have been just a bog standard hot chocolate, but there, at the top of the highest mountain in Britain, South of the Scottish Highlands (1085m), it was heaven in a cup. We stayed at the top for over an hour, feasting on our peanut butter and jam sandwiches, buying the obligatory 'I climbed Snowdon' souvenirs and generally warming up. There is a train that you can take up and down the mountain, but at a hefty £30 return ticket, the walk is worth it. We took an easier route on the way back down, and as
I think Caitlin is a morning person...
it turned out, a drier, sunnier route. Getting back to the campsite, we all collapsed on the giant rug that caitlin had brought with her.
The next day, we were expecting our group to grow. Kirsty was getting the train to Bangor and we'd pick her up at four. We decided we'd be cultural and visit a castle somewhere nearby. Caenarfon Castle. It was cool (even in the rain), but after going up a couple of towers and looking at some of the rooms, it got a bit samey. One long dark corridor looks the same as the next. There is a museum inside though, so we did have a mooch round there. We were having a nice cream tea in a little coffee shop, when Matt had the realisation that Kirsty might not know that we were camping in Wales, rather than just having a trip round Wales. After a panicked text, we discovered that Matt had in fact forgotten to mention that little fact. At that point, she had already been on a train for three hours. It was raining pretty constantly now and the idea of camping without enough gear wasn't going down to well. After
a a quick phone call to find out exactly what she had brought with her, we concluded two things: 1) We would be alright with what we'd got and 2) Matt was in BIG trouble. I don't think i've ever seen him genuinely scared before. Though i don't think me and Caitlin helped, playing The Final Countdown as we waited for Kirtsy's train to come in. :D
She arrived on the wettest day so far and we all huddled in one tent to eat our dinner, Veg Curry Followed by a healthy helping of chocolate cake. The Plum wine Kirsty brought with her made us all a little warmer. Matt, having cooked dinner outside in the rain on his own, was granted forgiveness and allowed some wine too. The rain didn't let up at all night. Me and Caitlin were worried. Our tent was flooding. We were ok inside the sleeping bit, but the water was rising and we formulated a plan for jumping ship if we needed to. A couple in a tent to the right of us had already made a run for it and we could hear other people checking every so often. Come morning, it
became apparent that we should have had Matt and Kirsty's tent. They somehow managed to escape relatively unscathed. I didn't. That day I wore the only dry clothes I had, with flip flops, the only shoes that weren't soaked. I was rocking the bright pink PJ bottoms and black dress look. Just call me Trend Setter. :D Safe to say we packed up and left that campsite pretty sharpish the next morning.
I would like to take a moment to wallow in how good we are at packing. Two tents, a table and chairs set, massive rug thing, cooker, food, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses, four peoples stuff, as well those very same four people, all managed to fit inside a Renault Clio. I would just like to salute that little car for its bravery in the service of four incompetent campers.
We headed North up to Anglesea, stopping off at a beach we found along the way for a Paddle and a Play. We're kids really. After looking at a map at the side of the road, we navigated to the closest campsite. I don't think i've ever been happier to see a dryer in my life. We
picked a spot on top of a hill, that also seemed protected from the wind. We picked wisely this time, we'd learnt our lesson. There was a beach 5min walk away too.
In the final days, we went up to Holyhead, walking along the cliffs and generally admiring the scenery. We tried to take some jumping pictures, but gave up after take 4 and took a normal one instead. Fish and Chip dinner on the beach by the campsite, not a bad ending really.
On the way to dropping me back off at Bangor for the train we stopped of at... a place with the longest name in europe. The name is essentially directions on how to get there, if you speak Welsh. Apparently it didn't always have that name, a blacksmith who was having trouble drumming up trade thought it would be a good PR stunt, to bring people into town and buy from him. I don't know if it worked for his business, but we went there just to look at the sign at the train station.
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