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Wales | Snowdonia National Park

Field Notes

Wales | Snowdonia National Park

HACKLEMOOR

Our trip to Scotland left us appreciating how accessible the stunning scenery of Britain is. With that in mind, we planned the next two-day adventure and ended up in Snowdonia National Park.

Driving in, the park was cloaked in darkness, leaving our imaginations running wild. Once the camp was set, we got ourselves off to a local pub to enjoy a few pale ales, a steak pie and a table to pore over an OS map. Planning trips around wild waters and peaks is almost as exciting as the trek itself. Visualising tight contour lines as mountain peaks and scaling rivers is all part of it. A selection of flies flash through your mind - what's going to tempt a wild brown trout? Deciding to set off before first light drew the night to a swift end. Once back at camp, we were off to sleep leaving the owls hooting through the night.

The day was broken by the sound of the kettle boiling. A strongly brewed coffee provided warmth as we hit the road, keen to be on the crags for sunrise.

Following a right of way through a farm yard, we were soon on the incline pointing towards the summit of Y Garn, 947m above sea level.  The first hour was brutal. Wide zig zags across the face of the hillside eased the ascent, but it was tough resisting the urge to check every inch of progress. It wasn't long before the sun joined us, lighting up each field one by one in the valley floor as it rose over the eastern peaks.

The gradient levelled off and led onto a quad bike track. With the surroundings so bleak, it was comforting to see evidence of another human. It led us to a ridge overlooking Cwm Idwal - the 7th greatest natural wonder in Britain.

We approached the peak in a thick blanket of fog. As it started to clear in patches it provided some perspective of our altitude and confirmed we were actually in the clouds. 

After refuelling with water and a bite to eat, we progressed along the peak ridge to reach the summit. At this altitude, reaching the actual summit is purely for the sense of fulfillment as a few extra meters at this stage does not offer much more to the already stunning views.  

The descent was equally stunning, with a trek through a boggy moorland and a trail accompanied by a water run off. Looking up to the summit we had just trampled on brought a renewed respect to the outdoors.

That night the mountains became silhouettes against an almost white, star-filled sky. There were no clouds or fog in sight. With the tripods and remotes set, we were soon capturing what felt like every star in the universe.