Friday, 6 May 2016

Nearly mist the summit...

It was time for our wonderful Welsh adventure to head south a little.  Next destination was Arthog, not too far from Dolgellau.  This time we were at Graig Wen - a Camping and Caravanning Club listed site with superb facilities and drop dead gorgeous views.  (Yes we are big fans of the C&CC - they have a great variety of sites and, because they welcome tents, the facilities even on the smaller sites are usually excellent).

Our first day there was a little murky so we took a walk into Barmouth for a nostalgic trip along memory lane.  At least it was for me as I took childhood holidays there - for Steve it was just a long soggy walk...  We have an excellent way of passing long flat walks when the weather's not too chipper and you're a bit on the tired side - Random Movie Connections.  The game is collaborative not competitive and involves one person naming 2 random movie stars which we both proceed to try and connect via films only.

Barmouth Bridge
For example Lawrence Fishburne and Samuel L Jackson: Lawrence Fishburne was in The Matrix with Keanu Reeves. Keanu Reeves was in Speed with Sandra Bullock.  Sandra Bullock was in Practical Magic with Stockard Channing. Stockard Channing was in Grease with John Travolta and John Travolta was in Pulp Fiction with Samuel L Jackson.

Our rules are that it's movies only, no TV series or marriages etc. and Google is not allowed - but really, you can make your own rules.  It usually passes a good half hour or so as we shout at each other - "you know - him - he was in the one with wotsit - you know - wotsit - with the hair!" and generally alarm passers by.

The true object of our affections for this leg of the tour was Cadair Idris - a very beautiful sweep of peaks just to the south of Dolgellau.  The weather during the morning had been apocalyptic rain but I had faith in the forecast that it would brighten and I was mostly right...

Info board at the start of the walk
The route follows a very pretty stream up through the woods and out into a stunning cwm.

Llyn Cau

Onwards & upwards - I had faith that the mist on the top would clear but Steve had his doubts.  Steve was right (obviously I'm not going to admit that this happens often and will deny this if anyone reminds me of it.)  :-)

View back down to the Cwm

Summit shelter
We're used to hiking in Cumbria so mist holds no fears - apart from stopping every 10 paces to check you're still on the right route - undaunted we soldiered on round to Mynydd Moel.  I reminded Steve how breathtaking the views out over the sea were from this point.  Steve may have glared at me,  I don't really know - the mist was in the way...

We'd enjoyed the hike but it was with a degree of despondency that we began the trek down.  We paused on a rock about 200m down from the summit for one last view of Llyn Cau and to finish the last of the tea and guess what happened?  The mist lifted - fully and completely - giving crystal clear mountain tops.

Well - there was only one thing for it - shove the flask in the rucksack and race back up there,  We were knackered at the top but it was worth it - even if only for me to gasp "I told you so" in between pants.

After half an hour or so the clouds showed signs of returning so we headed back down again.  I think it's fair to say that the route had suffered from some sort of storm damage and the first section is one of the worst descents we've ever attempted.  (I'm not having a go - that's just life in the hills!)

It became such a long, slow and, at times, tedious, challenge that we completed an epic round of Random Movie Connections - connecting Kevin Spacey to Kevin Costner (*our answer is at the end if you're interested!)

Things picked up lower down as we argued over whether portrait or landscape was the best orientation for this scene.

Job done and holibobs now over it was just a case of getting back to the campsite for a long luxurious shower and a glass or two of "essential muscle relaxant" before beddybies.  We've had an absolutely cracking time in Wales and are already busy planning our next trip - gweld chi y flwyddyn nesaf (possibly - hope that's not rude - I'm relying on Google translate to say See you next year!)

* Here's our answer to the Random Movie Connections: Kevin Spacey was in The Usual Suspects with Benicio Del Toro. Benicio Del Toro was in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with Johnny Depp.  Johnny Depp was in Pirates of the Caribbean with Keira Knightly.  Keira Knightly was in Love Actually with Liam Neeson. Liam Neeson was in Star Wars with Ewan McGreggor. Ewan McGreggor was in I Love You Philip Morris with Jim Carey.  Jim Carey was in Bruce Almighty with Morgan Freeman and Morgan Freeman was in Robin Hood with Kevin Costner.  I told you it was a long descent!

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