Hyper-Bala / by Jerry

We've been staying in a cottage near Bala, North Wales, for most of the week, with Ric, Nic and Paddy. The plan was just for a nice holiday with no real agenda. The previous week had been gloriously sunny and hot while this one promised wind and rain. 

With it lashing it down the first morning we decided to avoid the mountains and headed up to Alwen Reservoir. Shortly after we arrived it got much warmer, so much so that Charlotte and I, who had decided to run around the reservoir we soon stripped down to the bare minimum of clothing.

Picking bilberries while waiting for the others to return. Later in the week we had them all over cheesecake.

Who can resist crushing a handful of berries and squashing them into your mouth?

The next day we headed up to the white water rafting centre on the Tryweryn. This was the principle reason for coming to this part of the country as we did a bit of rafting in Sri Lanka but found it too warm.

We got four good runs down, highlights included paddling hard upstream into a large rapid so that Charlotte and Nichola got soaked (picture below), me half falling out and drifting along with the boat for ages before before Ric and Charlotte managed to pull me back in, and Paddy shouting 'urgh... it's wet' when a wave hit him.

The weather the next day looked better so we decided to go for it and hit Snowdon. It was quite a late start and longish journey over, so by the time we got there we had to park pretty far away and we thought we'd have to walk several km up the road before starting the mountain. But then along came the bus and we were on our way.

We started off up the Pyg Track, before Charlotte and I split from the others and headed up Crib Goch.

The low clouds lifted as we ascended so we had clear views of the ridge and it was just about clear when we got to the summit.

We only passed about 20 other walkers along the route and there was a sense of camaraderie as we all felt superior to the hoards going up the main tracks and those going up the train.

We met the others near the top, just as they were starting to descend. After pushing through the crowds to touch the trig point we got a cup of tea and found a quieter area to eat our sandwiches. We headed down the Miner's Track quite quickly, trying to catch the others, but interrupted our rush for a quick swim. Then down to finish with an ice cream.

The day after that was far wetter, so we headed out to do a gorge walk near Dolgarrog, Conwy. Pulling up in the car park we knew we were in the right place as a large school group was getting kitted up in full wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets. We headed out in t-shirts and shorts, dashing to get in front of them. This was a pretty good scramble with enough water coming down to get wet. Some of the climbing was quite tricky, with slippery wet holds, and I ignored one part after watching Ric jump balls-first onto a rock below a hard bit. When we got back to the car it was really raining hard so we headed back for a lazy afternoon.