Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Ground Beneath My Feet. . .

Walkers in the U.K. are often divided about their favourite hiking areas with many people favouring Wales over the Lake District.  So I was very excited to book last Sunday with my ramblers' group as the destination was near Cader Idris, in the southern part of Snowdonia National Park.  This is a part of Wales that I've never been to but I have seen some pretty spectacular photos. So even though I knew I'd be tired after getting in late from London, I was really looking forward to the walk.

But I didn't reckon on the weather - hadn't even checked it.  And of course it poured all through the walk.  In fact, this was the worst weather I've walked through since joining this group.   At first I was optimistic as it was a light misty type of rain.  We started from the small village of Abergynolwyn and made our way up to a railway that was used to carry the slate from the nearby quarries.  This is what's left of the old tram lines that would transport the slate down the hill to the railway.

Remnants of the area's industrial past are quite visible on the landscape and we passed many piles of slate as we made our way up through the forest. 

The one good thing about all this rain is how green everything has become. Any intense pops of colour (thanks Kaffe) now really stand out and there is new growth everywhere.

However, this was all about half way up and as we kept climbing, the rain and wind intensified and so did the mist.

Almost half of our nine mile trek was out in the open, climbing steadily, exposed to a biting wind that just blew sheets of cold rain into our faces.  Instead of being able to see the summit of Calder Idris and its surrounding peaks, I could barely see the person in front of me or where the trail was going.  This was my main view for most of the five hour walk.  One foot in front of the other, head down, slog it out. It was quite simply awful.

The one consolation was that the pub had a fireplace.  And though I had wet sleeves and mitts and the rain had seeped through parts of my windbreaker, my body did have that happy fitness feeling that good exercise brings on. But alas, the delights of Wales will have to wait for another day.

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