My Pyrenees HRP Diary - Introduction

This blog was begun in 2015, to record my walk along the Pyrenees HRP from Hendaye to Banyuls. If you want to read about that, I suggest you start here.

But that is all in the past now, and I have expanded the blog a little to cover more recent events.. such as:

Snowdonia Way
Hebden Bridge
Equipment Reviews
North Downs Way
Andorra

and also, one day:

Pennine Way .. which I am due to walk for the third time in 2019, this time from N to S I think

I hope you will find something interesting. Please do provide a little feedback or comment, and if you are interested in something that I didn't say enough about, please let me know .. happy walking!



Jerry

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Snowdon - Preparation 1

The idea for walking the Snowdonia Way came from a random find in a bookshop of a new Cicerone guide with that title. The guide contains two routes, one a six day walk from Machynlleth to Conwy, the other a nine day walk called the mountain route, that goes up and down quite a lot and includes Snowdon, Cader Idris, the Glyders and other pointy bits in the Snowdonia national park. It seemed to me that it would be quite neat to walk one way on one route, then back on the other one.. and the mountain route has several days with more than 1,000m ascent, so would be good preparation for my projected trip to Andorra.

However in buying the printed book, I have made one mistake already! The thing weighs 220g, 1/2lb or so which might not sound much but it is the same as all my cooking kit .. and I am going to have to carry the thing all the way, because the digital version costs the same amount again and I am too tight-fisted to spend another £14.95 just for a digital copy of something that I already have... oh, well. You can buy both together for £22.95, should have done that perhaps

Getting ready involves the following steps:

- review the route
- book any necessary accommodations etc

- review necessary equipment
- trial pack, then pack and go!

The Route
The first thing to do is to review the route, and plot it onto my digital OS maps (courtesy of Anquet Maps). I have to do that first because I can't book any accommodation, until I know which day I am likely to be where. Actually I don't like to book accommodation at all if I can help it, but for the first night at least I will need somewhere to stay and since I am driving, I will need somewhere to leave the car.
So, I have gone through the book and transcribed the route onto the 1:25k high definition walking maps my phone will display. Mostly I have followed the official route, but I could not resist making a few changes here and there. For example, I saw no point in going to Beddgelert only to trail straight back out again the next morning. So I will keep going and put up the tent for the night somewhere suitable. This allows me to save a day as well, so I can get to Conwy in five days. Also, I could not resist changing the route on the fifth day of the ordinary route, to Bethesda, so that it goes directly over Glyder Fach and Tryfan. All those lovely contour lines!
It is sooo handy, having the route and very detailed maps available on the phone. What the phone will not do is to show you the bigger picture, which is why I plot them on the desktop which will display any scale you wish on a number of different map types.

Accommodation
As I say I will drive to Machyllneth, but it does have a railway station so you can get there that way too. I have booked a B&B just outside the town, Elinor sounds very nice.. I will post more, when I've actually arrived there! I have booked two nights, and she is happy for me to leave the car there meantime. This is rather a bet on how long the walk will take, I am hoping there might be a little wriggle room if I am too slow or too quick.. but I expect it will all work out. I have also booked two nights in Conwy, Alison sounds very nice too.. so the walk schedule looks like this:


Friday 07 July
drive to Machynlleth booked Elinor
Saturday 08 July
1 Machynlleth - Dolgellau

Sunday 09 July
2 Dolgellau - Trawsfynydd

Monday 10 July
3 Trawsfynydd - nr Beddgelert

Tuesday 11 July
4 nr Beddgelert - Bethesda

Wednesday 12 July
5 Bethesda - Conwy booked Alison
Thursday 13 July
zero day booked Alison
Friday 14 July
M1 Conwy - Bethesda

Saturday 15 July
M2 Bethesda - Capel Curig
Sunday 16 July
M3 Capel Curig - Pen-y-pass
Monday 17 July
M4 Pen-y-pass - nr Beddgeler

Tuesday 18 July
M5 Nr Beddgelert - Penrhyndeudraeth

Wednesday 19 July
M6 Penrhyndeudraeth - Trawsfynydd

Thursday 20 July
M7 Trawsfynydd - Dolgellau

Friday 21 July
M8 Dolgellau - Abergynolwyn

Saturday 22 July
M9 Abergynolwyn - Machynlleth booked Elinor
Sunday 23 July
drive home


I haven't booked anything else, but there are a fair number of YHA and similar facilities along the way as well as hotels and B&Bs, so I have noted down some phone numbers and will play it by ear and see how things go. The mountain routes M1-M9 are mostly looking fairly relaxed to me so I might finish a day or so early but we shall see. Having to spend an extra day wandering around Southern Snowdonia doesn't sound too bad.

Equipment
Having used most of my stuff on the recent North Downs Way walk I don't think there is anything new I need. I have all the clothing required, though I would like to do something soon about my wet weather gear.. the Berghaus Paclite kit has been good but is getting quite old and somewhat unreliable. It is rather harder to tell than one might think, because if you are climbing a mountain in the wet you will get wet regardless, no fabric is perfect when it comes to breathability. If I find something better I will buy it but top class waterproofs are extremely expensive... so all suggestions are welcomed. But absolute minimum weight, totally waterproof, highest possible breathability.. this is a challenging spec!
The other piece of new kit I have is my Samsung Galaxy S8+ phone. It has an absolutely wonderful display and it makes the OS maps look brilliant. It is also very good for battery life, it will go two days where my S5 only went one, or less. However it does weigh more and I'm not yet sure how robust it will be. I am vacillating about whether to take the S5 too, as backup. I might not do, since I will have the paper guide book - if the phone stops working it will be a pain, but it will not be absolutely terminal, as it would be if I had no other maps or info (or compass!).

So at the moment everything looks to be on track .. I will do a brief update before I set off, using my phone to do it with. It was a problem on the north Downs Way to get it to upload, and I need to resolve that.

Roll on, 7 July!

A view of the Welsh coastline from the summit of Mt Snowdon













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