Nr Beddgelert - Bethesda 14.7 miles
Shortest day so far, but not the easiest as thanks to my second route alteration, I got up over 3,000 ft for the first time today.
I had a yogurt and some bananas for breakfast, transported from Penrhin, and set off, once again in the rain. Before leaving I had a disaster - my lovely new Samsung galaxy s8+ fell out of a pocket of my rucksack onto the only concrete floor for miles around, and the screen is cracked. Everything still works ok, but I was not a happy bunny.
I headed off up the valley, and after a mile or two I passed another campsite, much bigger than the one I had used. Not only did it have a shop, but also a stall selling cooked breakfasts! One bacon and egg sandwich later I felt better, and carried on up the Glaslyn valley. At the top is a famous hotel, the Pen-y-Gwryd, frequented over the years by mountaineers such as Hillary and Bonington, with the photos to prove it. I got out of the rain for a bit (coffee, it was only 10am) and was able to phone home as there was a little bit of signal.
Then off up towards Glyder Fach, 994m (3,261ft) and the sixth highest mountain in Wales.
It was a steady climb and I felt quite comfortable, more concerned with avoiding the bogs and not losing the path than with the exertion. Strange to think that Sir Edmund Hillary might have trodden in that very same bog...
Conditions were not ideal - it rained regularly and visibility was hopeless, just grey cloud wherever you looked. Still I felt very happy to be back up in the real mountains again.
And not on my own, either. Every now again a group of bedraggled, depressed looking teenagers with huge rucksacks would loom up out of the mist. Or harassed looking guides, asking if I had seen this or that group? By the time I went off the far side of the mountain, I must have seen 60 people. Makes me wonder what Snowdon will be like.
So I put in quite a lot of effort, to no great reward and no views at all. But I still thought the day worthwhile, I felt at home out in the mountains and it was nice to do the climb without strain.
It was mid afternoon by the time I got down to Llyn Ogwen reservoir. Although the excitement was over, I still had a six mile walk along the Ogwen valley to get to Bethesda.
First impressions of Bethesda were not promising. The main drag is along a busy main road, the A5, it is dirty and with the usual quota of empty shops etc. I went into the first pub I came to, the Bull, and asked if they were serving food. "Oh no, we don't do food." I asked if there was another pub that did? "Oh no, no food in the village on a Tuesday night." So I left and carried on down the road. Next pub was the Victoria, they had a sign saying "Luxury bunkhouse," whatever that means. But they didn't do food. The nice barmaid said "You want the Llangollen, next door." So off I went and by golly she was right! They describe themselves as a gastro pub, usually a worrying boast but I had a really excellent meal, for not very much. Then I went back next door to enquire further about the bunkhouse luxury, as a result of which I found that I had the entire 20 bed place to myself. I had a fine double bed, a superb and spacious kitchen, and a choice of five showers etc., not to mention two large tvs, all for £25. So despite an unprepossessing appearance and an obviously lying landlord of the Bull, I ended up very happy with Bethesda and highly recommend both the Victoria luxury bunkhouse and the Llangollen gastro pub. But avoid the Bull like the plague!
I will be back in Bethesda in a few days and hope to do just that.
Not many photos again today, difficult to take them in the rain and mist.
|A distant view of Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach|
|Just for a moment, Tryfan was visible. A minute later it disappeared again|
|coming down to the Ogwen reservoir|
|The Ogwen valley, Bethesda is out of sight at the far end|
|palatial bunkhouse, the Victoria|
|my personal kitchen|