30 day hiking challenge

On April 1st, I started a 30 day hiking challenge. The rules are simple:

  • walk 5km every day
  • outside
  • with a pack on
  • for 30 day

Each time, I load my pack up with my hiking gear and head out the door, then unpack when I return. That’s been fairly necessary as I’ve been rained on for each of the last four days.

A word on my pack; it’s not featured here yet, but I made another prototype of my DIY backpack in the summer and entered it into the village show.

And it only went on to win best in class and best in show – winner of the village Handicraft Cup.

Does that make it an award winning pack design?


MYOG Tutorial: How to Sew Ultralight Gaiters

An excellent tutorial that is well worth a read.

Hiking Hammonds

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase through my links.

Like most long-distance hikers, Paul and I wear trail running shoes.  They are lightweight and comfortable, but they are definitely more prone to getting dirt, rocks, and sticks in them.  Ultralight gaiters such as Dirty Girl Gaiters are comfortable, ultralight, and keep rocks out of your shoes. Plus, they prolong the life of your socks.  Outdoor Research makes a similar style, but Paul tried these and found the ankle to be very loose, so they were slightly less functional.  Altra also makes this style gaiters as well but I haven’t tried them.  Across all brands, they run from about $15-$25.  Paul and I have used several pairs of the Dirty Girl Gaiters, and I…

View original post 1,271 more words

A planning page

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry or, as  Robert Burns would have it, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

No “gang aft a-gley” is not something I wish to do very often, so in an effort to address this problem, at the top of this page, you will now find a shiny new link to a planning page.

This page contains, err, planning information.  This includes links to pages I have found useful in trip planning. As a find more, I will add them.

Snow Way update

GPX files from my Snowdonia Way walk have been posted on the Snowdonia Way page. I’ll be adding further posts and picture on what happened when I get the time, along with a step-by-step guide for an alternative to stage 1B avoiding the Card Idris climb.

Also, note that the hostel and Inn in Trawfydd at teh end of stage 2 were both closed during my walk in April this year, the only accommodation options being the B&B and the campsite; the latter is highly recommended.

Snowdonia Way, post-mortem

Looking back now, I think my decision was the right one. It did continue to rain heavily for the rest of the week and with gale force winds it would have been a very “!bracing” experience. What’s more with snow over the mountains, my planned route would not have been possible.

Nevertheless, I look forward to returning sometime in the future to complete this excellent route. But, not at the beginning of April after record snowfall across the south of the country!

Time to bail

Come morning the rain had eased off for a while and I wondered what I should do.

My home for the last night. Note the shiny wet decking.
The view north across the lake. Note the clouds. At this time of the year they’re full of rain!

I had a phone signal, so checked the forecast and it looked worse than yesterday. Red weather warnings for rain and a bad outlook for the mountains in the North.

I spent some time pondering what to do then decided. I had not enjoyed things yesterday and time constraints meant that I could not wait the storm out. I had to carry on or bail., and it didn’t take me long to decide to bail.

The walk back to Trawsfynydd proved to be dry, and by the time I arrived at the bus stop in the middle of the village, it looked like the weather forecast might be wrong. I even spent a moment reconsidering my plan, but decided to head on home.

A bus ride to Machynlleth, lead me to a train to Swansea, another to Bristol, a replacement bus, then a third train home.

By this time, the last bus for the day had left, the only way home was via taxi or a 5 mile road walk down the back lanes. This being a backpacking trip, I opted for the latter, arriving home for 10pm, ready for food and shower and bed.


A lakeside haven

Crossing the bridge that runs south across Llyn Trawsfynydd had been something I had been looking forward to, so it was a shame that I spent most of the crossing looking down at my feet as the rain blasted in from the south.

The bridge across the lake. Almost as much water in the air as below the bridge!

Walking east along it was apparent that a night in the tent would be very rough. The ground was saturated and I wondered how my tent would stand up to these conditions., or more specifically, whether the pegs would stay in place. The map showed little in the way of trees to offer shelter and it was a long way to the next town. So, I arrived at Cae Adda campsite wondering what the night would bring.

There;s a few hills out there.

For every cloud there is a silver lining and for me, the weather though bad, did produce something good. Something very good.

The whole of the site had been booked out by a group, but they had had to divert due to the poor weather (snow in the Midlands I think), leaving the camping huts on the site unoccupied. I willingly paid for one and spent a comfortable night inside while the rain lashed down as the darkness descended.

This is how the other half glamp!


Snowdonia Way day 3 – nice weather for ducks

It was time to walk stage 2.

The rain started last night just before it got dark and it continued into the morning. Checking the forecast, the rain was due to lighten after 9am so I decided to stay in bed until then before heading north, destination TrawsfynyddThis stage followed paths NW out of the town, to the village of Llanelltyd before contouring along easy to follow tracks along the hillside. Looking back to the south, Card Idris had even more snow on its summit after that last weather system had passed through, but thankfully the rain held off – for now at least.

After lunch I entered the woods of Coed-y-Brenin and after about one hour, the rain started. Crossing the road I stopped in a shelter by the car park to eat some lunch, by which time, things had dried up. The walking was fairly easy good paths and easy direction finding leading me north. However, this was the calm before the storm.

Early afternoon the rain showers started to blow through. Annoying because it was a warm afternoon – not the kind of day you would want to wear waterproofs, but being in the woods, the umbrella came to the rescue. Something I was really glad for.

Snack stop in the woods. Love my ‘brella; she’s called Ella.

By late afternoon, I had left the shelter of the woods and the walked climbed up higher. Up here the rain became crunchy – sleet if you prefer; so it was good when the route started the descent into Trawsfynydd. But, as the wind picked up the rain took on a horizontal nature, helped on by blasts of winds that forced Ella, the umbrella to be stashed away for another time. Type 3 fun.

Arriving in Trawsfynydd, I ducked into a bus shelter and looked at the map. Little chance of camping other than the side 2 miles away,  I also managed to get a phone signal and the forecast promised more of the same for the rest of the week. Lots of potential for type 4 fun.

I checked the guide book for accommodation. The B&B at the top end of the village was full, no response on the phone for the hostel or the Inn.

Walking into the middle of the village, it became clear that both the Inn and hostel were no longer open, so begrudgingly I walked onto the campsite. Fun had moved on to Type 4