Forecast for the day was meant to herald a change in the weather and after sleeping in comatose fashion till 6am, I was woken with the first rays of sun on the tent. Quick and an in a more orderly fashion than the previous night, the tent was down and I was away at 6.30 with the first objective to cover the 4 miles short from the previous day in to Maentwrog.
Though of course the day was not short as such as it should be two days but this is of course the way you sometimes think. Its guidebook mentality and rather than being driven by the the flow of your own pace you are driven by an external agenda thats not your own.
In real terms I was neither ahead ot behind in terms of a prescribed agenda but I was aware that I had 5 days left to finish the route and that the weather might turn worse.
Contemplation of completion hadnt really been thought through and I'd said before that poor weather would be a reason to stop walking. This is a holiday after all.
Anyway Maentwrog was reached at 08h30 after some walking round some of the Trawsfynnyd cycle trail (which has a higher than average instance no-win no-fee litigation signs), some awkward to find paths and a couple miles of road walking. The Grapes Hotel is currently shut awaiting new owners so had you completed the 25+ miles from Barmouth before dinner stopped being served, it wouldn't have been served anyway.
The next section up through Coed Maentwrog to Ddualt Station was really nice and the morning was opening up really nicely with sun belying the forecast once again.
Beyond this section you were in the mining area around Blaenau Ffestinog and the path went up sharply past the absndoned mine workings or the Moelwens. Likd many, I'd not walked this section before and navigation in bright sunlight isnt easy so with the cloud down it would be really entertaining. Up past the reservoir and onto the bwlch below Moelwyn Mawr. Following the excertions in the Rhinogs I contemplated going round rather than over. I contemplated further after phoning the hostel at Bryn Gwynant who didnt know if they had a bed for the night suggesting I book on the internet. The reason for phoning their dedicated phone 0845 number as guesd what: there isnt much phone coverage let alone mobile internet in the mountains of Wales. So turn up and see was the best option but even if i had to camp I could get a meal.
Over Moelwyn Mawr and a bit off direction as I went the wrong side of the old quarry workings again been drawn east instead of north (the pull of Blaenau Ffestinog maybe ?). Getting the right route up towards Cnicht was straightforward as its pretty undefined. In the end I gave Cnicht a miss preferring to sit in the sun in a sheltered spot past Llyn ..... overlooking Snowdon. The view makes it look like a proper mountain with the Watkin Path wending up into a hidden cwm and the satellite peaks of Yr Aran, Lliwedd and Crib Goch adding to its majesty. I was thinking however that I'd need to go over it tomorrow :-)
Took my time heading down as it was only 14h30 and the hostel opened at 5pm. My printing of the route maps hadn't including the variations including the one to Bryn Gwynant. I hassled some passing (German ?) Hikers and took a photo of their 1:50000 map. How you can walk with a map at that scale away from the main tracks is a little puzzling but I was grateful.
Spent some further time by a stream just off the path to Bryn Gwynant (a leisure day indeed though I was doing about 19 miles ?). Made some notes and listen the water burbling ans looked up at Snowdon whilst not caring about lying in copious amounts of little ball variety of sheep shit.
I didnt find the permissive path into the back Bryn Gwynant but a nice day so ended up going into reception at 5.15pm. All if their rooms had been blocked as full by 'head office' as the internet access had been out for 5 weeks. I did get a bed in a dorm that slept 12 and in the end there was only 4 of us there.
Also booked dinner and a cooked breakfast as I had russled up a calorie craving. The YHA has changed a lot since my own youth and in particular
- the demographic who stay there. Lots of families and older people. Wonder if the end of the dorm room will come as the shift to pronae rooms comtinues. - they serve alcohol.
I'd stayed in a small hostel on Barra last year with the younger daughter and the social aspect is great. Take away mobile phone signal and internet and you need to talk to people, even the nutters.
Prior to dinner a couple of older guys were planning the expedition up Snowdon so one of the wardens gave the copy of comprehensive bus timetable book (summer edition) from the library shelf. I was interested in having a look just in case I wanted to head to Llanberis from Pen y Pass after Snowdon. However they had planned on retaining it and marked the bus times of interest. I pointed out other people (ie me) might like to take a look and it hadn't occurred to them it was the only copy in the hostel.
Dinner with a couple who did ultra marathons and who were planning to run up Snowdon on the morrow. It seems to up for ultra merathons you have a significant calorie craving and are slightly more stocky than your standard Ethopian 10000m runner.
A couple of bottles of Biera Moretti and off to bed with a prompt 7.30am breakfast and a plan to be away bt 8.00am.
Needless to say Timetable Mans slightly corpulent friend was in a bunk next to me refusing to use a duvet cover ? I was packing my bag at 9pm and asked me to keep quiet as he was trying to get to sleep. He snored im numerous different ways all night and at one point I was woken by the blast of air he was issuing. He then got up st 5.15 making as much noise as possible. Nice.
Distance 29.76km / 18.49 miles
Walking time : 7.5 hour