Finally worked out what the elastic straps on the bottom the sleeping bag are for; to hold in the sleeping mat. The Rab bag only has down on the top half so to speak and held in place means you can turn over in the bag, leaving the down on top. There was the occassional cold gust on the ridge but had to take off the fleece after getting in the bag and writing yesterdays blog, as I was too warm. Have I said how impressed I am with the Rab bag ?
Must have got a good 7 hours as i awoke at 5am and the dozed till 6.20 when the call of nature spurred me outwards. Nothing like an early morning ablution with a view. Pretty cold and Cadair Idris was covered in cloud.
On the move before 7am and in takes a while for the body to start to warm up and flow. Washed in a stream near Bwlch Llyn Fach and also cleaned some socks just in case the launderette in Barmouth was a figment of Googles imagination. When you've been on the trail for a few days you don't seem to ache in the same way, but it takes a warm up, especially for the lower legs and feet to get back in the groove. For the 30 minutes you think this will be a tough, if not your last, day on the trail, but you settle into the routine.
Though the lowest amount of ascent to Cadair Idris summit is up fron the A487 road, it's pretty steep going and involves a fair use of the hands. With wet socks and 2 litres of water, the pack was heavier than it should have been but all was okay. Stopped for breakfast of muesli with dried milk powder, which i'm really liking.
Another push and up to the main ridge of Cadair and then on up the trig point on the summit at just before 10am. I had met a walker on the way across who'd made an early start after being dropped off at Minfordd and heading to Dolgellau. However, there is nothing better than a clear summit with just you there.
One of my early trips up to Cadair Idris was with a guy called Andy Sweetnam, who I worked with in my teens and was in the Venture Scouts. As far as I remember, we'd got the train to Machynlleth and stayed in Corris hostel (which was in the village next to the pub) and then gone over Cadair Idris on the way to the Rhinogs and had stayed at Llanbedr hostel. There is a picture of me somewhere reading Private Eye next to the summit hut in the cloud. I worked on Saturday mornings at Blacks in Reading (and I think Andy was fulltime). I had one of the classic walking jumpers of the time, plus some breeches. What ever happened to the walking breeches (not tweed, but the later more trendy ones) ?
Didn't stay long as there was a fresh wind and headed down the Pony Path with great views across to Barmouth, and looking forward to a relatively leisurely day.
Met three ladies on the way up dressed for the gym but making both good progress and conversation. Another man on the way up commented he'd met a girl who had spent the night in the summit bothy. This is something I'd thought about, but glad I'd didn't as that might have been a little awkward. It's also a bit of hovel by comparison with the tent.
Over Tyrrau Mawr, which was a great spot for a quick apple and break for 15 minutes on the grassy ledge overlooking the Mawdach estuary. Just a superb place to be, above the estuary and the world below.
The route down to Cregennen Lakes is steep and the Ladder Stile mention that marks the descent spot seems to have replaced by a standard step over one. The route seems convoluted and if you were coming over from Dinas Mawddwy in a day you'd take a shorter route to ensure you made dinner.
That said, the lakes looked great and path down past the Arthog Falls were really nice on a great sunny day. Lower down out of the wind it was great and made for a great atmosphere. After a few wild days on the hills there is always something comforting about lower-level walks, especially next to water. That said, though I live near to the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal and sometimes run along it, not sure it would entice me for a walking holiday.
Heading over Barmouth bridge I recognised the woman I'd seen on the Glyndwr Way near Dylife. She was the same person who'd spent the night in the Cadair Idris shelter.
Had a coffee with Ursula in Barmouth and seems she's done some walking and I'd encourage you to take a look at her website. Walking over 3000 miles in Wales is impressive.
One Woman Walks Wales She was on a way from Llanidloes to a travel and leisure writing course in Criccieth. She had walked the Cambrian Way as part of travels.
She carried on up the coast and I headed into the launderette after a trip into Regatta sports for a tshirt and another pair of socks. Went a bit furthef than the Levis add and went over to the Coop with my long trousers and and new t-shirt whilst everything else went for a well deserved anti chaffing treatment.
Time to head to Wavecrest over by the beach. The owners are about to retire and have built a great regular clientele over 30 years including lots of walkers. Barmouth is a great mix of mid Wales town for the locals and semi down market seaside resort for the tourists.
Quite a few bikers on a mission in town (it is Saturday) and if you're not leather and patch clad on a Harley you are a shade of flourescent yallow or orange on a BMW GS. Unlike walking, for most it's not possible to do a bike trip on your own.
Evening Barmouth has a different trade in the pubs and after an okay steak and pint it was off to bed. Rhinogs tomorrow with food until Tuesday from the Coop. Nothing booked ahead so lets see on progress but a probable camp somewhere in the Rhinogs.
Distance : 23.96km / 14.86 miles