Monday 3 September 2001

Lovelife update to follow...

Went walking in Snowdonia at the weekend, Wales revealed its damp side to us.

Standard late night London escape, Gus and Baz driving way too fast up the motorway and A5, weaving between cars, swearing at all other traffic, and in one unforgettable moment (in the always having nightmares about it sense) Gus overtaking down a long straight and then appearing to simultaneously forget the location of the next bend and how to work a gearbox - a feat made even more amazing by the car being an automatic.

Arrived in Betws-y-Coed (a small Welsh town, not an American style university) just after midnight only to find an array of campsites loudly proclaiming

'No pitching of tents after 4:30pm/midday/10am. None at all. NO EXCEPTIONS. THIS MEANS YOU FATNOSE.'

A little bit more driving found a suitably damp field and we bedded down for the night.

Saturday saw us get the train to Conwy, and embark on a planned two day, 25 mile walk across the Carneddau. After a 6 hour slog, my right heel was a pink and sore mess and we had found a spot to pitch a tent, at a small lake at the foot of some mist-wreathed cliffs, with a (crashed?, junked?) plane propellor sticking eerily out of the shoreline. Despite the nourishment of some Super Noodles (they really are Super) and the heartwarming effect of listening to England roundly thrash Germany on a small transistor radio (that's listening to the commentary on the radio rather than 23 men and football running around on the radio, oh never mind), my previous enthusiasm to forgo the luxury of a tent for the confines of a brand spank-me new Gore-Tex bivvy bag was being slowly subdued by the howling wind and torrential rain (note to fellow campers - all rain sounds torrential when you're in a tent). Nonetheless, I bravely ran the five yards from Baz's comfy tent and zipped myself into my new toy.

Two hours later, still awake and discovering that when the fabric of a bivvy bag gets blown around it gets blown into MY angelic, semi-asleep face, I heard some voices. Icy fear gripping me I unzipped the bag (thus revealing naked flesh to the cold Welsh wind) and saw two headtorches picking their way down a deserted mountainside in the murky gloom. Close inspection of the facts lead to the inescapable conclusion that a Deliverance style experience was about to unpleasantly force itself on (and presumably in) me, so it was with some trepidation that I switched my headtorch on and said Hello in a tremulous voice.

An equally fearful sounding voice replied and I discovered two lads wandering around in the gloaming, looking for a bothy that they claimed was nearby. I professed innocence, wished them luck and zipped myself back in to the bivvy bag. How foolish did I feel when I woke at 6:30 to the sound of rain roundly thrashing the outside of my bivvy bag and discovering that the bedroll I lay on was in a big puddle of condensation.

We swiftly packed up our rain sodden kit, took a look at the mist-wreathed peaks around us and walked off the mountain to the comfort of a pub.

My heel still hurts.

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