Snowdon Camping: Part 1

Snowdon Camping: Part 1
Shore edge of campsite
Top of elephant rock

May half term most years will generally find at least some of the Seary clan camped at Llyn Gwynant campsite next to the Glasyln river, which is outstandingly beautiful and very close to mount Snowdon tracks. The joy and the excitement of our journey to Snowdon  begins the moment I shut my front door and step away from our home, I intentionally focus my breath, raising awareness of my being-ness, I relax into the sense of ‘time’ like I would into a long hot bath lovingly prepared with salts and oils. Our car is laden this journey with extra kayaks and life jackets to cater for younger Seary’s now old enough to try out a single kayak by themselves. The cast iron tripod and cooking pot is on-board and our Molly dog has jumped surreptitiously into the back seat alongside some sleeping bags and we don’t hear a peep from her the entire 7 hour journey except to drink water and take a pee. I am always entranced as the journey progresses how street furniture gives way to woodland, round- a-bouts and petrol stations to mountain ridges and star spangled skies, housing estates to drop away canyons and plunging waterfalls. Gravity defying sheep begin  to appear as tiny white blips way up on the hillsides and when I look up I see eerie haunting stones that adorn the crests of the steep hillside ridges, grey granite slabs catching the last rays of the setting sun. As we draw near to the campsite we see clouds rolling down the valley sides and now raindrops cascading down on us. We have a big family tent to put up by ourselves tonight as we have come ahead of the rest of the family and unusually have no idea where the torches were packed. I say to Ray without challenges what do we know of relaxation and he grimaces at me.
On the Saturday we awoke to a bright but chilly day, we were up early considering we had not got into our sleeping bags until gone 1am the previous night. We had arrived much later than anticipated due to road works and sheer volume of traffic to find our usually spacious ‘no vehicles field’ not spacious at all, all river side and tree line pitches were taken, we resolved that it would not affect our contentment and detached our selves from expectations, the most it meant was the haul to the river was a bit further than was easy hauling, seeing as we had in total 3 hardshell kayaks 1 old town 3 seater canoe, 1 double and 1 single inflatable. At this point we had failed to locate a single torch but the solar fairy lights had come on, we must have looked a sorry couple struggling in the semi dark to pitch a tent too big for us to handle with just the aid of some fairy lights and a mallet which the head kept flying off of, eventually two jovial builders took pity on us and came over to give us a hand and soon we had a least the main part of the tent up, fortunately although the ground was very wet the heavy rain had passed over and moved on. Just as our rescuers bid us farewell I felt  cold on my hand and found I was bleeding a steady little trickle of blood from where I had just caught it on one of the pole clips. Armed with my fairy lights I went back to the car to find a plaster and retrieve Molly dog but I could not find a lead for Molly, a plaster, or a torch !, all the contents of the car and trailer were now outside the car as I groped about in the dark, one handed, looking for anything that would help plus Molly was now beginning to howl for wanting to come out, eventually the bleeding stopped and I found a short dog lead, after several exhausting and bitter cold trips the kettle was on toast was cooking and torches were found, when at last we snuggled down into our cosy sleeping bags I was unconscious in seconds. It was a bank holiday so I can not really mind too much when at 6 am an especially loud child from a tent across the way  roused us with his hollering for his mum, dad, nan or any other adult in the vicinity that was obviously at this point ignoring his plaintive cries. So by 7 am Ray, I and Molly were off for a river side walk. 9 o’clock Andrew and Richard M arrived in time for breakfast bacon, beans and toast for them, home-made granola for me with lashings of almond milk. At last by 10 am we were out in the kayaks, out on the lake and up to elephant rock, elephant rock is a fabulous outcrop of hillside rock face which looks like an elephant sitting down from a distance, you can climb on his lower limbs which affords little ledges from which it is great fun to launch off of into the scarily dark deep waters beneath, it is frightening but so exhilarating at the same time and you can go up to sixty feet if you dare or just take the little jumps from below. Today was far too cold but later days would see us jumping.Today just to be out on the water was fantastic enough, I let my kayak drift in the breeze turning my face to the sun that was just beginning to peep through the cloud and let my hands trail down into the water. I felt as though my fingers were stretching, sinking down in the dark water to the moss covered stones that I know lie beneath the darkness, Just then I saw a bird of prey fly over head and at  once felt as one with it, as my fingers became feathers outstretched catching the air currents. All too soon we were heading back to camp to rejoin Richard who was awaiting the arrival of his dad and was also minding Molly for us.


low waters before the hydro lets out

First though a quick attempt to get up past the little bridge under its arch and ride the current back through a second arch. It needs a little bit of skill and a lot of determination to ride against the fast waters released by a hydro plant further upstream, this is something everyone tries to do as the water bubbles and frolics here depositing you back safely in font of the bridge in a little pool, where fish play around your feet. It is where kayaks and canoes can launch from, dogs can swim and kids can jump in, there is a sand bank for little ones with very shallow water and a big boulder in deeper water for the more adventurous. One of the things I like to do is jump in a little upstream still in a buoyancy aid jacket and float in the current around the boulder under the bridge and land in the pool.

out on the lake

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