Dinas Campsite is my top recommendation for a great value, back to nature campsite located in the heart of Snowdonia.
I turned up just as night was falling and the owner greeted me at his front door, offered a bargain price for the night and even taught me some welsh! The very best thing I will remember is the sound of the river Ogwen rushing by within metres of my tent sending me to sleep.
Sunshine and dew greeted me in the morning and I felt refreshed and raring to get out and see the mountains. I got on the road early and arrived at Llanberis, where you can catch the train up to the top of Snowdon. I planned to be lazy and take the train, check out the views and then head on to see more of Wales. My plans however changed when I discovered all trains were booked until 3pm.
The mountain was calling. So I set out on foot…my only directions were a brief description from the ticket seller on the train.
I began the easiest route up Snowdonia which is clearly signposted. At the start of the pass I came across a tea house called Pen Ceunant. Realising I was unprepared for a long climb I wandered inside the 18th century cottage to buy some Snowdon water. It was like stepping back in time, with a quaint bell to ring and summon the owner. A cheerful face greeted me and handed me a bottle of water, saying I could pay on my way back down. I protested, saying “ I might not return this way”, “well” said the owner, “pay me when you next return to Snowdon”. I loved the sense of trust that seemed to be present as soon as you became part of the merry band of mountain walkers. This was going to be a good walk, I felt.
My memories of Wales have always included cloud and precipitation, but this was a new face that I had not seen before. Vivid blue skies, hot sunshine and views expanding to the hills and coast all around. The journey was improved with the people I met en-route. I chatted to an expert in fibre optics who tried to explain the future of intelligent construction, where bridges will be able to tell us exactly where they might break and planes could let us know of any weak points. I met and encouraged an older couple who were raising money for Alzheimers by climbing the mountain and took their photo on the top and I met four guys who were completing their last day of outdoor activity training before becoming instructors.
Each stage of the walk revealed more and more views. It was incredible to see the final clouds burn off and to stand on the top of Snowdon with a complete 360 degree panorama.
I loved the buzz of people mingling and munching their sandwiches in the cafe on top of Snowdon. It was a fantastic atmosphere of relief and camaraderie for those who had climbed the paths to the top. The train passengers were easy to spot having huge coats, bags and glamourous shoes. My route down ended back at the tea house with slices of delicious bara brith and homemade lemonade. The perfect end to an invigorating walk.
My journey ended with a stunning drive through Nant Peris and the heart of the mountains in the evening sunshine.
I found a simple campsite on a farm overlooking the sea Abersoch. I lay down with my head sticking out of my tent and took in the milky way and stars. Wales had captured my heart.