The morning sun doesn’t penetrate the van. Afterall, a skin of solid metal is pretty opaque and once the windows are covered up with bits and pieces of material and foil (I’ve not yet sorted proper curtains) it stay dark for a long time into the day. The heat however, that, picks up fairly quickly once it lands on the van. Even as insulated as I could make it, once the sun is up, you are sleeping in an oven and have limited time before it becomes unbearable and you have to open a door. Best make sure you’re dressed when this happens…
We drove the last couple hours into wales and met Kai, Laura and Scott in Beddgelert. The town was so named because “bed” means grave, and Gelert was the name of a dog who lived there. The town’s story is that one day the master went off hunting without his trusty hound Gelert. Upon his return he found his house open and the child’s manger empty and covered in blood. At this point, stricken with grief, Gelert came around the corner also covered in blood. The master thrust his sword into the dog and killed it. Just around the corner was the dead body of a wild wolf, it had had tried to attack the baby that was safely hidden nearby. It’s a sad story, but tells a good lesson about not being presumptuous and quick to judge if you haven’t all the facts.
We visited Gelert’s grave and saw his statue and then set off for a walk around the local hills. Scott had promised us it was “just a short round trip” that he had done many times before… It was a Lie… We should have remembered Scotts terrible SOD (Sense Of Direction). We can now extend this superhero power to include the following special features;
TWATs – Takes Wrong Angle Turns
CATTLE – Can’t approximate trail total length easily
ReTARD – refusal to admit ramblers defeat
The walk was not “short”, but it was really nice and picturesque, interesting and gave a good view over the town.
At the top of the hill we found some rusty mining equipment. It looked like it was a ski lift for gravel. We had found out that these mines were used to dig for copper. A couple of them were open and you could just walk down into them. Arrow straight tunnels cut into the mountain side. Presumably they were prospecting for new ore, but there wasn’t really anything interesting to see. They just stopped at a dead end, which was a little bit creepy.
We wandered onwards, chatting merrily in the bright sunlight. The earth was spongy, covered in a really coarse grass that sprang back under foot. It was getting towards the end of the day and Kai needed to get back to his car before the parking metre ran out. We had separated along the path a little way and didn’t notice that Kai and Laura had chosen a different path in order to get back quicker. We looked for them for a few minutes until we remembered that technology existed and we just called them. We carried on our path and found the way down to beddgelert town. We went straight to a pub and had dinner, exhausted from what we had been promised was a “short walk”. We thought Kai and Laura would already have been here but they turned up an hour after us, having gone lost and having to backtrack the path they had chosen. Luckily they didn’t get a parking ticket.
Every time I have come to Wales I’ve always regretted not going to visit the Celts in Anglesey so this time I made a point of doing so. I met them in 2009 having spoken to one of their members on a motorbike forum about a rally they were attending. Since that random encounter and the subsequent trip to Ireland, they have become my motorbike rally buddies. They are really great bunch of guys, proper down to earth, and will help you out with anything you need. I really wanted to see them again as it had been a few years, but this meant another hour of driving from Snowdon on to Anglesey. It was well worth it as most of the gang was there. We met at a tiny locals pub in a village on Anglesey near Roger and Haley’s house almost everyone in there was speaking Welsh. It was great fun to chat to them about the injury i sustained on the last rally I went on. Now every time I go away with them they, expect me now to get injured, or it just won’t be the same!
After couple of hours and a couple of pints we had to head off to find our parking spot for the night. South Stack on Holyhead had been suggested by one of the Celts, as it would probably get a good sunset. We got there just after the sun had set but there was still a spectacular sky. All the colours a glorious backdrop to the dark moody cliffs with chattering birds swooping around them. Here I got to play with my new gas stove for the first time and made us hot chocolate. We sipped it slowly and chatted whilst watching the colour fade into night time.