After a few miserable weather days we were delighted to wake up to the sun heating up our campervan like a greenhouse. We woke early as it was a weekend and we knew parking would be tricky so we wanted to get to our destination for the day. We managed to find a lay-by right on the shores of a lake and had some breakfast before walking 1km up the road to the start of the hike. This is something we’ve gotten used to doing to save paying for parking, we prefer to hike a few extra kilometres than pay for parking, that way we can happily treat ourselves to ice creams in little villages. The road was lined with parked cars so we knew it was going to be a very busy day in the park. I bloody despise weekends. We headed to the Watkins Path which is one of the routes you can take up to the summit of Snowdon. We definitely weren’t in the mood to hike Snowdon on a weekend and we still had tired legs after hiking a couple of summits so we opted for a more leisurely stroll.
We headed to the gorgeous river that flows close to the path. It drops down the valley in a series of waterfalls and idyllic swimming holes and we found a pool which was perfect for a morning plunge. The water was aqua blue, the clearest we’ve found on the trip so far. After our very refreshing swim we made our way uphill to nowhere in particular. It’s not often that I don’t make a plan for where we’re hiking so it made a nice change just saying “let’s try this path” and seeing where we ended up. We basically hiked in the opposite direction to everyone else and we were treated to mountain views including Snowdon when it wasn’t beneath a cloud. We ended up at a slate quarry with a view down to the next valley below us. It was a good spot for lunch so we took a seat on a giant slab of slate and Craig found a perfect piece to form a picnic table for a very sophisticated lunch.
On our way back down the mountain we stopped at the river again, looking for a different pool to swim in. The place was heaving now though with dozens of people jumping into the water and relaxing on the shores. Somehow we found another perfect pool to swim in and no one else around us so we had fun cooling off in the water and letting the waterfall push us around in it’s swell.
It was a long walk in the end, that’s how most ‘easy’ hiking days seem to end for us though. We were gone for about 6 hours but we wanted to make the most of the weather so when we got back to Helga we pumped Roland our rowboat up and headed out on the lake. It was so nice drifting away from the shoreline, the noise of the road and humans slowly fading away.
There were great views of the surrounding hills and mountains and when we reached the far shore we tied onto a rock and I had an afternoon nap while Craig read his book. It was a lovely little paddle and so nice to finally find a free lake to take our boat on – so many are privatised in the UK and charge a fee to launch. It’s crazy to think all of the insanely blue lakes in Canada surrounded by glaciers and mountains are free to boat on, and here you have to pay £15 to boat around a murky pond.
When we got back an older couple had pitched up next to us and the lady was so interesting; she told us that in the 70s she took part in a trip from England to India, travelling overland in an old Bedford bus that caught on fire in Jordan and burnt all of her possessions! Tomorrow we’re expected to have more sunshine so it’s time to conquer some mountains without walking through a thick cloud.