Three months: gone in a flash. It’s hard to believe how much we have fitted in already, and yet, we still have another eight months left of our Outdoor Instructor Course. The last couple of weeks have been taken up with a lot of personal skills development; Duke of Edinburgh and trips abroad have stopped for the winter break. There has been a lot of indoor climbing, as the River Dart has been so low we can’t paddle it without bumping every rock and trust me, we have tried, but getting stuck every other 100 metres is not fun! During the quiet winter months, we also carry out maintenance around the centre, so far, we have learnt how to fix canoes, put new jockey wheels on the trailers, rewire plugs for the trailers, repair the fletchings on the arrows and inspect the equipment ready for AALA (governing body for outdoor centre safety).
So even when it’s quiet we still find things to do, not to mention selling Christmas trees down at the Dartington shops! However, a bit of commission on the side helped fund our latest adventure consisting of two days walking in Snowdonia.
Then, after a final archery session, lots of packing and our final sleep in the “barn” for a month, we said our goodbyes to our instructors and friends to head off on a six hour drive to North Wales. We had booked a little two-person bunkhouse in Rhyd Ddu, in the heart of Snowdonia National Park. The lady on the phone informed us, numerous times, that it was very basic, but with limited choice and budget, we had to go for it! On arrival, we found that the lady had been true to her word! We were welcomed with a hobbit-sized door, bunkbeds, mini fridge (so small we had to keep our milk in the bathroom as it was the coldest place!), a two-ring burner, a sink, shower and toilet all squished into the size of a family bathroom! However, that’s all part of the adventure, so we settled in, made dinner, then snuggled up on the top bunk under our sleeping bags for a quiet night of games, reading and green tea – ready for the mountains that awaited us!
Day one was part of the Nantlle Ridge. We were met with a steep start, dragging ourselves up Y Garn, only ten minutes in. Once we had gained our height we kept it, working our way along the ridge line. We had plenty of hands-on scrambling, some with very sharp drop offs and with super slippery slabs our work didn’t get any easier. It was a fun part of the walk and we made it to the second summit without any mishaps. On the final ascent of our last peak the clouds came in and our visibility was reduced to a mere twenty metres, our sensible head won us over and we decided to turn around slightly early. This seemed to work out for the best as we only just manged to find our route off! A steep and wet walk down off the peaks was only hampered with a few epic slips on sodden grass, fortunately only Stuart’s pride was injured!
Our second day we tackled Yr Arran, an impressive peak but somewhat overshadowed by Snowdon. It was a lovely, crisp, winter morning with a little low lying mist but the summits were bathed in an early morning sunlight. A long winding path, with some scrappy scrambling took us to the top and at 757m the views were outstanding, the best I have ever seen in Wales. It felt like we were on the highest mountain, looking down on the clouds and smaller peaks way off in the distance. We sat there a while, having a coffee and enjoying the view, after all, you have to reward the hard work. Unfortunatley, our day was cut a little short as Laura had picked up a virus that was circultating the staff at Dymanic Adventures and wasn’t feeling too great to carry on.
All in all it was a great couple of walks, enjoying the winter weather and adding days to Mountain Leader Award. We are now looking forward to spending Christmas with families and catching up with friends whilst also fitting in some climbing! But, our adventures aren’t over, we have 4 days in Borrowdale, Lake District, lined up for more winter walking, where hopefully a few family members will join us to share the adventure and not forgetting our ‘Walk with us’ day in the peaks on the 29th December.
We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and also a big thank you for everyone who reads our blogs and who follows us on our adventure.
We would love to see what you get up to over the break so if you find yourself on an adventure big or small please share it with us by tagging #take2adventure