the hills are alive with the sound of


Great day on the hills above Beddgelert with Joe. Weather held off until we were comfortably ensconced in the bar of the Anglesey Arms in Caernarfon. Ended up doing 6.5 miles of difficult terrain with a 1000 ft elevation climb in just over 4 hours. We stopped whenever we felt like it.

I had originally considered climbing Moel Siabod from Capel Curig. The temperature at the top was going to be around 1 degree celsius today and the 800 metres climb looked as if it might be a bit on the uncomfortable side. In the end we opted for “Llyn Dinas and Cwm Bychan from Beddgelert” which seemed to give me the optimum combination of scenery, climb and distance.

It ended up being an absolutely lovely walk where I got the quite steep bit of the ascent in relatively early and could then enjoy the rest of the day. The views were stunning and the silence notable. Most of the walkers were going the opposite direction to us which proved to have a far more gentle climb to it but i was glad we stuck to the “guide book”.

On our way down we encountered a group who had a couple of people somewhat on the large side. They didn’t make it to the top but turned around and headed back down the same way they had come.

The sun shone for most of the walk and was actually good enough to wait until we got to the top before giving of its best and on the way down we were able to remove our waterproofs which were there today mainly for their wind-cheating capacity.

Today I took the GoPro with me. It has a waterproof casing and I’m kind of leaning towards using it as the main coast to coast camera and just using the phone for the runkeeper app. Once it is mended that is.

We arrived in Beddgelert after a lovely walk alongside the Afon Glaslyn and hit the Conway Cafe (?) for a cream tea. There were some Americans on the table behind us where the son (early 20s) seemed decidedly unimpressed with the area. From the sound of it he was after Windsor Castle et al. Huh!

Met Rhys at the Anglesey Arms, popped in to Morrisons for some supplies and home for a snug night in. We are cooking pasta and tomato sauce with choritzo, bacon, mushrooms and chilli.

Home tomorrow.

feet beginning to harden btw


Tuesday and the holiday continues

Only Joe n Tref left in Llanberis

Thunderstorms in the night plus lots of chesty coughing. Didn’t make for a good sleep for either of us.  Also a phone call on the mobile at 11.55pm! Wtf? Looks like it may have been an enquiry for Anne’s Vans but can’t really tell due to the non-functional screen. Had a couple in the mail & via facebook when we got up which is good.

Anne’s car has sleet on it so it does look to have been a stormy old night. The main body of the party goes home today leaving just me n Joe. We are off to Bangor for a couple of beers with Rhys tonight. Hitting some old stomping grounds.

The rest of today we will do some sightseeing methinks. Tomorrow is much the better day for weather and therefore for walking. Am thinking of finding another climb roughly equivalent to yesterday’s killer. Having studied the Wainwright book this morning the walk to the halfway house is the same as the first big climb on the coast to coast on the second day. The third day has two such climbs so the more of them I can get in before hand the better. I can only imagine that they will get easier 🙂

I’m going to take the gopro out with us today. Get some pics and vids maybe. They don’t automatically upload but beggars can’t be choosers. I felt at a loss without the phone camera yesterday. On the other hand it gave me time to concentrate on the walk. I’ll have to find the right balance for the coast to coast. Choose my spots rather than take pics of everything of mild interest. I think things of mild interest are important but sometimes you have to prioritise 🙂

Set off for Anglesey notionally to look at the Anglesey Sea Salt shop (10 times quickly?). Just something to fill in a bit of time before Charlotte’s train at 13.36. In the end we didn’t have enough time for the tour so we just bought some salt, as you do. Then swung by the shop at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch where Charlotte bought some Welsh Cakes for her ma & pa and I bought a solar powered VW campervan shaped garden light for £15. Thought it might be a good competition prize for Anne’s Vans.

Having dropped the lass off at the station Joe and I went to the pier for lunch, or so we thought. Having forked out a quid for the parking and braved horizontal freezing rain we got to the caff, a few hundred yards at the end of the pier mind you, to find that it was closed on Tuesdays!!! Had to settle for lunch at the Tap and Spile – what was the Garth – is nothing sacred?

Picked up some patent cold remedies in Tesco and then headed to Nant Peris and the Vaynol Arms which unfortunately was also closed until 5pm. Ah well. Home now. Warm. Bit of a nap maybe? Catch ya later 🙂

Bank Holiday Monday – an uphill walk


killer walk to Clogwyn Station

Final prep for our walk today. Headed up the Llanberis Path to Snowdon. We won’t go all the way up as the weather is not good but at least for the moment it isn’t driving rain as it has been over the weekend.

Rhys and family are on their way over for an 11am meet. Was originally planned for 10am but that was a bit ambitious so I called (using Anne’s phone) and pushed it back.

Bit of a cold but ah well. It never deterred Mallory, presumably.

Had a nice roast beef dinner last night with the 6 of us around the table, Tom having left for London. As usual with fan assisted ovens I couldn’t get the timing and temperature right so the joint ended up being more towards well done than rare. I’ll never get that right.

Seven of us, me Anne, Hannah, Joe, Charlotte, Rhys, Iwan and Elen, set off shortly after 11am. The uphill bit was a total killer. The downhill bit was tough but not the same level of killer. We stopped for a cuppa at the Halfway House which rejuvenated me somewhat and I was able to soldier on to above the snowline. We had been told by a warden not to go further than the bridge at Clogwyn Station, the penultimate train stop. Tbh it took an effort for me to get that far. No way was I going to make it to the top with a particularly steep bit yet to come. The warden also told us it was a 35 minute walk from the Halfway Caff to the Clogwyn Station. This was bull and must have assumed a high level of fitness. For me it was a good hour or more – see the table in the featured image.

snowdon walkAs it happened the spot we turned around at corresponded with the highest point I have to climb to on the coast to coast so i’m not too unhappy about it. The map suggests this is 780 metres. Fitbit said 2,267 feet elevation gain. This is probably right as we didn’t start at sea level.

At least I’ve now climbed the highest climb on the coast to coast. Wouldn’t do me any harm to shift another 10Kg in the next month aka the weight loss so far.

The video was taken by Charlotte from the turning point. My phone is kaput. Still managed to upload my Fitbit data when I got back. I assume the fitbit Surge can still talk to the phone app.

clogwyn_stationThe biggest problem I have with the Fitbit is that today’s walk used up all the battery when in GPS tracking mode. 5 hours isn’t good enough. I’m going to need a whole day. The Fitbit Surge was very generously provided to me by Fitbit themselves. I’m going to continue with it for the moment but largely without using the GS function.

Does anyone know anyone senior at Garmin who might want to comp me one of their watches for the coast to coast? Runkeeper will still do the job with an external battery boosting the phone. Once I have a working phone. The Oneplus 2 isn’t particularly reliable for this though and periodically freezes.

We ended up at Pete’s eats where I had a pint of tea, haddock, chips and peas and a couple of bottles of welsh cider. Huge portions – Anne finished off my chips!

Quiet night in…

Vid from Clogwyn Station (thanks Charlotte)

Chromebook selfie – probably not the way ahead

tref chromebook selfie

phone knackered so today’s image is chromebook selfie

Full of cold this morning. Probably a good job we’ve decided to give ourselves the day off. Weather is totally pants and the best two days look like being Monday and Wednesday so that’s likely to be when we go walking. Tuesday the forecast would appear to include thunderstorms.

I’m going to have to rely on others for photos over the next few days because my phone’s screen is totally dead. Everything else seems to be fine – it rang just now although I couldn’t answer it and calendar notifications seem to go off.

Hmm. It certainly makes me think about what device I might need for the coast to coast walk. The one that seems to top the reviews is the Galaxy S7 and this has the benefit of a great camera and an element of waterproofness. It’s also  very expensive so we shall see. In the meantime I’ll have to take back the Oneplus 1 off John who hasn’t been using it anyway because his sim is the wrong size.

Everyone is getting a lie in this morning, even me. It’s already 09.47! Pretty much unheard of for me at least. It should be the stimulus for a decent brunch. The curry last night was great – I’ve never had a bad one from the Llanberis Spice fair play. Just realised the clocks went forward last night so it is really only 8.47.

As I like in bed here the battering of the cottage by the rain is constant. Very impressive.

I’m going to get up.

Only me downstairs. I have a sausage and a mushroom on the go. Bacon and eggs will be added plus fried bread (I am on holiday and I have a cold). Quite nice being downstairs when it’s peaceful. I may even have shot off to Caernarfon to see Rhys before the others get up.

Popped into Caernarfon but no sign of anyone at the Roberts house. Will have to borrow someone’s phone later to call. On the way back stopped at the Spar shop for some mustard, flour and beef stock – we are having roast beef tonight.

The others are now up (12.15) and lazing about. Anne and Hannah are stuck in a car park in Colwyn Bay. They have a 2pm get together with Uncle Cliff in his caravan and are somewhat early. Ah well.

Featured image is a selfie of me taken with the chromebook camera which isn’t much use. Full of cold and not that cheery 🙂

A very very very wet Welsh Bank Holiday

tref charlotte joe and tom

Llanberis at its wettest

Sheets of rain blowing across the lake at Capel Curig when I dropped John off at Plas Y Brenin. Very dramatic scenery. I like this weather. Easier if you are dressed appropriately.

We arrived at Plas Y Brenin at 9am and maneuvered the car into a tight parking space. The receptionist didn’t have much of a clue about John’s course but directed us to the lecture theatre, through the restaurant and through the bar. The door was locked but we managed to get in. The welcome lecture had already started so we sat quietly at the back.

Then the instructors came in and the various courses were called out – Alpine training sprang to mind. They were all small groups and John’s Introduction to Mountain Biking had just 6 on the course.

We determined that the pick up time would be 6.30pm so I’m going to have to reschedule tonight’s curry.

Back at 23 Ffordd Ty Du only Tom was up. I picked up some supplies from the Spar shop on the way.

A very wet day in llanberis. Unfortunately the oneplus 2 couldn’t take the humidity and  is now on the radiator drying out after our walk around lake padarn. Ostensibly 5.6 miles but it took about 3 hours due to the conditions and runkeeper froze early into the walk. Looks like it was just after I took a photo at the slate museum. The rear facing camera is misted over! I think I will have to wait until tomorrow to see if it is going to recover. The photo was backed up to Google drive so I do have one souvenir of the day. I would have liked to have had more pics but it wasn’t going to happen.

Also my drybag should be sued under the trades descriptions act. Maybe the conditions were just as bad as they get today.

When we do the coast to coast we have to be prepared to walk for 8 or 9 hours a day in these conditions. I also need to identify a reliable means of tracking the route. Fitbit supposedly only lasts 5 hours using GPS although I have yet to test it. At least the fitbit is still functioning. I’m not sure that it is accurately tracking my movements though. It’s telling me I’ve done 11.55 miles so far today but that is not right.

All four layers were wet but not uncomfortably so. I’m guessing had I not had the right gear on this would have been a different story.

I swung by Plas Y Brenin to pick up John earlier than arranged. It was a good call. The lad was sat in the bar looking tired and wet. He is now in the shower and looking forward to going out for a nice curry later.

It’s a wonderful drive to Plas Y Brenin. The scenery is spectacular and the colours wonderful. Of course today they were all dark colours. Various hues of ochre and slate grey with swirls of white running down the mountainside. It’s impressive to see all the water running off the mountain.

Pic is from left to right, me, Charlotte, Joe and Tom already looking a bit damp by the time we got to the Slate Museum. J & C had to call it quits early on as their feet got soaked.

Good Friday

just a lovely day

Early morning at 23 Ffordd Ty Du and the sunlight is streaming in through the window. If you look out of the window though the mountains are shrouded in cloud or mist so I’m not sure what the plan is going to be today yet. We have in anycase to finish early to pick up Tom from the station in Bangor at 4.45.

We also need to nip to Llanberis Bike hire to sort out John’s mountain bike for the weekend. I just dug out the email and realised I was supposed to get in touch with Nigel at the shop a couple of weeks ago!

The weather for the next few days is looking typically Welsh, ie not very good. I’ll be alright having invested in the gear but not so sure about the about the others. I’m sure they all have waterproof tops but not necessarily waterproof overtrousers. We will have to see how we get on.

Whatever happens we do have to get some uphill walking in today.John is fast asleep at the moment but someone else has stirred. I am writing at 8am from the comfort of my nice and warm en suite bedroom but someone has gone to the bathroom. Perhaps there isn’t so much of a rush on our first day. We have to get through the requisite holiday full breakfast first.

Today I am full of headcold – first time I’ve had one for yonks. Makes a change from the bloomin toothache! Ah well. Bit of fresh air will do the job. Right, up for breakfast.

Good fry up, once we had found the frying pan and then discovered 2 of them. Into Llanberis to sort out John’s mountain bike for tomorrow and then to an outdoors shop to get him a nifty waterproof. We also bought a second camelback for general family use. We then waved goodbye to John who went back to the house to do some revision and Charlotte, Joe and I set off up a mountain.

My idea had been to climb to Llyn Marchlyn Mawr (google it) and back in time to go for Tom. After an hour of uphill slog we came to the conclusion that this may have been a bit ambitious on day one. My gear was working really well. The merino wool base layer together with two fleeces. The new Deuter day sack was also great giving my back plenty of air. As a result there was no dripping sweat today. Progress.

Feet took a pounding though with walking on rock all the time. Was ok back on the road so again there is a bit of progress. If I push it a bit more each day this trip it should stand me in good stead for the coast to coast.

Peak elevation was 1,016 feet.

Had an ice cream from a van when we got back to llanberis and then made it in plenty of time to pick up Tom.

lots of picks and vids here


jentrea cottage 23 ffordd ty du llanberis

lasagne and chips (no pics)

No commentary today as spent 5 hours driving. Just a couple of vids – one this morning and on this evening. Now ensconced in jentrea cottage 23 ffordd ty du llanberis. Very comfortable thanks very much. pic is of a bottle of tomato ketchup kept upside down in the Heights Bar and Kitchen just down the road in Llanber (de). I had lasagne and chips. 3 out of 5 I’d say. Not bad. Just 3 out of 5.


Featuring Neil McRae in the second video

On the phone to Vodafone. At the end of Feb I signed up with them and cancelled the next day for reasons discussed in this previous post – nothing terrible. Just didn’t work out.

Unfortunately I’m now getting threatening letters from their accounts dept asking me to cough up almost £400 in cancellation charges. Their system has broken in my case. The latest threatening letter took 5 days to arrive and gave me 14 days to pay the balance.

I called them up. Their automatic answering system didn’t recognise the mobile number they had given me. I eventually got through but the guy said I was a business customer and I had called the consumer number – it was the number they gave me on the threatening letter.

Eventually I was passed on to their business types who said it looked as if there had been a human error made the last time I called and their system was expecting me to return my phone before agreeing to cancel. I had a sim only contract!

So now the refund process is beginning again and takes 3 working days. Bear in mind this is Easter Bank Holiday weekend so the three working days will take me to Wednesday at which point it will have been 13 days since the threatening letter was sent giving me 14 days to pay.

Talk about cutting it fine.

So this morning I tidied up a few work bits and am now focussed on prep for Llanberis. My new North Face Base Camp duffel bag (Black XL) has arrived! I have also procured a Deuter Futura 32 day bag from GoOutdoors. This was reduced from £110 to £99.99 and I had a 15% off discount voucher. However I searched for the best price and good old Millets were selling it for £77 (down from  £110) so, good to their word, GoOutdoors matched it and knocked a further 10% off. Result.

Also bought a compass, some blister plasters and another pair of socks. I’m pretty much ready for Snowdonia now though unsure as to how the mountain climbing is going to go 🙂

Took John to his sax lesson and had a beer at the Taphouse whilst waiting. Nice chat with Charley who is now a new friend on Facebook. She is in one of the videos below.

Tonight it’s Will Farr School for the 6th form reunion and prize giving. 

Macbook Pro, Anne’s Vans ad and Penicillin

steep hill

Together with trying out new boots

New left boot had its first tryout today walking back from Coops’ having left the Citroen there. Socks weren’t as thick as the ones I’m wearing on the walk. I wore different ones on the way back down and they were more comfortable. Time will tell if the fit is right.

Picked up some penicillin to sort out the tooth abcess. Hopefully. Still giving me gyp. Got home to discover that I had run out of google drive space for I have two accounts and have a TB of space on the other one. I transferred everything over yonks ago but lots of stuff still left on Spent most of the morning sorting that out. I now have no images on

This afternoon ordered a Macbook Pro with bells and whistles. Whilst I am an avowed Google fan the Chromebook has had a few unresponsive moments of late. This could be because it needs more RAM/performance. Although the Mac is expensive I’ve finally been convinced that it’s the right thing to do, still using the Google ecosystem. It will also allow me to properly edit movies. I’m not sure that the world is yet quite there for cloud based video editing.

This evening Tom and i set going an ad for our Anne’s Vans vw campervan rental site – 25% off if you order before the end of March. It’s costing a bob or two but you have to speculate to accumulate and there’s no point investing in the van without some corresponding investment in marketing. Tom’s experience at the BBC is proving to be very useful and he basically designed the ad. We shall see how we get on.

Tom is in the Isle of Man at the mo with dad. Good bit of bonding. He flies back on Thursday and is joining us in Llanberis on Friday.  Still a few bits and bobs to gather before the off and we need to sort out what we are doing about food, when but there is still time.

Pics from today’s walk – typical Lincoln sights plus a few miscellaneous extras. Used the Fitbit for the first time – currently registering 13,240 steps.

Up North again

alt berg

Durham bound

35 min swim this morning then home for a bacon sandwich. Could have done another 10 mins before the pool session finished but have a lot to do today so had things on my mind.

Arranged to pick up a prescription from the dentist tomorrow morning. No time today as off to Dirham to pick up Hannah. Before I go I have to book some tickets for Julian Clary gig in October for Anne. They go onsale at 10am so this bit of diary is just filling in some time before that happens.

Also paid the car insurance for the “new” Peugeot. Received a “payment overdue” letter on friday but I hadn’t noticed the first bill when it came in.

fitbit surgeJust before I set off a parcel delivery arrived. It was a Fitbit surge sent to me by Fitbit themseves to use on the Coast to Coast walk. Really good of them to do so and the device is already on my wrist acclimatising (I haven’t worn a watch for decades). I will report back on this.

The drive to Durham is a bit tedious. A few 50mph stretches. I only have two more trips to do with Hannah as she is now home for Easter with only one more term to go. Arrived at around 13.10, slightly delayed due to road works. Picked the girl up, waved goodbye to her mates and then stopped off at a garden centre for lunch – the pub we had chosen wasn’t open.

We then headed for Richmond and the Alt Berg shop to sort out my boots. Ended up buying a pair one size up. They gave me a substantial discount fair play. The lesson is that when purchasing boots in future I’ll have to go for a size 10 and wear two thick socks on my right foot (size 8). For the moment I have two different sizes of boot. At least it should get me through Snowdonia and then the coast to coast.

garden centre trolleys
garden centre trolleys

After we got home I popped out to GoOutdoors to buy another Berghaus fleece – last day of the sale for the specific fleece. I had one on the walk yesterday and was very impressed. Very good wicking properties. Got the last one and then headed to the Morning Star for a swift un before dinner.

Charlotte arrived today and we had a nice dinner (without Anne who is out at Craft Creations) before she and Joe themselves headed out to a pub quiz at the Widow Cullen’s Well pub.