Sunday, June 17, 2018

Zero Waste Microadventure- bivvying in Snowdonia




If you are a faffer like me, it may just happen that your weekend adventures can sometimes start late in the evenings in what would others consider halfway through the weekend. Because when you wake up on Saturday morning, well, you have breakfast first, then coffee, then check the weather forecast, go to the shop, finish packing, do the dishes etc etc and by the time you are ready to set off at 12, you suddenly become very aware that it is still 4 hour drive to North Wales. But you know what? Weekend adventures don't always have to start at 4 am. You haven't missed the boat if you are not on your way by 8 am. It doesn't matter that it is 4:30 pm when you start walking towards the hills. There are adventures to be had in even the shortest time possible.


                                                Adventure is a state of mind! 



One way of maximizing your time is by wild camping or bivvying. Because if you are a prolific wild camper, you are not worried about being benighted, instead, you wait for the sunset. You want to time your arrival to your destination just before it gets dark. So whatever it is that your ''faff'' looks like, perhaps you have kids or dogs to look after or weekly shopping to get done, or your job is really demanding and you need a little bit of time to get yourself back together before you set off, you can still have an awesome weekend away when you incorporate wild camping or bivying into your micro adventure. In this case my adventure incorporated bivying on Snowdon.




                                                 Morning views over Y Lliwedd


As 2018 for me seems to be the year of North Wales, my latest microadventure was once again a few hours drive away. I am learning how to drive, so instead of 4 lessons back to back I kicked off the weekend with the drive from Sheffield to North Wales. I was waiting to do this once I passed my test but as off lately I am a big fan of doing things NOW as opposed to leaving things to the future. Because time is NOW and the future is far away so seizing the moment is definitely the way to go!



                                     ''Queenie''- the Micra - the perfect adventure vehicle :)



I have been up Snowdon before via Crib Goch but there are other paths leading to the top which don't involved the main trodden Pyg Track or Miners Track. The Watkin Path is supposedly one of the most scenic and it has the added benefit of the incredible waterfalls along the way.


                                         Watkin path follows the waterfalls for a short section

It is an absolute must to stop for a dip. The water is so clear and there are so many pools as you walk up that you will be paralysed with choice and you will struggle to choose which one you want to jump into!

    The water is crystal clear and I would say that it is a total must to have a dip in this place!

The great thing about walking up this late in the evening is that there are no people around. By 6 pm the majority of walkers will be heading over to the pub for their much deserved pub dinner and so as you are walking up, you are starting the feel the excitement of having the place to yourself - something which is not that common with Snowdon!

If you are keen to enjoy a more solitary experience, the Watkins path is better option than other well trodden paths like Pyg or Miners tracks. 


We got to the summit just after 10 pm. We missed the sunset by about 30 minutes but it was still light and the top was bathed in the afterglow of the sun disappearing over the horizon.




                                            The summit of Snowdon in the sunset 



And then- bivvy time! As it was dark, we were planning to just find the first suitable spot.



                  Setting your bivvy is a lot easier in the dark than putting your tent up



We found a flat section enough to squeeze two sleeping bags side by side and soon enough the beer was open, tea was poured and the pan was was sizzling with some pre made chicken curry. Deep breath. This is why we are here.




I am a big fan of bringing cooked dinner in my reusable containers for the first night- it saves cooking and only takes a few minutes to heat up 



The feeling of being alone on the hills, overlooking the valley with street lights in the distance creates this instant feeling of calmness. And detachment from everything. Although, there is 4G on top of Snowdon so you really are not far away from the world. But in the moment, when you tuck yourself into your sleeping bag, for all you know, you are million miles away.

                                                    Oblivious to the world

Waking up in the morning with the sun on your face at 6 am is a lot better than the dreaded alarm on your phone on Monday morning.

                                       Morning mist and view over Y Lliwedd

In a busy place like this, even this early, you will start to see first walkers making their way to the top point.


                                        First- cup of tea. Only then everything else



The right thing to do here is to pack up as soon as you wake up (brew first thought) and you can be back in the car by 12 and back home wherever that may be, for dinner.



                                                                           Home time


Not bad for a quick overnight micro adventure in my opinion? Yes there is time and place for epic weekend adventures, but sometimes all you need to feel reset is a bivvy bag, some pre prepared food and a flask of tea. Sorted!




                                                                        Happy and reset 


Zero Waste



               My usual set up on pretty much every weekend adventure



With Zero Waste being a firm part of my life, it didn't cost any extra effort to not produce any trash what so ever. As always, the key for this is preparation. I brought food in my stainless steel tiffin for dinner. I also took breakfast and lunches (omelette and pork pie) and we packed lose tea and coffee for in the morning. I never leave anywhere without a flask either. Any organic waste was taken back down in the tiffin and emptied at home. So once again, there was no landfillable trash produced in the process of having this adventure! 

Equipment: 



These are items from my usual set up which all work really well either when I am camping or bivvying. 

1. Bivvy bag 
3. Roll Mat  
4. Head torch 
 6. Map, compass and waterproof case

And hiking equipment like walking boots and waterproofs, because you are in the hills after all and regardless of the forecast, you need to be prepared for any eventuality. 

 The weather can turn in very quickly- always be prepared with warm and waterproof clothing 

If you decide to bivvy anywhere, make sure that you do it responsibly. Leave no trace. Respect the place. And enjoy the experience! 









































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