Dolgellau Activity Weekend
My friend Dennis had organised an activity weekend not far from us just outside of Dolgellau. It was intended to be a fairly informal affair. Basically the call put out via Facebook was one of ‘we’re going camping here on these date and will be doing some stuff. What we’ll do will depend on the weather and how we feel but come along and join in, or come along and do your own thing.
A weekend for friends to get together and go biking, walking, white water kayaking then chill around the fire and catch up, make new friends and generally have a laugh.
Accommodation can be camping (tent or van), B&B, holiday cottage or bunkroom (6 beds per room and shared kitchen).
All prices are very reasonable and each sleeping arrangment is a few seconds from each other.
Please take a look at their website for further details and book yourselves in…I will NOT be handling any money, organising accommodation or arranging activities for anyone.
Please…Feel Free to Invite Others.
I of course was up for this and at first we thought that Anna and Morgan might come along too. Unfortunately Anna had to work and hasn’t been feeling up to such things lately anyway, and Morgan doesn’t seem to need too much of an excuse to not be ‘active’. So, in the end it was just me. As it’s only a 40 minute drive away I too was wondering if it was worth all of the pfaff of camping, especially as the forecast seemed to be getting wetter and wetter. I don’t mind camping in the rain, I just don’t like the drying everything out afterwards.
I decided in the end to pack my tent and camping gear but keep my options open by driving up on the Saturday morning and making a decision once I was there. I could camp if I felt like it or drive back and sleep at home and then drive up again for the Sunday.
I therefore met Dennis and a few others at Coed y Brenin on Saturday morning. Sophie and gone walking up Cadair Idris and we were all off for a mountain bike ride. We started out on the Minotaur Trail and it wasn’t long before it was clear that I was going to be ‘leading the ride’ I did of course wait for everyone at the end of each section but even on this easy, smooth route it was quite a wait at times. One of our group was out on a mountain bike for the first time though so just didn’t know what to expect.
With that simple route out of the way it was off onto the more challenging Dragonsback Route. I’ve done this a number of times and it’s not actually that difficult but it was still a bit of a shock to the system and to the confidence of our mountain-biking newbie! He stuck with it though and we gradually made our way around the route. We had hoped to stop at the cafÃ© halfway round for a rest and some coffee and cake but it was closed. We therefore missed out one loop instead taking a steep road climb to save some miles and some time as many in the group were now getting tired. We finished it off with some nice bits of singletrack and one more climb but missed out the final climb and singletrack once we’d crossed back over the river. Again, most people were quite tired by now and just wanted to get back.
The weather had been good though, everyone and everyone’s bikes were still in one piece and it looked as though we’d all had fun. Here’s a quick clip from one section of the ride.
Everyone else then headed back to the campsite but I felt as though I hadn’t really done much so decided to head off onto one of the many trail-runs that are now way-marked at Coed y Brenin. I only did the shortest one as I didn’t have a huge amount of time. It was good fun but over with a lot quicker than I expected.
A new plan and a night out
I then jumped in the car and headed off to find the campsite. On my way I saw Andrea running along the road. She lives nearby so I stopped for a chat and had soon been invited to sleep on their floor rather than in a tent. A new planned was hatched. I stopped off at the garage where Andreas husband Frank lives, told him of the plans and had a chat. Soon, Frank and Andrea were going to meet us in Dolgellau for dinner and drinks and then I’d go to their house. Frank had to be back at work at 7:30am which was just down the road from the campsite so he’d be able to drop me back there in the morning as well. Perfect. I wouldn’t have a wet tent to deal with (it was now raining). I’d still get to go out for dinner and drinks with everyone without having a drive home to factor in. I’d be back at the campsite in the morning. And, I’d get to see Frank and Andrea too who I hadn’t seen for a while.
So, that’s how the evening panned out. I met everyone at the campsite, had a drink there and then we walked into Dolgellau where we all had pie and mash for dinner. I managed to have the last piece of pudding too, a very nice strawberry cheesecake! We met Frank and Andrea there and all had a good evening in the pub. The others then headed back to the campsite and I went back to Frank and Andreas. I slept (not very well) on their floor and then headed back to the campsite at 7:30 in the morning – after coffee and breakfast at Frank and Andreas.
Walking in Barmouth
Sunday morning was very wet, and even wetter in the campsite. Despite the lack of sleep I was raring to go but no one really seemed keen to do anything too strenuous after what had for them been a hard day on Saturday. I therefore suggested a walk up a small hill behind Barmouth where there was a geocache I had been meaning to find for a while. Everyone seemd to think that was a good idea so I hekped them strike camp and we headed in convoy to Barmouth. According to the geocache description it might involve a little bit of scrambling but should afford good views too. That’s pretty much what it did. The sun was shining shining in Barmouth and there was a motor-bike race taking place on the sands. It wasn’t exactly peaceful due to the bikes roaring around the sandy track but it did mean that Barmouth was quite lively.
We soon made our way through the town and up onto the slopes. The noise of the bikes didn’t dissipate as we made our way higher and only finally abated once we summited and headed down the other side. The route did get a little steep in places and I think a few of our group did start to question the wisdom of letting me lead them once we left the proper paths behind – I do like to turn things into a bit of an adventure if I can. The geocache was found and logbook signed – along with the usual explanation of the finer points of geocaching for those who didn’t know much about it. We then made our way back to the track and down via the panorama walk and past Barmouth Slabs. As it’s name suggest it provided us with amazing views out over the Mawddach estuary.
Lunch was at Davy Jones Locker, complete with a hot chocolate and then we made it back to the cars and said our goodbyes just before the rain came. We then all headed off in our separate ways looking forward to the next such weekend. Good fun all round, good to meet some new people and catch up with old friends and some nice relaxing activities too.