Adventures in North Wales

Ben and me are back from our adventures in North Wales. We left Thursday afternoon and after around five hours of driving we got to Llandudno to see my grandparents.

I don’t know about you but I get so bored on car journeys. I need lots of drinks, lots of snacks and a few stops to stretch my legs and empty my tiny bladder.

Car snacks Essential snacks!

Anyway, we got there safely and had a lovely meal before heading to bed as it was quite late by this point.

My granddad is a very experienced mountain climber, mountain guide and seemingly all things outdoorsy. They both regularly still go hiking, walking and mountain biking. Considering my granddad is in his 80s this is amazing! This was not going to be relaxing weekend and that was fine by us.

The next day we headed out for a walk in Conwy.

image We started in Dwygyfylchi and walked over a rather large hill…it was great fun!

Conwy walk The views were fantastic. And it felt great to be outside in the fresh air on a beautiful day. My granddad knows so much about the area and about walking we were just like sponges trying to learn as much as possible.

Conwy Walk 2

We walked from there back home and did a total of over seven miles. Not too shabby at all! We had a lovely lunch of salad with ham, cheese and avocados and then headed out for a walk along the Llandudno promenade.

Llandudno promenade We had a mosey around the pier where there were all your usual sorts of British seaside bits and bobs, like trinket shops and arcades. We also found a great old fashioned sweet shop where we bought some chocolate honeycomb and buttered popcorn flavoured lollies (think I got one piece of the chocolate honeycomb before Ben ate the lot!).

Then we met up with my grandparents again and had a little spot of tea and cake.

Cake in Llandudno Well it wouldn’t be a proper trip without cake after all! I enjoyed carrot cake whilst everyone else had lemon sponge. It was delicious.

The next day we got up early and headed out to walk up Snowden. It was only about 30 or so minutes from my grandparent’s which is just amazing. To live so close to such beauty is brilliant. Ben and me were green with envy.

Snowden walk Ben and me headed off with a challenge set in our mind. We wanted to get to the summit in under two hours. My grandparents were taking a more leisurely walk and the idea was that we’d walk up and then walk down and meet them wherever they were on the path.

Snowden walk 2 As you can imagine the views were incredible. I was just awestruck the whole time. Because we’d started quite early (just before 9am) it actually wasn’t that busy at all. Though we did see quite a few runners running down. I was both amazed and shocked. No doubt if I’d try doing this I’d injure myself stupid. Speaking of injuries, my hip is much better! I ran Thursday morning before we left and it felt niggly but not too bad. I actually think all the walking helped strengthen it because it just felt better and better as the days went on. Yipee!

Snowen walk 3 Well we made it to the summit in 1:51.

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The last mile was really tough. Finding good footing, the steep gradient and just maintaining a good pace. We were over the moon to beat our target though.

Snowden summit And what views! It was fantastic.

After reaching the summit and admiring the view, we headed to get a hot drink and something to nibble in the cafe (yes, there’s a cafe at the top!)

IMG_6839 Ben had a flapjack and a hot chocolate while I had a cappuccino and two apples (but of course). Can’t beat eating an apple in such a beautiful place with the one you love.

Then we headed back down. Obviously downhill was miles easier and we got to the bottom in 1:30. Piece of cake! We met up with my grandparents and then enjoyed a little picnic of smoked salmon sandwiches and fruit. Perfect!

Then we took a little drive along the Snowdonia marathon. This is definitely one for the bucket list. But when they say undulating, they truly mean undulating. There were a crazy amount of slow inclines, sharp hills and long steady up-hills. One for a couple of years time I think!

Snowdonia marathon This is part of the route towards the end. Fantastic views but a punishing course.

That evening we enjoyed a very nice Indian for dinner. We’re are huge Indian fans so this was just perfect. A nice end to a great day.

The next day Ben and me ambitiously decided to go for a run. My hip felt pretty damn good (while the rest of me felt fairly shattered). We ran together and decided to keep a fairly easy pace. We ran down to the Llandudno promenade. It was so warm, even before 9am. We stupidly didn’t take water and were devastated when we found a water fountain on the prom that was broken.

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We actually struggled quite a lot on this run. Both our legs felt so heavy and tired and we were very hot and thirsty. Also, I haven’t run properly for almost two weeks and depressingly my running fitness has once again gone down. I can’t tell you how much this really frustrates me. I could whine on about it but I’ll spare you 😉

We finished on a sprint because my grandparents live on a hill and we decided to just go for it (as you do). So we were shattered at the end.

For our last adventure my grandparents took us to the Great Orme for another walk. Ben and me have absolutely fallen in love with hiking and walking and just want to keep at it and tackle new challenges. But we realise how very inexperienced we are in terms of map reading, navigation and just general knowledge. My granddad offered to give us a quick map reading 101 on this walk. He printed us out some maps and guided us along the walk, often stopping to ask us questions and give us advice.

Map reading on the Great OrmeBen showing off his map reading skills

image It was brilliant! You can really tell he was a guide and a teacher because he was very patient with us and explained things really well. Great Orme Walk1It was just under 4 miles and we walked for about an hour and a half. It was great. I felt afterwards a lot more comfortable with map reading, though I must say I think I have a fair bit to learn! So this is our challenge at home now, to get out to places like the New Forest and local walks and try some map reading of our own. Maybe this sounds boring, but we think it’s fantastic. We can’t wait to be able to do bigger mountains and other challenges but we need to be prepared first.

We had such a great time in North Wales and hope to come back soon. My grandparents are just brilliant – we hope to be as active as them at their age. It really is quite inspiring. It just shows that growing old doesn’t mean your life ending or having to become inactive. Use it or lose it. They have a great quote that they bare in mind all the time: make the days count, don’t count the days.

Have you been to North Wales before?

Are you a fan of walking, hiking or mountaineering?

How do you cope on long car journeys? For me it’s having lots of do (podcasts, books, magazines) and lots of snacks (sometimes healthy, sometimes not…).

Who is your fitness inspiration?

17 thoughts on “Adventures in North Wales

  1. I grew up on Anglesey so reading this post put a massive smile on my face as I know all of the places you mention – the sweet shop is cool! I’m so glad you had a good time and enjoyed your trip to North Wales and up Snowdon – that’s my favourite mountain in Snowdonia and I have lots of fond memories of climbing it weekly with my Dad, we used to walk up and run down – one reason why my knees are now destroyed at 28! There is also an annual race up Snowdon – perhaps another for your bucket list?

  2. Wow this is so awesome!! Your grandparents sound so awesome and it’s great that they are in such good health. When Fabio and hiked along the Amalfi Coast in Italy there were a few runners going up or coming down and I was so terrified for them. It was so steep and slippery I had trouble WALKING up the path, and could never imagine running up it.

  3. On our long car journeys in the USA the radio 5 film podcast was what got us through long car journeys, plus a few snacks, we became fans of pb crackers!
    Glad you had such a wonderful time, the views are stunning. I like walking, and hiking, but not really steep drops (I don’t mind a steep path if there is not a drop on either side as I am worried about falling off mountains)- but I am also terrible at map reading! I have not been to north Wales, but it looks similar to the lake district.

  4. I love going and exploring somewhere new!
    We went up Snowdon when I was about 7-8 years old, but my parents sensibly took the train with two young kids in tow and we walked the final bit to the summit! I need to do this with Dan though and walk it, not train it!
    How great that your Grandad could give you a map reading course. I need to practice this, as lots of the ultras I like the look of expect you to be a pro and I can’t say I’m particularly confident at my skills… :S
    Mary recently posted…A day in the lifeMy Profile

    • We’re very lucky that we have such good guides (my grandparents) as well that know the area so well and have a lot of experience with mountaineering and map reading etc. I’d love to go to Chester for the day as well – I’ve herd it’s a lovely place.

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