For my birthday my friend Rachel treated me by taking both Adam and I away to Wales for a 4 days. It was amazing because I was able to cross not one but two bucket list items off!
1) Climb Snowdon
2) Ride the fastest zip wire in the world
The drive over to Wales took us about 4 hours, with a service station stop. Rachel had booked us the following AirBnb, situated in Bala, a small town located in the Snowdonia national park. Our Airbnb was perfectly toasty, with a log burning fire and a cosy bed. Despite it being August when we visited the weather was pretty poor so the toasty little cottage was perfect.
The village sat along Bala Lake, a huge body of water that we drove past several times but never really stopped. It may have been different if the weather had been nicer. The surroundings were so beautiful though and every drive was a dream.
We took advantage of our little cottage by having nights in cooking dinner in our little kitchen and playing board games late into the night. It was so perfectly simple and such a relaxing time.
‘Zip World’ has a number of sites, closely located to one another, and offers adventures such as zip wires, caverns, quarry tours, treetop adventure courses and more. We visited two sites, the first being Bounce Below.
Bounce Below is a number of springy nets, underground in some disused mine shafts. It cost £25 each, for an hour of bouncing. I didn’t take any photos as you can’t take in loose objects, in case they fall through a net. It was surprisingly tiring bouncing around, it felt like a great workout!
We also went on Velocity 2, the fastest zip wire in the world. Prices for this vary between £69-£85, depending on what day you visit. It includes two zip wires, a smaller one and then you get a truck up to the top line, which is 1555 metres long, allowing you to travel over 100 miles per hour.
As I said before the weather was far from perfect when I went and when we went up to the top wire we were shrouded in cloud. It didn’t detract from the experience though, as we left the station and the speed gathered the cloud parted and we saw a beautiful blue lake below us. It was a really amazing experience and something I’m so glad we got to do.
Every holiday that Adam and I go on I always suggest we climb a hill/ tower/ mountain only to realise 5 minutes in that I’m incredibly unfit and can’t handle any incline so why climbing Snowdon was on my list I’ll never know!
We decided to climb the Snowdon Ranger path, described as ‘an easy path for all abilities’. You start at the Llyn Cwellyn car park, near the youth hostel, next to a rather stunning lake. The walk started off with quite a bit of incline straight off the bat and just 10 minutes in I found myself huffing and puffing and wondering what I’d got myself into. The plethora of sheep spotting the path did cheer me up though!
It took us 3.5 hours to reach the summit, which was the average time according to online information and it was so tough. After the initial incline we walked through a wet slate path that was slippery underfoot and then we spent about an hour walking through low cloud, unable to see anything but 2 foot in front of us. It was this point that I faced the biggest struggle, with no more beautiful scenery and no sense of how far we had to go I started to panic a bit.
Despite being the only one with proper climbing shoes I’d got a painful blister and I’d burnt off that morning’s breakfast, leaving my energy levels totally depleted. We had bananas and water on us but the path became harder to manoeuvre, with the path being replaced with rocks we had to climb up. Whilst helping me up one of the rocks Adam accidentally elbowed me in the face and that was it, I sat and cried for about 10 minutes.
We soon continued, the clouds parted and I couldn’t believe it, we were at the summit. We’d hardly seen a single person on our whole hike and suddenly the top was swarming with people, I felt delusional I was so happy.
We made our way to the restaurant where we got hot drinks, food and had a toilet break. I was just so relieved to have made it. After stopping for about an hour we made our way back down, on the same path. It took us 2.5 hours and was pretty tough on the knees but I kept my smile the whole time. Despite how difficult I found it I was so pleased that I’ve done it and been able to tick that off my bucket list!
Whilst staying in Bala we mostly ate at our AirBnB but we did venture out for an amazing dinner at Plas Yn Dre, a cosy pub selling beautiful dishes, approximately £14 for a main meal. Everyone around the table really enjoyed their dinner.
We also stopped for a quick lunchtime bite at Ty Coffi, which served some irresistible looking cakes that we couldn’t resist getting a slice of.
We had a really lovely time in Snowdonia and Wales is certainly somewhere I hope to be able to visit a bit more in the future!