Weekend Trip to Wales

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Time to get a little bit of London air out of my lungs with a weekend trip out to Wales. I had to catch the EastMidlands Train to meet up with my friend Lil that would be driving us the rest of the way. It was a little bit scary being on the highway on the left side of the road and having  roundabout just in the middle of a highway but the scenery was amazing.

We went ahead and took the toll road instead of driving through Birmingham since it was Friday and lunch time. As you can imagine, traffic is horrible at that time. But the rest of the journey was breathtaking. I missed taking a picture of the Welcome to Wales sign but you didn’t miss that you were in Wales with all the signs now in Welsh. Talk about a pretty hard language to learn but we were on a mission.

We were going to climb Snowden. The odds were against us from the start. Apparently the Snowden Marathon was going on so part of the road was closed to get to the path. Then the rain came plus add some gail force winds at about 40 degree weather and it was like the mountain was saying go back to the Bed and Breakfast.

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But we carried on. Even one local told us we were crazy for going up the mountain, however we took the easy walking path that takes about 7 hours round trip and is 10 miles. The first half was a little wet with the rain coming down on us but it was still amazing to walk along with sheep and small horses. Halfway up there is a little cafe that only takes cash and you can check in on your phone since there is still service.

After a 20 minute break it was time to now hit the tougher part of the journey. Not going to lie, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. But the people that are coming down from the summit give words of encouragement as you pass them and even times. Now the times they give is based on coming down not going up so be prepared to double that time to get an actually estimate of how much time you have.

The wind tends to pick up at you get up in elevation so get your mittens, hats and scarves out. Soon, you see a sign saying summit and an arrow and your hope of making it through is renewed! And then it happens. You see the dial from below and let out a pretty bad curse word because to get there, you have to climb some narrow rock steps and your legs are on fire and you just don’t know if you will physically make it.

Your this far away from summiting a mountain that people use to train for Everest as well as being the highest peak in England. You find a couple of M&Ms for that little boast and you make it up to the top.

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All that we can see at this point is fog. There was no visibility! However there is a gift shop. Yes there is a gift shop. So we stopped for a hot cup of tea and to buy a shirt that we climbed Snowden. Then it hits me. We have to climb down. Not going to lie there was a tear shed at this point. So after a 30 minute break we started the journey down. Now this is where I can say the weather was playing with our mental capabilities but we needed to insert the hand warmers in the gloves because we have lost all feeling in out fingers. Rather than do this inside in the nice warm building we completed that process outside in the freezing gail force winds. I was able to get my package open but Lil was a little frustrated and tried to bite into her’s. That did not work. I’m pretty sure I heard her scream in frustration until I was able to get it open and into the gloves. Those were the life savers and well worth the 2£ for them.

The journey down was a lot easier and we were able to get better pictures when the weather cleared out later in the day. A couple words of advice if you think you can climb a mountain. Be prepared! Take the easy path unless you have climbed mountains in the past. People have lost their lives by being unprepared or untrained. I work out 6 days a week and run every day and I struggled with the easy path. It’s the incline that will get you.

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Now there is an option to buy a train ticket to take you up to the top and back down, so you can still summit the mountain no matter your level of abilities. It depends on what you are up for or able to do. After, we headed back for dinner. Now, for such a small town in the mountain, you apparently need reservations for dinner so try to pre plan that portion because we didn’t and almost ended up buying food from the gas station before we found a place.

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The next day we headed up to Conway to visit the castle. Which is a proper castle! I’ve been to Buckingham and Windsor but there is something about visiting what you picture a castle to be from medical times with the stone and dungeon. Tickets weren’t that bad and we had a great opportunity of visiting the food festival that was going along in town.

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Not going to lie I bought a lot of cheese again. I tend to purchase cheese like it may never be in the grocery store again. We left a little early since I had a train to catch back into town and wanted to take the super scenic route of back roads and small towns. It’s truly how I pictured England to be. I know that London has so much to offer and most people tend to just stay in the city and visit the museums and main attractions but England is so much more than that. Get to the country and try to find the overpass that is just for cows, get a picture of a Welcome to England sign, or even climb up towards heaven where the air is fresh (yet cold).

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