It was time for the next trip. This time we were renting a campervan from Wicked Campers and taking it on a road trip around the UK.
We’d first come across Wicked Campers when we were touring Australia. Their campervan’s stood out because each was sprayed with its own theme and catchphrases. Ours was no different. Spayed a mixture of pink, orange, purple and blue with a big ginger cat on the side, our campervan was called ‘Onion Pussy’. It was certainly a head turner! This was going to be our home for the next 17 nights! It housed a small double bed in the back which doubled as a seating area and table during the day. At the rear of the van was a small kitchen which consisted of a sink and a preparation area. It had all we needed – including electric sliding doors!
After a quick lesson on where everything was and how it all worked, we hit the road, waving goodbye to London.
We were headed for Snowdonia National Park in Wales, where we would be setting up camp at Beddgelert Caravanning and Camp Site. The drive there was a smooth one. We hit very little traffic and followed the motorway all the way to Wales. Once we crossed the Welsh border the landscape changed and we were suddenly surrounded by beautiful green sweeping hills, filled with sheep.
We went through some small little villages and found a Tesco’s where we stocked up on food for the next few days. Fifteen minutes later, after going down a long winding road that ran parallel to a rocky stream we found ourselves at our campsite. We parked up and made our way into reception where we were met by Dave Gorman. I noticed his name badge immediately and had to ask if he’d been contacted by the Dave Gorman when he was doing a documentary to find all the Dave Gorman’s in the world. To my delight, he said he had but he and his wife were away at the time and didn’t get the chance to go to the big gathering that was organised for all the Dave Gorman’s. He also said he used to think it was quite a rare name!
The campsite was a bit of a free for all so we could just pick whatever spot took our fancy. We were meeting Barry’s Auntie Chris, his cousin Gary and his girlfriend Triin, who Dave told us had already arrived. So, he pointed us in their direction. As we drove through the wooded area and over a little wooden bridge, we were met by Chris and Gary frantically waving their arms around. It was a welcomed sight after a long drive, made even better when Chris said she had dinner all ready!
We sat and ate dinner, sunk a few beers until the night crawled in and just as 10:30 hit and we took ourselves off to bed, the rain set in and boy did it come down. We spent the night listening to the downpour hammer onto Onion Pussy’s roof.
Beddgelert to Rhyd Ddu Walk
By the next morning, the rain still hadn’t let up. We had planned to hike up Snowdon, but with the rain as heavy as it was, there would be no chance of that happening. Instead, we waited it out for a while by playing a few games of Jenga and cards before heading off to the trusty Tesco’s to get some supplies for dinner along with some wellies and waterproof trousers from Millets. We were definitely going to need them if the weather was going to continue this way.
Fortunately, by about 3:30, the rain slowed and we decided to put our wellies to good use and go for a walk. There were a few trails signposted around the campsite that you could take to the neighbouring towns, so we started off following one of these.
As we left the campsite we followed the path alongside the stream. Due to all the heavy rain from the last 18 hours, the stream was now running rapidly. It was thundering down, crashing over rocks and rising level to the river banks. It was fascinating to watch. We walked for about 5km and the area was beautiful. The paths were lined with the bright pink petals of foxgloves and an abundance of different flowers – hydrangeas, thistles, roses, azaleas. The heavy rain had created little streams that ran out of the bushes and alongside the pathway. We could’ve walked a lot further to reach the nearby town, but our stomachs were starting to rumble so we agreed it was time to turn back and get some dinner cooking.
Fortunately, the weather stayed dry so we sat outside and tucked into Chris’s chicken curry. Unfortunately, there were lots of little flies that also wanted to join our party and decided to buzz all around us. We tried to ward them off by purchasing citronella candles from the campsite shop and dotting them all around us. These along with some mosquito spray that we doused ourselves and our chairs in, managed to keep the majority of them at bay.
That night the rain stayed away and we got a good night’s sleep, which was much needed as the following morning we were up at 8, ready to go and hike the UK’s second highest mountain – Snowdon! Click here to see how we fared in this challenge!
The Fisherman’s Path
Our last full day in Wales, was also Barry’s birthday and thankfully the sun decided to shine and the rain didn’t reappear. It was time for Chris, Gary and Triin to head home, so we waved them off then took the short drive to Beddgelert. We found a hotel car park where we could leave the van for £2.50, packed a bag and headed to the start of the Fisherman’s Path which ran alongside the River Glaslyn. The river was a lot lower and calmer than what it had been the last few days due to the rain finally stopping. Large rocks were now exposed which we hadn’t seen at all previously.
As per the usual Welsh scenery, we found ourselves surrounded by stunning views of lush green mountains, littered with sheep. The village of Beddgelert took its name from Gelert who was the faithful dog of Prince Llewelyn. Whilst on the walk, we passed a little stone church that homed the dog’s grave. The story of Gelert is a sad one. The Prince once left Gelert to look after his baby, but when he returned the baby was missing and Gelert was stained with blood. Fearing the worst, the Prince killed Gelert. Soon after he heard crying and found the baby alive next to the body of a wolf. Gelert had obviously killed the wolf to protect his master’s child. Prince Llywelyn was heartbroken.
Sometimes the pathway was set well back from the river, surrounded by trees and bushes, at other points, it was right on the edge of the cliff face jutting out over the river. There was one particular point where the path really narrowed as it turned a corner and there were handles to hold onto as you pulled yourself around the skinny path. It was a beautifully scenic walk, but when we came to the point where the path turned away from the riverside and went into the woods, we decided to turn back. We were getting hungry and had our eye on a little tea shop in the village that did cream tea.
We walked for just under 4 miles. Here is a map of the route we took.
Cream Tea In Beddgelert
Once we’d found our way back along the path into the village centre we headed for Beddgelert’s Bistro & Antiques. Here we ordered our cream tea. We got a large pot of tea that served about 8 cups, along with a scone with clotted cream and jam and a piece of Bara Brith – a traditional Welsh fruit cake. It was delicious.
Bellies full, we headed back to our campsite where we went for one last walk around the park before we tucked into some homemade fajitas and a bottle of beer. It was to be an early night as we would be embarking on an 8-hour journey up to Scotland the following the morning!