It’s been quite strange times recently with the weather.
The Indian Spring that we seem to have (ok, so I know it’s an Indian Summer in Autumn, but who can tell me what the Spring equivalent is?), brings out false joy and hope in all of us as far as I can tell.
To be honest, I love running to work (almost) as much in the winter as I do in warmer times. So getting out of bed isn’t quite as easy, but the feeling of battling up the Kings Road, around Hyde Park, through St James’s, around Soho with the rain whipping my face and dodging the occasional splash from merciless bus or taxi drivers just adds a frisson of excitement. Well it gets me to work that bit quicker, and the feeling of the warm shower at my local-to-work gym is all the better.
But the better weather gets me planning all sorts of excitement and trips that have hibernated within me for the last half of a year. Running to work in London has its very own pleasures, but most city dwellers will tell you it’s great to get out and see the country. Smell the fresh air. Contemplate the fauna. And just reflect on a slower pace of life. So with the weather having been so kind over the last month or so, I’d taken it upon myself to diarise a backpacking and camping trip through Snowdonia. Hmmm. Madness this might be, but come on it’s been north of 21c over the last few weeks. Positively balmy. And time to hit the great outdoors!
I’ve got a great big inner nerd that loves camping and maps and fresh air and feeling my way around the countryside. My fave website for indulging this inner nerd is this great blog V&G backpacking and I’m currently working my way through those to establish which 3 day route is going to be my choice for the weekend. But what I didn’t count on was Jack Frost heading this way again from Siberia and bringing conditions that Rannulph Fiennes might cock a snook at.
But I’ll tough it out
Off to Shrewsbury I head this Thursday for a camping stop off before heading to deepest darkest Wales. Over the years I’ve looked to book campsites at a moment’s notice and know exactly how difficult it can be for the best of them at short notice. But, bingo, yesterday I hit jackpot first call and have a super bohemian campsite sorted out for a night next to a charming country pub. And apparently this has a log fire and EVERYTHING!. Very exciting for the typical Londoner! But then checking the weather forecast it might come as no surprise that space is available with the weather forecast set to be -4c. Great.
Then its very real adventure ahead of me. 40 miles through Snowdonia with my wits, my compass, a laminated OS extract and some canvass to keep any pish and wind off me. Oh, and a little hip flask to help with numb the pain of annoying rocks poking through my sleeping mat into my ribs. No campsite, no pub, nothing for miles but sheep and countryside as I wild camp my way through Snowdonia’s peaks. But I’ll love this. I will hardly see a soul for 3 days. I’ll clean my London lungs in a way that even running to work in the morning can’t do. My skin will lose it’s London veneer and hopefully take on a ruddy country glow. And above that, I’ll be checking into a very fine Welsh country establishment on the Sunday night to clean the torso after successive nights of backpacking and camping under the stars. And with a satisfied glow about the fireplace.
But I’ll be back on Monday and readying my kit for running to work and battling with the city traffic on Tuesday morning. But in the meantime I’ll have had my own adventure and hiked my way through some terrain that might not resemble Soho on a Tuesday morning, but ably assisted by the runs to work and the very good fitness it brings