Updated: Apr 29
“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
- John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
Wild Camping in Snowdonia
Coming from California to London, I was worried I’d be surrounded with skyscrapers and concrete for miles.
I can’t imagine how wrong I was, with wild “ponies” (a.k.a unicorns), 30-50 mph winds, mountains that names sound like dragons, to running through the rain at the top of mountains feeling more alive than ever.
To understand City Mountaineering and its trips, it’s important to talk about its founder and qualified Mountain Leader, Stuart Shipp.
Truly, Stuart’s main goal is to get people from the city to experience nature and the mountains. From changing his career in finance to a mountaineer, it is evident that his goal is to share his love of nature with others.
Wild, Wild Camping
The weekend wild camping in Snowdonia was a crazy adventure full of adventure and fun!
We left Friday night and drove through London traffic to our destination. We hiked out to a little spot to camp. We hiked out to the Carneddau range and camped next to the Lyyn Elgiau Reservoir.
The winds were crazy as we set up our tents in the middle of the night. If anyone’s ever set up a tent in the wind you know it takes a few people to get it done!
We set up three tents, two per person. Not soon after getting in, my tent poles snap in the fierce wind.
We had to promptly pack it up and make it three people per tent. I knew we were in for an adventure and the idea of “wild” camping would come true.
We hiked out after oatmeal and coffee (lots of coffee!) and passed many sheep bundled up from the wind.
The land was so green and lush and yet with the autumnal shift started to brown. We usually only think of leaves changing and yet to see the mountains change reminded me that we all shift with the darkening of days.
As we climbed higher and higher the winds pushed us around making us appear drunk, though lacking in the slurring words.
We passed an old plane crash and headed to our goal to the summit of Foel Grach.
When we arrived at the top there was an emergency Bothy that looked like the entrance to Narnia with even stronger winds than before.
We decided to hike down and just in time because out of nowhere rains started pouring down. We had to run down, but right before that we saw magical wild mountain ponies.
I could not believe how close we got to them and I’m still very confident that they were actually unicorns! Though I couldn’t see their horns… (Sadly!)
We stayed the evening taking shelter in a bothy, over-filled with people due to the rain. It was very cram-packed, but we met people of all ages from teenagers to fifties.
It was incredible to see people no matter their age out enjoying nature. We started a fire, ate dinner, and all talked as we dried our very wet clothes before camping outside.
We hiked out the next morning, with views of rainbows, making us question where the pot of gold was, but I think we knew the landscape was richer than gold.
The next spot we hiked was the mountain Y Garn. As we climbed higher and higher, the view went from pure, glorious sunshine to a darkening gray.
As we go to the top, clouds surrounded us and it started raining. What joyous release from the sky of the building tension as if it knew we were coming.
We began to run to the very top with the rain pouring down, but it made me feel more alive than I’ve felt in awhile.
The rain, like a shower, awakened us to the pure beauty of the world around us.
As we climbed down on the other side of the mountain it began to hail and I laughed thinking from wind, hail, rain, and sun, Wales knows how to show you “wild”.
We descended and crossed over a river on our way back down to drive back to London.
Overall, this trip was fantastic! Weather wise it was a little intense, but I liked the trip so much I’m going on as many trips as I can!
Sadly (for us, at least) Zoe is back enjoying the wilderness in California now... We miss you Zoe!
Want to join us on a wild camping weekend? (I can't guarantee the same wild conditions that Zoe experienced, but every trip is unique in its own way!)
- Wild Camping weekend in Brecon Beacons (Nathan - 31 Aug)
- Wild Camping weekend in Snowdonia (Dave - 07 Sept)
- Wild Camping long-weekend in The Cairngorms (Stu - 06 Oct)