We’ve all got that idea in our minds prior to going on an overnight camp whether it’s your first time or if you’re a seasoned veteran camper. You know when you want the perfect weather window, no wind, dry not too wrm/cold, great views and basically an overnight trip that will stay in your memory for eternity. Well on this trip I ticked all those boxes and hit many more.
With a Bank Holiday weekend falling at the end of August in the UK means an extra day to the weekend, and luckily we had perfect weather (box ticked). I had a plan of riding a circular route I’ve done a few times before and bivvying at the summit of one of the mountains of Snowdonia, the 2860 foot Moel Siabod. I knew what the route entailed, some double track through the forestry, an old highway which originated way back in the 13th century as it was a route to and from a small fortification, a steep hike a bike section and then the mountain itself with a broad grassy ridge leading to the summit followed by a tricky descent.
As it was a circular route the summit was always in view and with some evening cloud swirling about a night on the summit grew ever more unlikely.
In the back of my mind I knew of a good spot that I had used 8 years previously so I kept that thought simmering as I made steady progress out of the forest. My bike of choice on this trip was the Salsa Bucksaw, not the ideal bikepacking bike but I only had a small dry bag strapped to the bars which contained my bivvy bag, pump, pillow, airbed and a few other bits and bobs. As I knew of the steep hike a bike section to come my thinking was it will be easier to push the Bucksaw up unlaiden rather than a fully loaded Mukluk. In my backpack was the sleeping bag, some dry clothes (as I knew I’d get a bit sweaty due to the hike a bike), a small foldable wood burner and food.
I passed the historic fortification and headed into the forestry again making my way up to a lovely twin lake, Llyn Diwaunydd which translates to The Endless Lake. Its only about a kilometer long so its more likely to mean the bottomless lake, possibly? My route took me alongside it so I pedalled where I could but eventually I had to push through the waist high grass to the bottom of the steep section. After pushing up there 5 times previously I knew the effort would be worth it as there’s a great view from the top (box ticked). I wasn’t wrong, I reached the top just as the sun was setting behind Wales’s highest mountain, Snowdon.
After a quick change into some dry clothes, the wind died down and the temperature was just right, not too warm and not too cold (box ticked).
There was some low cloud/mist floating about and lingering in the valleys but thankfully it never made it to my bivvy spot.
After cooking my tea of minted lamb steaks, potato’s and green beans I sat back and enjoyed the glow of the post sunset sky and later the million star TV, what a night!
I had a very good sleep, only waking a couple of times. The sunrise was at 6:10 and thankfully I woke up at 5am. The view that greeted me was one of the best I had seen during a camp. A cloudless pre dawn glow with a full on cloud inversion in the valley below. With all that right before me I couldn’t go back to sleep, I had to brew up and soak it all in.
There was some dew on top of the bag but that soon went after a shake and kit was then packed away ready for the climb up to the summit.
There was no one around, just me and the bike among all this wonderful scenery of North Wales. The climb up soon warmed up as the sun rose straight in front of me which blinded me hiding the distance to go.
Once at the summit I could stop and take in more splendor of the surrounding area. The views were awesome and reminded me why I love bikepacking so much.
As the weather was so nice I decided to stay a little longer before the descent and have a second breakfast. It’s not every day you get to eat your porridge with stunning views.
As I packed the gear away I got myself ready for the descent I knew this was a ‘classic’ and will stay in my memory for eternity (box ticked).
So go an tick some boxes guys…..