The early morning of Friday started off with Sausages, tomatoes and hash browns then our journey started in Jedward’s (Jez) minibus. We set off to the starting point of the walk whilst partying to the music from Jez’s phone. Sydney, also known as blueberry, forgot her raincoat (which was blue also the same as her waterproof trousers) so she had to borrow another one which was bright red so now she was called strawberry which everyone called her from then on.
We began to walk to our first destination which was a bridge. We got given a map and we had to set the map to work out where we were as we didn’t have any help it was a self-led walk. After 4 minutes of walking we found the bridge and walked to the next clue which was a building which half of it was crumbled away after that it was a sign post. When we got to the sign post we met Jez and he had set up a boudoir for us to sit under for shelter. He then took us scrambling to the summit of a mountain and it was really windy, raining really hard and we were drenched. When we got half way we met long legs (Karl) and Hodge (Miss Hodgett) in an old sheep fold trying to keep out of the wind. We crossed over teams and we headed down a river still checking the map. One of the locations that we had to get to was the first car park which took about an hour to get to. Luckily we followed the map correctly so we didn’t end up in the middle of nowhere at any time. The only mistake we made was at the end where we walked too far and past where the last checkpoint was. As we walked down the road, which we didn’t realise we had walked to far, long legs and the Hodge came down in the minibus and instead of kindly letting us into the minibus, they made us turn round and walk back the same way we had just come. We eventually got onto Karl’s minibus with rubbish tunes but after 5 minutes of moaning he finally put on a decent song and turned it up loud.
When we got back to the centre we had to give in all of our equipment that we had borrowed and wax our boots to give in for the next people to come in. Also we had to start packing for the next day because we wouldn’t have time to in the morning due to cleaning our rooms. After that we could go and have showers and be ready for dinners at 5.45. After dinner we had activities as a group which involved watching an episode of outnumbered a quiz and a presentation of photos from KMC. We all were tired and lights out was at 11.00.
The drizzly dawn of North Wales confronted us as we shuffled out of the dorms to breakfast. Luckily it was potato waffle day which was scoffed quickly in the anticipation of today’s activity. We met up with our team to be informed of the daily activity. It turned out to be orienteering and gorge walking (the more exciting of the two). The day consisted of 2 orienteering courses, one around the centre and the other around the local area and town. Our equipment, in small quantity, only consisted of a map and answer sheet. Within a maximum of 20 minutes the first course was complete so we headed to the next location. The journey in the van was always made fun by the cool ones at the back of the bus (Sherlock and Watson). The thumping music made our enthusiasm reach the next level, the nicknames also helped.
After a short journey to the local town we hopped out and tried to locate ourselves. It took everyone about 5 minutes to complete this; however the group including Sherlock, Watson and Harry Ramsden took all of 20 minutes. We trekked down the nearby road to find points, that were labelled on our map. Our instructor, Jez, believed we had worked too much with the same people. So we were split into groups by Jez instead. Most of the groups completed this pretty speedily but two groups struggled to find last few, causing us to stay put underneath a fairly large tree.
The bus journey on the way back we were entertained with the ideas of Will, who wanted to pimp the van. He wanted a cargo net on the ceiling to hold our bags as well as a larish green exterior. Harry Ramsden gave an input by saying that we should have large speakers on every other seat. These ‘improvements’ were not likely to happen but a boy can dream.
When we returned the deliberation of the three options started to occur. They were:
Go To The Gorge And Be Miserable
Go To The Gorge And Be Happy
Sleep (Sherlock’s Idea)
All the team members voted for option 3 but we were out ruled by Jez, Hodge and Long Legs (Karl).
So we boarded the bus again and set off to the gorge. We later arrived and started walking towards the bottom of the water avalanche (a.k.a the gorge). We trudged up the rocks and shortly came to our first pool. This just so happened to be a sliding pool in which you slid of the rocks into the freezing water below. This just fuelled our adrenaline as we began our ascent.
About half an hour later we came to a cave which looked extremely daunting in the eyes of everyone. From a viewing platform above we watched half the group stumble through a cave and waterfall. The two halves then swapped over so the now soaked ones could also have a laugh as they watched people step through the so called washing machine. Not long after we arrived at the summit of the gorge which commenced our day of map reading and climbing a flowing river.
After a delicious full English breakfast, we went to the raindrops meeting area to find out today’s activities. Our team leader, Jez, made the decision that the group would go sea level traversing and after two mountain days back to back, the team was relieved with the news. We were advised to use blue IKEA bags because we would be getting extremely wet and would need a change of clothes, the soaking ones would be placed inside the bags to save the mini bus from the smell of wet clothes and seaweed. As we drove towards the destination we crossed a bridge to a small island named Anglesey. Finally we arrived to the desired beach that our task would take place, Cable Bay. The beach is called this because the first telecommunication line from Great Britain to the United States of America ran along the beach. The team started climbing the rocks that surrounded the beach, we also kept an eye out for any life in the rock pools and managed to spot a shrimp, sea anemone and other fish that names have slipped my mind.
After wading through some water and leaping and scrambling from rock to rock, we finally finished climbing to the top of a cliff in which we followed a public path back down to where the bus was for an early lunch. Frankie Ramsden accidentally selected salmon paste in his sandwich, this was one of three options. He took one whiff of his salmon paste roll and he knew he would not be eating it, it was quite amusing to the rest of the Raindrop group, Frankie the dare devil. After lunch was over it was harness on, cows’ tails on, helmets and buoyancy aids on. We trailed up a cliff path to where Jez had set up a sea level traversing route, just before we could see the task, Jez showed us a burial ground in which was built approximately 2500BC, the quickest history lesson ever. After Jez` lecture we made a descent down towards the start of the rope in which we could attach our cow tails onto the safety rope, this was here in order to aid if one of our feet were to slip and we fell. The rocks were unforgiving and sharp as well as being fairly slippery, luckily no one fell and got hurt. After we had conquered the sea level traverse we headed to Tyrolean traversing. This went down well with most of our team except from Sydney who struggled massively during the last leg of the traverse but she eventually made it. After Sidney’s epic campaign we all made it and you wouldn’t guess what happened next, we all jumped in including Miss Hodgett and Carl (one of our instructors) did a front flip. The water was unbearably cold but now we are here (including Sydney) in the warm and dry.
Waking up, not knowing where we were going, we struggle to the dining room to have breakfast and meet up with the rest of our group, the Raindrops.
Once we were told where we were going, to Pen yr Helgi Du (Hill of the Black Hound), we packed our bags, hopped onto the minibus, put on some tunes and set off for the mountain.
After a roughly 35-minute journey, we started our 2 hour trip to the peak of Pen yr Helgi Du. Our first obstacle was a 1 ½ mile long road leading up to a track which zig-zagged up the mountain, and when we got a mile up we stopped to wait for a few people to catch up and have a little spot of lunch.
We set off again and stopped by a running stream to fill up our water bottles, then headed off road up the mountain.
After stopping once again half way up and forcing Frankie to leave his giant piece of slate that he was determined to take right to the top of the mountain and having another snack, we started moving up again. Those at the front of the group with Jez and Carl started to talk about old films and TV shows while scrambling up to the ridge while those at the back just tried to keep up with the rest of us. (Sorry guys..)
Another break later we started to scramble up to the peak, with the people who were at the back last time at the front and vice versa. With no energy for funny conversations we just kept pushing on up the rocks.
Once we had finally conquered Pen yr Helgi Du, we stopped to admire the views and our success.
As everyone else started to prepare for the descent, Carl and Erin got bored and stacked up a tower of rocks everyone had brought up to the top and then, when they made it fall over by trying to stack one big rock on top of all the little ones like idiots, we made our way back down.
Our descent consisted of us walking down a horse poo ridden field and avoiding lots of mud puddles, eventually we managed to make it back down to civilisation.
We got back onto the minibus, blasted some sick tunes and made our way back to the centre.
Starring: Little Steps Little Steps and SHEEP!!!!!!!!
Up at the crack of dawn, this morning we had a hearty breakfast followed by a meeting to find out which groups we would be in. Before we left, we had a chat with our team (Raindrops) to introduce ourselves, not only to the instructor but to our team members as well. We then had a short ride in a minibus to the base of our mountain – Yr Aran.
Having established which mountain was Yr Aran, and preparing for what seemed like a gruelling trek, we set of towards the summit. After 45 minutes of walking, with little steps and spotting a manmade dam we decided to take a break. Here we decided we would have a quick snack and a sip of our drink for 5 minutes before starting again. This time our course took us to a steep hill scramble and some of our fellow team members were staring to slip behind and started to struggle on the really steep bits. Little steps, little steps our goal drawing microscopically nearer with each of our little steps, little steps.
After about half an hour, we were sick of our little steps, little steps and felt it was time for lunch. Part Two. The sequel. From there we could see the summit Yr Aran. Our goal was in sight.
Lunch was over. More work lay ahead. The little steps continued. The group started to feel the strain. Bed was very inventing now. Unfortunately, no one had put a bed on this mountain so we would have to continue our little steps, little steps. We were however, actually moving, in little steps, but we were moving. Moving towards to summit. “OOOh” we said “There is a sheep over there.” “BAAAAAAAA” said the sheep. “BAAAAAA” we said. But sheep gave us a death stare before running off. Was it something we said?
By this time we were near the peak. We dropped our bags and ran. Ran without little steps, little steps. Ran towards the summit. And then we were there. We had climbed Yr Aran. Then half walking, half sliding we made our way down the mountain.
We were at the bottom of the mountain. Already. 15 minutes later we arrived at a waterfall. It was beautiful.
The next 20 minutes were spent walking towards a village, the minibus and admiring the sheep. Over a hill, along a path and over the railway. We saw the minibus. We started sprinting towards the minibus. Like tortoise running through peanut butter.