DAY #1: London – Glasgow to Liverpool
Despite our plan to go to Ireland had to be dropped because of the ferry to Dublin was way too expensive, we changed our deal to Wales instead. I have never been to Wales, I got overly excited, I couldn’t sleep well a night before, I got so nervous and packed my bag in frenzy just two hours before the bus leaving the station. We set to meet halfway: Liverpool. We started the trip on Monday afternoon and went straight to Caernarfon, in the North of Wales.
After a quite long drive, easy and decent dinner at the local pub, each of us then buried ourselves in the bed and saving energy for the next day’s goal: Summit Mount Snowdon.
DAY #2: Snowdonia National Park
Any days before, we were thinking to summit Mount Snowdon by the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a steam locomotive that could take us to the highest peak in Wales with less effort. We notice the view is stunning and the price is doable. But then, after we checked how hard and how long the hiking track to reach on top, we settled to just hike the mountain since we have plenty of time. We want a challenge! On average, we aim to finish the hike in 6 hours in total up and down.
We started the day at 8 a.m. We drove to and parked the car in a small town of Betws-y-Coed known as the gateway to Snowdonia. From there, we took the Sherpa Bus for another 30 minutes to Penn-y-Pass the starting point of the hike as we took the Pyg Track. It is the shortest, most popular and busy route to summit the mountain. Apparently, it also is not the easy path to walk up! The track is very steep and rocky, even though some of the trails is fairly easy to follow. The Pyg Track is 5.5 kilometers in length.
At the beginning of the journey, it was a little bit cloudy. It was around 9.30 a.m. As we kept going, the sun came up and the sky was so clear. I walked with ease and stopped several times while he didn’t want to lose his patient so he walked pretty fast in front of me. I told him that I walked super slow, then we made each other promise to keep our pace in the middle but neither of us could keep that.
The view along the way is massive! Perfectly beautiful with perfect weather! We were so lucky!
After 2.5 hours of walking, we managed to reach the top of Mount Snowdon. The cloud was hanging quite thick but as soon as we approached the summit, they suddenly were gone and we got an amazing view from 1,085 meters above sea level. It was fascinating! We were so glad we made it on top on a sunny day. We took a break for a while, grab our sandwich, and just embracing the picturesque. After around 20 minutes break, we started to walk down and took the Llanberis track which is the longest (a bit boring but still beautiful) and the easiest track. It took us 3 hours to finally got back to the place where we parked the car.
Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd
Considering we still have so much time after beating down Mount Snowdon, we then heading to see the Aber Falls (Welsh: Rhaeadr Fawr). We park the car at Bont Newydd (I guess… My friend probably knew better that I did). From the car park, we walked for around 30 minutes to where the waterfall is.
The walk was easy and clearly signposted. It was such a warm day! I couldn’t help the heat. When we got there, it was quiet and the fall is stunning. It plunges 37 meters over solid rock formation. We sat down for a little while before went back to the hostel.
DAY #3: Elan Valley Reservoirs to Fishguard
I knew that road trip is always a good idea. The only problem is I don’t drive! So I remembered the day I wished that I have a friend who would be happy to take me on a road trip somewhere. Until I met this humble (and weirdo…) when I was in Fort William. Things happened so fast I couldn’t even remember how we came up with this idea. Then we just went for it after an on-off plan for nearly two months. I might not that goofy person during the trip, but we had a great time. Everything was just imperfectly perfect!
Here we are on day three. After such an exhausting walk a day before, it’s time for us to jump to another place. We planned to stay at Fishguard (Welsh: Abergwaun) on the last two days that we got. It’s a small seaside village in Pembrokeshire, South-west of Wales. Before we got there, we visited Elan Valley Reservoirs, a man-made lakes of dam which provide clean drinking water for Birmingham and Midlands of England. We drove and stopped on each of the five lakes: Caban Coch, Garreg-Ddu, Claerwen, Pen-y-Garreg, and Craig Coch. I was expecting the flowing water on the dam, but the water level was below the average. It still beautiful, though. The road we took to get there was also gorgeous. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the window!
DAY #4: Dinas Island and Whitesands Beach to St. David’s
We were extremely lucky as the weather was always sunny. Fishguard is also nice and warm, even though he said that driving to and about Fishguard is challenging. On our fourth day, we planned to walk along the peninsula at Dinas Island, located between Fishguard and Newport. We started the circular walk around 10 a.m. from Pwllgwaelod beach. The walking path is fairly steep and sharp, but the reward of Fishguard Bay view is amazing! Along the walk, we clearly could see the coastal path as the sky was so clear. Radiant display!
We paused at Cwm-yr-Eglwys beach (Valley of the Church) and had a snack. I love to see how clear the sea water is in a rock pool. It was a long walk and we were pretty exhausted. We continue to keep going and came back to the car park after 3 hours. We chill – not literally as we sat outside on a sunny day – in a bar close to the bay where he had a pint and I had a Coke and water. Such a good things to have on a hot hot day. We still had plenty of time so we decided to clean up at the hostel and looking for proper dinner at St. David’s, the smallest city in Britain. We also paid a visit to St. David’s Cathedral which is massive and pretty. As the sun goes down around 9 p.m., we drove along the road back to Fishguard and stopped at Whitesands Beach.
St. David’s then became his highlights for the whole trip.
DAY #5: Brecon Beacons National Park to Home
There’s always something enchanted about waterfalls. We love waterfalls. On our last day of the trip, we took off early morning from Fishguard and drove for two and half hours to Brecon Beacons National Park. It was a long drive but the view outside was lovely.
We started the Four Falls walks around 10.30 a.m. but only managed to get to two waterfalls: Upper Sgwd Clun-Gwyn and Sgwd-yr-Eira. We discover some of the most majestic waterfalls. The walking path is easy to follow with a clear signpost. In some part, it was steep and rocky, but the rest of the track is fairly straightforward. Although the water was not flowing too much, it was still pretty. We had small lunch when we were at Sgwd yr Eira. This is the most popular waterfalls spot among the three other as we could walk behind the waterfall.
There’s no way we feel disappointed!
“We can escape to the great sunshine.”
We made it to “The Longest Train Station Name in the World” in Wales: