7 January 2013

Carry On Camping!

I love my foreign holidays abroad and don't really share other peoples enthusiasm for taking a 'staycation' within the United Kingdom. Changing my ways to embrace something different it was time for Wales! Me and my brother Lewis flew back early from holiday our to Turkey during the summer  of 2010 to spend a camping holiday in the Wales. So, let's 'Carry On Camping!'

Packing up the cars me and some of my crazy family we made the two hour car journey to a campsite in the heart of the Welsh countryside. Close to the village of Beddgelert we set up camp for our alternative holiday. What a weekend we had in-store! So here we go! From the golden sun of Turkey to the rolling hills and fields of Wales, something new for me to experience! I wanted something different, embracing a 'staycation' was good for me. I didn't need my passport, just a sense of adventure! The first night we had a barbecue, watched the stars and enjoyed some hot chocolate before bedding down in our tents. For the weekend ahead would be non-stop, please let me advise you that I have my diva demands, it wasn't bad a at all because the camp-site was fully equipped with running water, flushing toilets and the added luxury that are hot showers. I don't ask for much but I'm a drama queen! Oh, Wales!

Peddling through the Welsh countryside the views were breathtaking, I have never seen something so beautiful in the United Kingdom before! Surely these views had to be part of a National Park? The Snowdon National Park to be exact! Desperately Seeking Adventure knows it's facts! I made sure I stopped whenever I saw a vista worth a picture, saying that I made numerous picture stops to capture the terrific views. I will not lie I had not been on a bike ride this intense for a long time, well I guess hadn't. Looking back the mountain biking was a great experience, which allowed me to see the natural beauty and to truly appreciate the landscape. My usual holiday activity tends to be sunbathing, I love the sun! For this time anyway I did fine without a swimming pool, sun lounger and bottle of sun tan cream. To tell the truth I think I could have done with a practice run because I'm sure that would have helped but nevertheless the afternoon was well worth it! Let's go!

Taking a short walk from the camp-site me and some of my crazy family discovered the nearby village of Beddgelert. This chocolate box Welsh village was charming, with its homemade fudge shop and the winding river that flowed under the stone bridge. Whenever there is a pub close-by I have to sample the local brews, so I couldn't resist having a pint of lager from 'Tanronen Inn' as it looked too good to pass up. I never turn down the prospect of a beer! Beddgelert appeared to be a village that has made it's location a big hit with tourists as there was a feeling of that when I was walking through the main street from our camp site. Essentially, being located within the Snowdonia National Park draws the mountaineers that take the challenge of climbing the mighty Mount Snowdon. The presence of Welsh street signs was very high and with the addition of a Welsh speaking primary school on the corner by the local park this village was quintessentially Welsh. Wales was impressing me B!

Yas, I had been to Wales before that summer break within the UK. Taking it back to a previous half-term holiday back when I was at secondary school I spent a week in Borth on a caravan sight, another memorable week because Borth was positively bleak! Staying close to that previous Welsh week we took a drive to Machynlleth to find a pretty town in the middle of nowhere, finding a high street pub we experienced an awkward reception with a torrent of stares due to our 'foreign' accents. Taking it to the seaside it was the perfect end of a mad week, Aberdovey served a small but inviting beachfront and a warmer welcome compared to the ancient beliefs of Machnylleth. Looking back on those Welsh experiences I would have to say Beddgelert's small village feel was perfect, no prejudice or shade was through because we were from the other side of the borderline. Could I be convinced to leave my passport at home again? Yes UK, seeing something closer to home was ace!

I climbed that mountain, high! Mount Snowdon to be precise. I can now look back and say that I'm proud that I climbed Mount Snowdon but at the time It was a whole different story! My Auntie Michelle could vouch for me and say that one moment I was a complete nervous wreck and the other I was the complete opposite, motivated and ready get to the summit. My brother Lewis and uncle Pete powered ahead while I found the climb a lot more challenging. I would have done anything to be sitting in the mountain train that took my auntie and cousin, I was such a diva! Taking my hysteria away from the climb that day, I have to say the views were magnificent even though I was petrified by the height of the mountain.

I made it to the top! In state of euphoria I had forgot about the journey back down. Bizarrely at the top there was a coffee shop, at the top of a mountain! By the time we reached the top I was completely out of my mind, I didn't care about the other people around me I just wanted to be at the top and sit down forever! I can safely say that Mount Snowdon will be the first and last mountain that I will ever climb! It was an experience for sure!Looking back to that 2010 break in North Wales I was about to embark on a new chapter by going to university in Birmingham. Chopping our foreign holiday in half allowed me and my brother to get the best of both worlds. From biking through the Welsh hills, a physical challenge, those views were worth it in the end!

Ain't No Mountain High Enough!

Joseph Harrison

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