On this Saint Patrick’s day weekend, Beyond the Glass Adventure Tours took a group of 6 Irish lads on an adventure tour to Snowdonia in Wales. Snowdonia is less than an hour’s drive from the ferry port of Holyhead, which is only a two hour ferry journey from Dublin. This makes Snowdonia very accessible from Ireland.
We sailed to Wales on Friday morning and the adventure started immediately. Our first stop was to the Velocity Zip Wire Centre in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda. This was a sure way to build excitement for the three days adventure tour to come. This excitement was temporarily quietened when the boys where dangling in the air, strapped into the Zip line harness. They were about to be released on the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe. Any fear that was present was quickly quenched by the rush of adrenaline that ran through each of them as they flew through the northern Wales air at speeds up to 120km per hour. The staff, the organisation and the attention to safety at the velocity centre is extremely reassuring; and the flight on the Zip wire had the group well set up for the coming days.
We arranged the accommodation for the weekend in the village of Llanberis. Llanberis is a scenic Welsh village which is beautifully situated at the foot of mount Snowdon and on the edge of Lake Padarn. There are several excellent bars, restaurants and outdoor shops in the Village. The locals are very helpful and being welsh they are naturally very friendly.
From Llanberis on Saturday morning we set out for a hike up Snowdon, Wale’s highest mountain. The weather for the weekend was bitterly cold, with strong winds and snow flurries. When we stepped out of the bus at the Pen-y-Pass we felt the full force of the elements, even in the short space of time it took to put on our outer layer of gear our body temperatures were dropping. Everyone was happy to start moving so as to get warmed up. Despite the winter conditions there were still many groups braving the elements to tackle the mountain. We led the group of Irish on their own Paddies day parade up the Pyg track. The clouds did part on occasion so give some spectacular views down the Llanberis Pass to Llyn Peris and later over the lakes of Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw. But for much of the day the peaks were shrouded in clouds.
Extreme care was required in the upper sections of the mountain as the path was iced-up in many places, it also got significantly colder as we gained height. With the wind chill effect the temperatures were as cold as minus 20 degree Celsius. Coming off the mountain we descended via the miners track. Now the group began to look forward to a hot drink and warming food. The clouds never moved off the famous Crib Goch ridge but as we reached the bottom of the miners track the clouds did temporarily part to reveal the impressive Snowdon peak. Just rewards for the group’s efforts of the day.
We had the group back to Llanberis in time to watch Ireland beat England and win the Grand Slam. That evening there was much craic and few drinks had while the group celebrated the rugby win and Saint Patrick’s Day.
On the Sunday we had arranged for the group to go Downhill Mountain biking in a local biking centre. Unfortunately the bike Centre cancelled this at the last minute due to the late winter weather that Wales was experiencing. So early on Sunday morning we organised an alternative activity. After a late breakfast and a relaxing Sunday morning we took a beautiful walk around Padarn Lake. The path we took followed a disused railway track on its southern shore and runs beneath a canopy of trees. It follows a vintage railway track on its northern shore. As we neared the finish of the 10km hike we visited the 13th century Dolbadarn castle and the National slate museum.
The group may have been a little tired as they returned to Ireland after their Adventure tour but they were certainly very happy. It also was a fantastic start to the 2018 season for Beyond the Glass Adventure Tours.