However in buying the printed book, I have made one mistake already! The thing weighs 220g, 1/2lb or so which might not sound much but it is the same as all my cooking kit .. and I am going to have to carry the thing all the way, because the digital version costs the same amount again and I am too tight-fisted to spend another £14.95 just for a digital copy of something that I already have... oh, well.
Getting ready involves the following steps:
- review the route
- book any necessary accommodations etc
- review necessary equipment
- trial pack, then pack and go!
The first thing to do is to review the route, and plot it onto my digital OS maps (courtesy of Anquet Maps). I have to do that first because I can't book any accommodation, until I know which day I will be where. Actually I don't like to book accommodation at all if I can help it, but for the first night at least I will need somewhere to stay and since I am driving, I will need somewhere to leave the car.
So, I have gone through the book and transcribed the route onto the 1:25k high definition walking maps my phone will display. Mostly I have followed the official route, but I could not resist making a few changes here and there. For example, there is no point in going to Beddgelert only to straight trail back out again the next morning. I will keep going and put up the tent for the night somewhere suitable. Also I could not resist changing the route on the fifth day of the ordinary route, to Bethesda, so that it goes directly over Glyder Fach and Tryfan. All those lovely contour lines!
It is sooo handy, having the route and very detailed maps available on the phone. What the phone will not do is to show you the bigger picture, which is why I plot them on the desktop which will display any scale you wish on a number of different map types.
As I say I will drive to Machyllneth, but it does have a railway station so you can get there that way too. I have booked a B&B just outside the town, Elinor sounds very nice.. I will post more, when I've actually arrived there! I have booked two nights, and she is happy for me to leave the car there meantime. This is rather a bet on how long the walk will take, I am hoping there might be a little wriggle room if I am too slow or too quick.. but I expect it will all work out. I have also booked two nights in Conwy, Alison sounds very nice too.. so the walk schedule looks like this:
|Friday||07 July||drive to Machynlleth||booked||Elinor|
|Saturday||08 July||1 Machynlleth - Dolgellau|
|Sunday||09 July||2 Dolgellau - Trawsfynydd|
|Monday||10 July||3 Trawsfynydd - nr Beddgelert|
|Tuesday||11 July||4 nr Beddgelert - Bethesda|
|Wednesday||12 July||5 Bethesda - Conwy||booked Alison|
|Thursday||13 July||zero day||booked Alison|
|Friday||14 July||M1 Conwy - Bethesda|
|Saturday||15 July||M2 Bethesda - Capel Curig|
|Sunday||16 July||M3 Capel Curig - Pen-y-pass|
|Monday||17 July||M4 Pen-y-pass - nr Beddgeler|
|Tuesday||18 July||M5 Nr Beddgelert - Penrhyndeudraeth|
|Wednesday||19 July||M6 Penrhyndeudraeth - Trawsfynydd|
|Thursday||20 July||M7 Trawsfynydd - Dolgellau|
|Friday||21 July||M8 Dolgellau - Abergynolwyn|
|Saturday||22 July||M9 Abergynolwyn - Machynlleth||booked||Elinor|
|Sunday||23 July||drive home|
I haven't booked anything else, but there are a fair number of YHA and similar facilities along the way as well as hotels and B&Bs, so I have noted down some phone numbers and will play it by ear and see how things go. The mountain routes M1-M9 are looking fairly relaxed to me so I might finish a day or so early but we shall see. Having to spend an extra day wandering around Southern Snowdonia doesn't sound too bad.
Having used most of my stuff on the recent North Downs Way walk I don't think there is anything new I need. I have all the clothing required, though I would like to do something soon about my wet weather gear.. the Berghaus Paclite kit has been good but is getting quite old and somewhat unreliable. It is rather harder to tell than one might think, because if you are climbing a mountain in the wet you will get wet regardless, because no fabric is perfect when it comes to breathability. If I find something better I will buy it but top class waterproofs are extremely expensive... so all suggestions are welcomed. But absolute minimum weight, totally waterproof, highest possible breathability.. this is a challenging spec!
The other piece of new kit I have is my Samsung Galaxy S8+ phone. It has an absolutely wonderful display and it makes the OS maps look brilliant. It is also very good for battery life, it will go two days where my S5 only went one, or less. However it does weigh more and I'm not yet sure how robust it will be. I am vacillating about whether to take the S5 too, as backup. I might not do, since I will have the paper guide book - if the phone stops working it will be a pain, but it will not be absolutely terminal, as it would be if I had no other maps or info (or compass!).
So at the moment everything looks to be on track .. I will do a brief update before I set off, using my phone to do it with. It was a problem on the north Downs Way to get it to upload, and I need to resolve that.
Roll on, 7 July!
|Looking towards Glyder Fach, from near Tryfan|