Friday 23rd. Advertised as "the light on the hill", the hut was nevertheless hard to find in the pitch dark on the Friday night. Not surprising as the hut's lights didn't work! Not even Debra could fettle them, but the Kays had arrived earlier to discover that the wind powered electricity system was defunct but managed to get a roaring fire going.
Inspired by the cold clear moonlit night and the promise of downpours to come, I set off to explore the fields behind the hut. At 11.45pm I reached the summit of Foel Benddin and returned to the hut shortly after midnight.
Saturday 24th. We woke to a miserable wet day with the wind speed rising
by the hour. We discovered that the only way we could get any heat out of
the gas space heater to work was to pile a weight onto the start button.
We all went to the Centre for Alternative Technology for the day.
In the circumstances, everyone was looking forward to the evening meal as the high point of the day. Things nearly went horribly wrong when Peri started to burn her welsh cakes in the stygian gloom of the kitchen, and smoke started to seep into our 'lounge.' But the end result was certainly worth all the swearing and coughing. I, for one, vote Peri YAC Communal Meal Dessert Cook of the year. After supper, the YAC band had it's first practice. Don't hold your breath!
Aran Ridge 12 miles Simon C, Carmen, Simon F , Debra and Peri
The damp weather put paid to our original plan to traverse Cadair Idris via the Cyfrwy Arete, so we decided to take the opportunity to wander across the Arans directly from the hut. Easy day, we thought- no-one ever walks in the Arans, so they must be small and not worth bothering with. How wrong we were!
After the initial very steep pull up Foel Benddin, we reached the ridge and continued up to Y Gribin and on to Glasgwm. From there, a steep drop took us across boggy ground (with very slippery duck boards) and eventually on to the lower slopes of Aran Fawddwy. By this stage the ground was more like a remote area of Scotland than the rounded wimps we'd been expecting. Another pull up into the cloud found us at the top of Aran Fawddwy. We then dropped down to Drysgol, via a cairn commemorating an RAF airman killed by lightening during a mountain rescue call out. Finally, a long slippery slope brought us back down into the valley and only three miles to go!! We had covered about 12 miles with 1300m of ascent-not quite the easy day we'd intended!
Mountain bike ride: Glyn Ceiriog 17 miles.
(Bikefax grades: 'Expert' level, 'Extreme' difficulty.) Annie, Peter and Andrew.
Peter didn't tell his comrades-in-arms that the Bikefax review of this ride stated that it is 'not for the faint hearted.' Us-faint hearted?
The first half of the ride gave us great views but was pretty tiring because all too often we were forced to ride on the soggy fields as the tracks had been churned up by the dreaded 4X4s.
The second half was more technically entertaining. The track down to Pen Yr Allt farm deteriorated into a stream, so we all got gloriously wet, and Pete managed to get a lovely big bruise on the other buttock to match the bruise gained on the October Coniston Coppermines meet.
Andrew took a strategic decision to vacate his saddle, but luckily out of sight of the others. The track down to our start in Glyn Ceiriog was like an oversized storm drain and we were initiated into a new riding surface. The 'storm drain' was a tilted bedding plane butted up to a fault line, so we were forced into something like a very steeply angled road gutter that constantly threatened to ram your wheels into the curb and you into oblivion. Yummy! Pete did another of his famous faceplants here, but it was all too quick to capture on film. The final bit of the lane into the village was tarmaced, but so steep than Annie and Pete had to dismount because their brakes could not restrain them. What sort of machine did they use to lay the tarmac in the first place? Andrew.
Advice from Annie
Try the 'Mole Hole' for size, preferably before a three course meal! Next time, bring wellies as the walk up to the hut is very muddy. Be careful drinking in the Red Lion pub because the beer was off when we went on Friday night. After the Centre for Alternative Technology, we went shopping for tat in Machynlleth. Look out for the shop with the sign "more plastic inside". How can one resist an invite like that?