Walking Snowdonia: Drum

What a day! While in North Wales we decided we wanted to walk up some hills…So that’s what we did.

With cloud in the forecast we chose a route the took in a couple of lower peaks, with the option to bag a #welsh3000 if we wanted.

Here is a map of the route. A pink line forms a figure of eight.

We started at the car park and headed for #talyfan which sits at 610m at the summit. The climb is short, sweet and in places pretty steep! It was a little test before we committed ourselves to a longer and higher walk. We haven’t been out on the hills for a while and since then, despite having 2 jabs, John had a touch of long covid and Lauren also ‘caught’ Asthma, so definitely a bit of a test of our lungs.

A cloudy view overlooking another Welsh peak. The top is just in the clouds.

Most of the way up, John holds a backpack while walking and uses a walking pole to check the height of any steps or drops but when the ground gets steep he lets go and finds his own way up.

John stands on rocks following a gulley upwards.

Next was a sharp decent and another climb talking in #foellwyd (600m) unavoidably as we went. Here again, we had options, head straight up a steep path, go back to the car park or take a long farm track up to the top. We went with the steep path and it was a pretty long trudge up to #drumsummit with plenty of bogs around. We saw #carneddauponies as we went and stepped in a fair bit of their poo ??

Carnadau Ponies. One is walking on the crest of a hill while another munches grass.

We reached the summit which was a pretty good feeling after a tough climb. We decided afterwards to head back down even though the top of #foelfras was clear. We’d already had a good work out and we wanted to do a first for us, which was to get back down in the light. (We succeeded!) great day!

Lauren and John stand inside a windbreak made from rocks. Hills are visible in the distance. These shelters are a great place to sit out of the wind while you have a snack.

Volunteering at The Big Sky Hideaway

When we recently offered the opportunity to get out and do some covid-secure volunteering we jumped at the chance. Breaking up the lockdown routine and doing some good at the same time sounded just perfect, so that’s what we did.

We have been involved with SayYesMore for a few years now and while The Big Sky Hideaway isn’t a SayYesMore project it will be home to The YesBus and we know so many great things are going to happen there.

A view looking out into a field. A school bus is visible in the background and in the foreground a double decker bus with the words SayYesMore stickered on the back.
Seeing those three giant words immediately made this place feel like home.

We stayed on site for a couple of days and nights using a converted american school bus as our base. Eventually guests will be able to stay in the school bus for holidays.

We were really eager to get started and make a difference while we were at Big Sky so after dropping our stuff off and exploring the bus we got started. There are loads of little projects going on across the site and there was lots for us to do. There is a large pile of hardcore mixed with soil and one of the jobs is to separate the soil from the stones. The stones will be used to improve the track in and the soil will be used for growing veggies.

Lauren and John stood by the pile of soil with buckets surrounding them.
The pile of gravel/soil
John stands holding the lid of a giant blue barrel that he is stood next to. There is a pile of soil on the ground.
Trying to move those barrels full of soil was tough
John stands next to the yesbus and is sifting soil into a bucket.
John was a soil sifting ninja!
John has just tipped a bin full of soil on to a large pile.

We had plenty of time to chill out and enjoy the site while we were there. We were lucky enough to see a group of 3 fallow deer on one of our walks and just chilling in the bus was lovely. Dinner both nights was a variation of camp pasta. Tortellini, sausage, tinned cherry tomatoes and cheese. We often throw meals like this together when we go camping as none of the ingredients need to be kept in the fridge.

There were a lot of options when it came to things we could do. We spent a morning clearing some woodland so a glamping pod could be moved into it’s final-ish position. We then broke up all of the dead wood we picked up so it can be used for toasting marshmallows in the future.

There’s also a patch of earth with a lot of bricks and concrete in it. They will also be useful for track improvements so we dug a few out.

There is something very satisfying about smashing stuff
John stands next to a wall of placed bricks with a crowbar in hand.

One of the best things about being at The Big Sky Hideaway that was for just a few days, life felt normal. We were doing normal things surrounded by nature. The sun was out and it was lovely! We can’t wait to get back to this awesome place.

The vibe was easy going and relaxed. Most people would have a bit of a fit at the sight of a blind guy driving their pride and joy but Dave isn’t most people!