As last weekend was a "Bank" holiday, Tane and I decided to make the most of the day off work and join Erica and Sarah for a few days in the stunning corner of the world that is Snowdonia, North Wales. (NB: in the UK, for some reason unknown to me, all of the public holidays seem randomly assigned and are all called Bank Holidays. But, that's another blog entry for another time.)
Given the children speaking Welsh on the train there and the dual language signs, I had a moment of panic when I realised I'd left my passport at home before remembering that, technically, I was still in the same country
Rural Wales is somewhere that I have always been interested in as not only were my mother's mother's people from there, but a place with a dragon on the flag has to be worth a look. So, we braved the unpredictable beast that is UK National Rail (we learnt on the way home that "no assigned seating" on the train tickets really means "sitting on the floor of the luggage compartment with a disproportionate number of antipodeans for two hours") and travelled up for a fabulous weekend of fresh air, staying in the middle of nowhere, trees, walks up hills and deliciously stodgy pub meals.
The highlight of the weekend was a climb up Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, and the highest peak south of Scotland. It's a little more than 1000m high, and we decided that while there is the option of taking a train to the top (?!?!) we were hard New Zealanders and would climb it instead. It was a fabulous day walk - challenging in parts but on the whole not too difficult, and the fog at the top gave it all a slightly creepy other world quality.
Once the flog cleared, though, there were some excellent views of the national park on the way down, not to mention rocks made for posing on.
The only negative thing about the climb was the realisation Tane had when coming down Snowdon that his knees aren't so up for it anymore, and he'll need to use sticks when doing such walks in the future. That was easily remedied as we were staying near a town with probably one of the highest outdoors shop per head of capita in the world so he was able to buy a pair of silver sticks for walking/prodding me when I am going slowly, but is one of those things that we'll have to watch in the future. All up a great weekend though and I thoroughly recommend North Wales as a place to visit.