Six months of waiting. Six months of hoping for good weather. Six months of wondering if any one of us would pull the plug and ruin it all.
Paddy Englishman, Paddy Irishman and Paddy Australianman walk into a pub in Wales. It’s cold. Wet. Windy. They’ve sacked off a climb to sleep in a field and get some hot food. There is a dog in the pub. Some warm beer. Food on the menu. They smell. They smile. They savour. They sleep.
This trip was A very long time coming. People with very different schedules, family lives, and work pressures having to block out time months ahead to make it happen. There was always a chance it was going to fall apart. However, once it was in my diary it was happening. No options, full commitment, whatever the weather. That weather did arrive for the first day, but the next two were perfect. Perfect company. Perfect riding. Perfect Wales.
The first night a ride into Dulyn bothy to hide from the anticipated storm that battered us with high winds and low temperatures. The Australian was not amused, until he found I’d brought enough to light a fire to bring the temperature back into positive digits.
The carry out of Dulyn is brutal, but rewards with a few hours mostly down and across not often accessed terrain. This brought us sunshine and singletrack as we tracked along parts of the Sarn Helen trail. A long day riding was ahead and I’d not picked much in the way of wide gravel roads. I wanted single track. We got it. Maybe a bit too much in the latter half.
We sat at the pub below Pen-Y-Pass and talked about our options – push up and onto Snowdon, or down the pass to Nant Perris for a warm curry and some beer. In the end, we were on holiday, away from children and work. We opted for the pub, Snowdon isn’t going anywhere, and it’s not that fun on a fully ladened bike anyway.
Up through Dinorwig after a breakfast in Petes’ Eats before a gentle cruise to a friends house nearby. Coffee, talk, connections made. A good weekend for all.
I don’t often bikepack for fun. But I think maybe I should do so more often. It’s not all about the racing, is it?