Tal y Fan wild camp 21/3/2015 Words and pictures: Adam Groves
Awoke early which can only mean one of two things; I felt the mattress and it was dry so I must be going camping! After picking up a few essentials and re-packing my rucksack again for the third time I went to catch my lift to Conwy.
It was a beautiful spring day with barely a cloud in the blue sky and the sun felt warm for the first time this year. My lift dropped me off above Conwy town and I put on my rucksack which still felt heavy despite me leaving a lot of my winter gear at home. And so I set off on the road for a mile or so uphill then turn off onto a farm track and a half hour slog before my first glimpse of Tal y Fan (2,001 ft)
The next few miles are a steady climb to the foot of the mountain on mostly grassy tracks. The mid afternoon sun and lack of a breeze make it perfect walking weather and I make good progress stopping at the base of the mountain for a coffee and to enjoy the view over to the Great Orme and Llandudno in the distance.
Onwards and upwards! I realize that time is not on my side so I decide to take the most direct route which also happens to be the steepest. I pass some grazing wild ponies who don't even acknowledge my presence. Twenty minutes of sweating and heavy breathing I arrive at the plateau below the summit ridge and search out a suitable spot to pitch the Starlight. I find a flat spot below a rocky outcrop with stunning views over Anglesey. Five minutes later the Starlight is pitched as the sun is beginning to set.
The temperature drops quickly so it's on with a few more layers and time for another coffee to warm me up! I decide to visit the trig point on the summit to photograph the last of the light and hopefully get a shot of Venus and the moon.
After taking a few shots I descend from the summit down a steep gully onto the plateau then back to the tent for something to eat and a well deserved beer. I sit in the tent doorway looking at the millions of twinkling stars above me for a while before climbing into my sleeping bag and reading until I can't keep my eyes open any longer.
I wake up a couple of hours later due to being so cold and I put my fleece sleeping bag liner in my bag and make myself a warming cup of coffee before attempting to sleep again. I wake up before sunrise and attempt to make a coffee but the gas doesn't flow due to the cold so I place the canister into my sleeping bag to warm up as I venture outside to take some photos of the rising sun. The ground is hard and white with frost as is the Starlight’s fly sheet.
The sunrise was spectacular it was worth getting up for but I need a coffee. Thankfully the gas lights first time and I contemplate packing and starting my walk home.
The walk down to Conwy takes just over an hour so I decide not to catch a bus but walk the remaining five miles home. I arrive exhausted but exhilarated at another awesome camping trip in the Starlight and look forward to my next adventure.