Stick to your plans
Sat waiting in a service station I did what any self respecting millennial does in a spare moment: I scrolled down Instagram. I passed many a picturesque mountain scape at dawn, a crisp snow covered landscape, a tent lit under the milky way. Then a picture, or more a location, caught my eye, I scrolled back up noticing it was the destination of todays walk - a place that was new to us - in the Ogwen valley. Except, (just to rub it in) it was a picture perfect contrast to the relenting rains and brooding overcast greys of today: a bright blue sky reflected upon on a clear and motionless lake.
Over the 2 hour journey from Lancashire to Wales we were not filled with any hope or reassurances: outnumbered, out gunned and fighting a seemingly loosing battle, the wipers raced frantically from side to side, back and forth defending every damp attack.
On arriving we were at first reluctant to leave the comforts of the car as we looked out into the vast forest of cloud and the rain drops skating down the windscreen. At moments like this an opportunist voice from within pipes up, tempting us to ‘stay in the car, stay warm and dry’, but soon the thirst for the experience over rules whatever instinct is telling us this is better - It isn’t. Being too cold and too wet for too long is certainly not enjoyable, but knowing we’ll be returning to a warm car, dry clothes and a pair of fresh socks means we can fully embrace the moist chill of the mountain air, the shimmering steely tones of the exposed wet stone, and the thrill that comes from exploring a new place. And when we return a little colder, a little wetter and a little tireder we can look forward to hot coffee, and the sense of comforting satisfaction that can only come from a little discomfort.
“ ...all the joys of the moisture rich clouds whirring around sharp peaks and the ferocity of cascading waterfalls that flashed like bolts of lightning striking the same spot over and over.”
As we ascended the path it spat and blew and drenched walkers returned with heads low. But no sooner, the weather begin to subside, taking on a much calmer demeanour. After hours of incessant rain it had stopped in near perfect time, and throughout the entirety of our circular journey around Cwm Idwal, did it not once rain on us. Instead, we had all the joys of the moisture rich clouds whirring around sharp peaks and the ferocity of cascading waterfalls that flashed like bolts of lightning striking the same spot over and over. We even saw sunshine - all be it briefly - light up wet cliffs like a stack of newly sharpened blades. We had it all, and with out any of the cold damp draw backs, though one unsuspecting foot did succumb to a brief splash under an icy waterfall.
Sat enjoying a snack break at our highest point we marvelled at this amazing landscape as we cast our memories back to the last 3 weekends: where each time we had gone out in similar forecasts, each promising rain, and each time dodging the worst of it. Perhaps we were just lucky, but I like to think our persistent perseverance was being wholly rewarded, and a simple reminder that we shouldn’t live our lives by the gospel of the forecast.
As we closed in on the end of the walk a chill struck us and the skies again filled with the charcoal clouds of imminent moisture. We threw our jackets back on for the last few minutes before arriving safely back, just as it began to rain.
Today could have so easily been a day we could have listened to that discouraging voice, the one that tells us ‘It’s too wet and miserable to go out’, the one that says: ‘stay warm, drink tea, watch Netflix’ but instead we stuck to our plan, got our fix, and were rewarded with one of the best days outside you could wish for, discovering a breathtaking new landscape drenched in atmosphere that had us both elated and excited to plan our return.