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Dolgellau, 29–31 January

Trip Summary

The club's trip to Dolgellau (I leave it to the reader to pick their preferred pronunciation) began with nothing short of disaster. For one MPV this disaster struck before the beginning had even begun, in the form of flat tyres, whilst Matt A’s car opted for an imaginative route via the lovely sights of Peterborough, colliding with every obstruction that threatened to stand in their way. A splendid time was being had by Tom's MPV, until the windscreen of which an owl was most unfortunate to-hit,-to-who* the club issues their most sincere and hootfelt apologies.

Eventually all groups arrived within a 2km radius of the bunkbarn, and in a process akin to Brownian motion drove down every narrow road within the vicinity, despite strong discouragement from passive-aggressive signs and unimpressed neighbours. Finally, after some skilful MPV manoeuvres, we beheld before us a block of stables. Visions of curling up in rotten straw were conjured into our weary eyes, and the sight of a nearby hose gave little reassurance as to the hygiene facilities of the establishment. Expectations having been suddenly lowered, it was a pleasure to find the bunkbarn, if small and disjointed, furnished and warm. Tea and custard creams were eagerly consumed before hill-walkers “hit the hay” in a strictly non-literal sense.

The next morning’s analysis of the surrounding area for potential walks lead all but one prospective walk leader to the same conclusion: Cadair Idris. A fantastic decision as it turned out; the views over Snowdonia were spectacular, and the sight of those green rolling hills stretched out before you certainly have an extra something over the mound on Castle Hill. And you could even see the sea! It was really a beautiful day, and the mid-morning sun and clear skies left Cadair clouded only by tales of mystery- legend has it that all who spend the night on its summit leave either mad or a poet. Since we descended before sundown, most hill-walkers escaped these afflictions- except Harriet and Ranulph who were possessed enough to go for a swim in a rather cold lake.

Later in the day the sights of Cadair were exchanged for those of Barmouth, which offered amusements in the form of the “Las Vegas Arcade” and some swimming in the sea. In pursuit of the latter, with admirably undampable enthusiasm, Harriet was unfortunate enough to twist her foot upon a dropping from the legendary Barmouth monster- or such is the most probable explanation. We promptly left these dangerous waters and headed to the pub- the Cross Foxes was rejected on the basis of unreasonable fanciness and naff exterior lighting, and so hill-walkers descended upon a small place in Dolgellau, where a beer and Welsh folk music were much enjoyed by all.

Having previously outlined the successes of the bunkhouse in being more well equipped than your average stable, it is with regret that I report the less forgiving opinions of the Fellows of the Bunkhouse Review Board (FBRBCUHWC) who recommend the establishment for demolition. This is primarily based on kitchen facilities- although it must be pointed out that the number of microwaves was most definitely sufficient. Despite these encumbrances, Saturday evening saw food being created and enjoyed aplenty; particularly noteworthy was Camilla’s apple crumble, accompanied by custard made by Laurent (to whom we extend special congratulations for its impressively low lumpiness), and an enormous bowl of ratatouille. The sugariness of the former, combined with Cadair-induced madness, inspired a vent of philosophical discussion before bedtime.

The outlook for Sunday was drizzlier, windier, and wetter: in a word, more Walesy. Over breakfast the bunkhouse’s oddly shaped bowls inadvertently caused some distress as their contents was spilled over the unsuspecting Valerie in her favourite pink-kitten dressing gown. Some say that her shrieks were heard far out at sea, where the Barmouth monster took fright and fled to more distant lands. Others argue that the beast was driven away by fear of incurring the wrath of the still injured Harriet, but in either case the monster was not to be seen that day. Thus the flocks of hill-walkers who took their walk in the direction of the coast had clear views over the rolling ocean, unobscured by green fire-breathing beasts. Another group opted for a low-level walk in the surrounding area, taking boggy and heathery hills in their stride, refreshed by hailing winds and pelting rain. All returned to the bunkhouse to valiantly tackle the remaining ratatouille and custard creams, except Arion, trip Safety Officer, who finished off his walk with a swim in the raging torrent.

Every possible journey-related problem having been encountered on the way up, by comparison the trip home passed smoothly and without incident. The group parted damper and slightly more dishevelled than when they had arrived on Friday evening, but cheered, and so besides one fatality (the owl), we can declare that the trip to Dolgellau was a complete success.

*No, I’m not compromising this pun by correct use of subjective and objective pronouns.

Trip Participants

Camilla P (Trip Leader), Arion P (Safety Officer), Sam S, Adrien L, Tom A, Laurent M, Matt A, Shirley Z, Alex H, Paul F, Marie S, Taavi T, Charlie F, Ranulph D, Harriet G, Valerie A, Grasilda Z, Nicolas S, Patrick R, Peter T, Tanja S, Jantine B, Susie R


Alex H