Home to Bala

The dining room at Bala Backpackers
The dining room at Bala Backpackers

This holiday was a little different, as it started from home. With no train to catch there was no pressure to leave early and we didn’t set off until 11:15. The forecast was gale force winds and heavy rain, and we may have postponed the start by a day had we not booked tonight’s stay in advance – the only advance booking of the entire holiday. It was dry when we left, but the leaden skies and low mist threatened worse to come. Halfway to Llanberis, Christine remembered about her bike lock so had to turn back, then in the village she had to exchange her spare shoes for a different size.

At last we were off again into the headwind over the Llanberis pass, the highest altitude we’d attain on this trip. The rain started as we neared the summit, where we paused to don the waterproofs we were destined to wear all the way to Bala. At the junction we felt the full force of the gale as we turned right for Beddgelert. Caffi Gwynant provided a short respite as well as excellent coffee and cake, then we battled through sodden Beddgelert and later turned off through Llanfrothen and Rhyd.

Christine was worried she’d be unable to make it to Bala in these conditions but I was keen to keep to the schedule since we’d already paid for the accommodation. Llan Ffestiniog was the last possibility for an overnight stay before Bala, still 17 miles away. It looked rather grim in the rain with only a dismal hotel offering accommodation so we pressed on, reaching the town at 18:30. We booked in at the Backpackers, showered and put our wet clothing in the drying room. We ventured out into the wet again for food from the Spar, then cooked and ate.

We’ve stayed at Bala Backpackers before, and can highly recommend it. Tonight we were the only hostellers, and Stella, the owner, told us she’d married a customer two months ago, a kayaker from Luton who’d stayed there in October and has since moved up. He’ll certainly find the water wilder than in Luton.

Bala to Wem