Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

April 20, 2016

Shropshire spring snow surprise

by backpackingbongos

Last Friday was a forgettable weather day. We were greeted at the Ratlinghope campsite in the middle of the Shropshire hills by misty, murky weather, a fine drizzle falling. It was the first time that we had taken out the boot awning for the van. Without any prior practice and with heavy rain due any moment it was an experience akin to putting a square peg in a round hole. We eventually wrestled it into place and spent the rest of the afternoon huddled inside whilst the promised heavy rain fell for a few hours.

I had persuaded Mrs Bongo to join Reuben and I for a weekend camping to celebrate my birthday. The lure was a warm pub with good food to while away the evenings. The Bridges Pub which is a fifteen minute walk down narrow country lanes did not disappoint, the food and beer was excellent. Friends later joined us after driving all the way from Nottingham after work. A convivial evening was spent and I have to say that I was uncomfortably full of food and beer by the time I got to bed.

The forecast was for snow during the early hours of the morning, something I was fairly sceptical of due to how mild it felt that night. I poked my head out of the van a couple of times during the night but just got a face full of drizzle. I was therefore like a kid at Christmas when at 7am I was greeted with this.



A good couple of inches of soft powdery snow had fallen, the air still and quiet, the dawn chorus hushed. I ran round unsuitably dressed for a few minutes before diving back into the van and the comfort of a warm duvet.

We were all up and about by 9am, the snow still deep and crisp, the sky blue and the sun warm. It was weird sitting around eating breakfast in just a baselayer, with spring in the air whilst winter nipped at our feet.




Later that day we spent a few hours exploring Adison Hill and the Long Mynd. The snow soon melted but the northerly airflow left incredibly clear skies. To the west much of Wales was laid out at our feet, we could clearly make out Cadair Idris, the Arrans and the Berwyns.






All in all a splendid birthday weekend with my wife and good friends.

March 2, 2014

My first snowy wild camp of 2014

by backpackingbongos

After a mild and dank winter I woke up on the first day of meteorological spring to this.

P1060756 (1)

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April 7, 2013

Nant y Moch update

by backpackingbongos

Regular readers may have read the words ‘Nant y Moch’ a lot on this blog.  I feel that this area contains the finest scenery in Wales outside of the national parks.  I have also written several times about the proposed wind farm for the area.  One that I am very strongly against.

Therefore I was pleased to read some good news for a change.  SSE (the company that enjoys a bit of energy mis-selling) have decided to postpone the project due to the renewable energy investment climate in Wales.

It will be interesting to see what the final outcome will be.

SSE’s Nant y Moch project site is here.

A copy of the letter sent to the Cambrian Mountains society is here.

April 24, 2012

Braigh-na-Leitre – A week in Strathconon

by backpackingbongos

The single track road twisted through the narrow glen, mountains towering above on either side.  A final turn and Loch Beannacharain came into view at the precise moment that Explosions in the sky had risen to its final crescendo on the stereo.  It was one of life’s moments of perfect timing that put a huge grin on my face.  I had enjoyed a fantastic day on the hills lower down the glen and I was returning to our remote retreat in the furthest reaches of this scenic area.

18 miles at the end of a single track lane I passed the ‘No unauthorised vehicles’ sign and carried on down towards Scardroy lodge.  The sign by the Scottish rights of way society caught my eye as I passed by.  Our cottage was on the track to Achnashellach, a very long walk to the west.  Keen backpackers could continue to the west coast at Attadale via the Bealach Bhearnais though wild uninhabited country.

A mile and a half from the end of the public road was our cottage for the week, Braigh-na-Leitre.  Always warm and inviting after descending from the hills with peat stained trousers and wet feet.

I often felt privileged to be able to step out of the door and already be deep in the mountains.  Out the back door and we were immediately on the hill.  With hands in pockets and dog at my side I could amble with no real objective, enjoying just being in the hills.

For me one of the joys of wild camping is sitting in my tent whilst eating and drinking, enjoying the moment and staring vacantly at the view.  For a week the table in the conservatory was my tent porch and meal times were mesmerising with the changing light on the hill across the glen.  Most evenings great herds of deer would descend to the river.  This probably accounts for the rather numerous deer ticks in the vicinity!

Anyway, as there is a risk of this becoming a ‘What I did on my holiday’ post I will stop typing and leave you with a few photos of the surroundings within a couple of minutes walk of the front door.  I did manage some memorable days on the hills with four Corbetts and two Grahams climbed.  I will write my usual trip reports on them soon.

December 8, 2011

One turbine down………..

by backpackingbongos

……….but many more yet to go!

At least there is a positive ‘spin’ on the winds battering Scotland today as one of the turbines near Ardrossan exploded.