Most day’s you’ll find me spending time googling places to explore, photographing them or just outside doing some sort of garden ‘job’. I love to be outdoors, it’s not just the wanderlust that makes me want to be in the fresh air, it’s having the wind blow across your face, whether you’re stood at the top of a mountain or in your back garden, it’s realising the beauty of the natural world and it’s being able to watch the sunset with the sound of seabirds overhead and a bag of chips in your hand. I like to think it’s a way of clearing all the stuffiness of the corporate world from my head and remembering that within just an hour or so, I can be in a heart of some of the most beautiful mountains in the world or on the coast.
Luckily for me, Imogen is the same. She’s a girl who can escape from the world by sitting in the passenger seat of the car, plugging in her Spotify playlist and munching on whatever food has been packed. So… that’s exactly what we did. We went on a microadventure for all the above reasons and more.
What is a Microadventure?
Al Humphreys say’s “A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding. As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanised, busy, and stuck in front of a screen, microadventures offer a realistic escape to wilderness, simplicity and the great outdoors, without the need to ski to the South Pole or go live in a cabin in Patagonia. The appeal of microadventures is that they make adventure accessible to people who may have very little outdoor experience.”
What was our plan?
Snowdonia. Leave my house and within approximately one hour you’ll be somewhere within the National Park. With this, we booked a cabin on the edge of Trawfynydd Lake via AirBnB, grab a load of camping gear and set out for a couple of days away. Sticking to the idea of a micro adventure, it was short, simple, local, cheap and more importantly it turned out to be exactly what Al described; fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.
The plan was to meet up and head along the A55 to Bangor where we would drop down towards Tryfan and Llyn Ogwen. A flat tyre scuppered our meeting time, but it just meant more time together in the car (you can decided whether that’s a good or bad thing).
Tryfan has a beautiful river that runs down to the road. It’s a great photo spot which my Dad has photographed in the past but I couldn’t for the life of me find it. After driving up and down the road, passing the Wales Collective guys filming at the Rocks a few times (sorry if we ruined your recordings guys!), I caved and called my Dad for directions. Obviously we drove straight past it… but it wasn’t long until we were parked up, had our walking boots on and headed to our first stop.
A soggy start
It was boggy, very boggy. I wouldn’t describe myself as having very little outdoor experience but this wasn’t something I’d come across before. I knew the rules though, stick to rocks and anything that looks dry, don’t underestimate puddles and keep to any established trails. Whilst I was taking a calculated approach to scaling up the side of the tiny waterfall, Immy sauntered up encouraging me on her way.
We got the shot! The decent for both of us was taken carefully and ended with a reward of coffee and crisps from the Ogwen Visitors Centre. Coffee in hand, we unknowingly started the walk up to Llyn Idwal.
Cwn Idwal walk
This walk offers some of the most dramatic mountainous scenery in the UK at the oldest National Nature Reserve in Wales. It takes you into a normally inaccessible upland environment, and through beautiful ice-sculpted Cwm Idwal – a bowl-shaped hollow filled with the crystal clear waters of Llyn Idwal. The site is world famous for its rock formations and its rare and fragile plant life.
The walk was surrounded by snow-capped mountains, low lying fog and barren land. We ascended easily, stopping for photo opportunities and once at the lake we decided doing the circular walk was a bit ambitious given the time and last nights snowfall. We perched on a rock at the side of the lake, enjoyed the last of the coffee and our crisps, the two staples in Immy’s diet, before heading back down to the car.
Near the end, when crossing the last bridge, I recognised a familiar face in a sea of budding photographers. It was a family friend that I hadn’t seen for a very long time and certainly didn’t expect to see. Aware that we had interrupted her photography class, we briefly caught up before continuing on our way. That brief but exciting chat reconnected us over our shared love of the mountains and photography. It was a reminder of how a place, when combined with memories and shared admirations, can impact your whole experience.
The Cabin on the Lake
Cae Adda is a campsite on the west bank of Trawsfynydd lake. The campsite has two cabins which include camping mats, a wood burning stove and some camping chairs. It sound basic, but when you’re in a pace as beautiful as this, you don’t need much more than a bench when sitting outside to eat your breakfast. Claire was a great host and left a plentiful supply of logs for the burner. She also had the fire let before we arrived so the cabin was lovely and warm. It was simple, but perfect.
Most importantly… What did we eat?
Immy’s diet consists of three important things; carbs, carbs and my baking. Luckily for her, I’d organised a risotto for dinner, a hearty bowl of porridge for breakfast and some adventure fuelling muffins.
There was a plan to forage for the first nettle growth of the year to put in the risotto, but the snow that had fallen over the past few weeks hindered any growth, so as a backup I’d packed some spinach. With a cup of tea in hand, we cooked our ambitious risotto on a single Primus lightweight gas stove. Impressed is an understatement. That little stove was effortless and the meal so rewarding. We devoured it outside in the pitch black with the sound of foxes in the distance. Gin combined with the log burner, kept us warm. In saying this, we didn’t pour gin on the fire that would be a waste. After an exciting game of Exploding Kittens, we crashed out until dawn.
A breakfast of almond milk porridge was on the cards, cooked on a bench next to the lake, it was the best way to start a Monday!
The whole trip was fuelled by my Banana and Chocolate Muffins, of which you can find the recipe below:
|Pinch of Salt|
|1||Medium Banana, mashed|
- Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease a muffin tin.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- Stir in the milk, peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract, and mashed banana. Stir until well combined.
- Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
- Evenly spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.
- Top with a few more chocolate chips if desired.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool slightly and enjoy!