Ray and Derek top of Elephant Rock

Ray and I relished our early morning brew and porridge and sat enjoying the early morning light and the mist like rain, later everyone began to rouse and by 9 am we had walked over to the entrance just in time to meet Rays brother Derek strolling in through the gate. Derek had come over from Welsh pool to share the day with us. We paddled out onto the lake, Derek was a bit ginger about being out on the water but soon found he was really enjoying it, he told us about how he had been stranded once in a remote part of Scotland, he needed to cross water to reach a safe place for the night to camp but could find no route to the other side, in this remote place Derek had seen no one for hours and expected to see no one that day, as fate had it a lone canoeist spotted Derek and together they travelled to safety. After returning to our camp and a fry up for the late risers and Derek we set of for a walk following the river side up to the top of elephant rock, Molly’s legs were not strong today however and she took a slow walk back to camp with Julian and Jazz, the rest of us went on to take in the stunning views looking out over the lake, we perched cosily on moss and grass ledges while nesting birds called out warnings as they flitted in and out of the rock crannies below us, protecting their nests and precious contents. While Rich and Cliff went further on the rest of us made our way back, following the path that is cut from a trickle of a stream that is the water that runs off from the lower mountain side, in places this cuts away leaving a steep drop down to the lake and at times does need some careful negotiation as you must use the boulders and pebbles as stepping stones hoping between them as you try to keep out of the stream, if you miss your footing you will get wet and in places very very muddy, Derek was watching ahead to myself and Andrew and he laughed a little calling us all mud dancers as he noted our antics and his and Rays mad balancing moves just to keep our feet dry. The day passed so quickly and Derek had to bid us farewell at three as he had to get back to tend his herd of goats.
In the evening the boys did their cauldron cooking meat, potatoes, onions and carrots. We chatted till the stars came out and retired content and tired to bed.

Andrew at the Watkins Path 2012

On the holiday Monday we were up early, chatting with Cliff, putting the world to rights and after a fry up breakfast with everyone Cliff was setting off back to Milton Keynes ready for work on the Tuesday. For the rest of us a trip into Betsw-y-coed to purchase much needed gas and a new lantern and fresh bread and cheese. On our return Julian, Jazz and myself donned our wetsuits, never tried out before, we paddled out with Ray, Andrew and Richard to the far end of the lake where it spills out over into a narrow channel forming rapids which links to another lake lower down, the lake has never been at the level needed to take our kayaks down but some years it has been close, from here you can access the Watkins path up Snowdon, but we have not done this yet, we used the main entrance though in 2012 just a short way down the same road as the campsite, it was spectacular, we only went a little way having Molly with us but we stopped at a plunge pool and had a wonderful hour or so just chilling.

access ledge elephant rock

We came back past elephant rock not intending to jump as the wind was giving quiet a chill factor to the day but the pull was too great and Julian and I managed to jump five times before Molly got too excited and we had to take our leave. we arrived back at the bridge just as the hydro released water, so we banked our kayaks and jumped in letting the current take us. Straight over to the showers from the river pool, then back to light a fire for the evening. The evening seemed to arrive so quickly, I took a dusk walk up by the mouth of the river where it lets out onto the lake, here you can sit on a grass marsh bank and just be still. I saw ducks with their tiny ducklings and geese with their gosling’s hugging close to the sheltering banks and reeds As I walked back I saw the sheep and the cows making their way slowly down to the floor of the valley, where ancient stone walls and huge fallen tree trunks and up turned roots offer protection from the gusting winds that seems to gather and then roll through the valley In the evening we were treated to hot cheese toasties made by Ray in his cast iron pie iron, heated in the open log fire and to follow chocolate brought in for us all to share by Andrew.

yummy cheese toasties
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