Walking with Druids

Day one

Due to the diverse mix of people attending the annual Walk this year, participants left from various parts of the country to converge at the Billie Jeans Transport Café , approximately an hour away from the bunk house in Anglesey.

The Billericay Contingent of Dave R , Martin T, Colin Morton, Mick Venables, Peter Goodyear and Gerry, left the haven of this Essex Town at 09:20 and arrived at BJ’s after a brief stop at Stafford Services in time for Lunch.

Martin T and his crew took a slight detour even with Tom-Tom on board and a map, but that’s to be expected on such events. Great to met up with John J, John and Adrian for another years.

After an excellent lunch, which showed the newcomers on the trip why the association gets its name, and plenty of jokes we all set off to meet up with Finch and David at the Bunkhouse. We arrived around 16.30 and proceed to unload all our kit and that of the cooks into a well appointed facility which was duly given the thumbs up! Arguments over sleeping arrangements and snoring were soon overcome and preparation of the first nights food was underway.

The weather had steadily improved as the day went on to such an extent that after a AHWC style meal of spag boll, with slightly over done spaghetti we decided to take a brief stroll down to the sea. This was intended to be a brief walk , but John (lucky) our map reader decided to take us ‘off piste’ which resulted in a 90 min march leaving everyone hot and bothered.

When asked by the group about his map, John said’ I get my maps from the library after they throw them out’ . I wonder why they get rid of them was the reply, perhaps they were out of date? During the course of our trip John produced a number of maps from 1948 on wards, all showing different routes and providing us with many aching feet as we tried to follow them.

Day 2

Dave F and Finch were the first up and started to prepare the Breakfast . DR was appointed Galley Slave and commenced to pour the tea, light the temperamental oven and start cooking the bacon. Unfortunately, Dave F had joined us with an injury which was to causing him some pain, so his expectations of long walks were greatly reduced. Our first full breakfast was made even more memorable by Finch the dog who decided to pay Martin T an unexpected visit whilst he was taking a shower! Howls were heard from both parties and we are still not sure who enjoyed the experience the most.

Our walk for the day was to start and end at Puffin Island, taking in Beaumaris Castle and moat, plus an ice-cream or two if we were lucky. Dave F and Finch were due to join us at our lunch time stop after they had got their car exhaust fixed. Weather was very hot for October, some 21c and all walkers suffered from hot flushes at some point during the day. Colin and Dave R managed to find an Ice-cream parlour that sold a wide range of flavours, and proceeded to demolish them on the return to our cars at Puffin Point.

On the way back to the Bunk House, Mick and Dave F decided that more food was required and that we all had earned a drink, so Mick V suggested that we all met up at the Pelican Pub on the way home. Well we all looked for the pub only to find that it had changed its name to the Gazelle, and had nothing to do with birds at all. After several pints Dave R , John J and Adrian called in at the train station with the longest name in the world to take pictures and find out what its name translated into in English. On returning to the Bunk House, the smell of Toad in the Hole and Fruit Crumble and Custard soon made us forget our tired feet.

We all went to bed that night full to the brim of Mick V’s special gravy and woke up several times during the night with the same special gravy . Who said that eating is not and adventure .

Day 3

A full English cooked by the two Dave’s set everyone on their way from the Bunk House on another circular walk. The Main groups started off towards the coast which was being pounded by huge waves whipped up by a strong wind. Great photo’s as we moved for ever up wards towards the mountain. At this point the group divided up, with Dave F and Finch limping back to the Bunk House due to increasing pain from his foot, and the A/B team’s taking their respective routes.

Group A- John, John J, Adrian, Mick V, Gerry, Peter and Lucky went off and over the very windy Mountain.

Group B consisted of Martin T , ColinM and Dave R went around the mountain and then into Holyhead, before walking back to the Bunk House. Both groups were due to met up in Holyhead for a cup of tea, but in the end only Group B managed to find a café and enjoy a brew. The Empire Café was a delightful place in which Martin T quickly made himself at home by chatting to three elderly ladies who tired to teach him Welsh. The walkers were all asked if they were married, and the ladies were impressed on how big Colin M was as he paid for the refreshments!

A after an hour spent with the ladies of Holyhead, the walkers made their way back to the bunk house directed by Martin T’s mobile phone GPS . He navigated all round the backstreets of the port and brought us safely to the bunkhouse . Group A had beaten us back and told us that Dave F and Finch had gone back home as Dave F was in lots of pain and Finch was needed to navigate home. Cooking duties were taken over by John J who assisted Mick V with the evening meals and Colin M volunteered to assist Dave R with breakfast.

The evening meal of Mick V’s Curry was gratefully received and managed to keep us all feed for several days after.

Day 4

Sunday- An early breakfast for Group A walkers as they were to head off to climb up Snowdon. Dave R and Colin M prepared the usual feast and John J , Adrian, Lucky, Martin and John took off to the mountain .

GroupB – The remainder drove off to Ross Colin to commence a further coastal walk in some brilliant weather. The lunch stop was in a small bay which was sheltered from the light wind and made an excellent anchorage for a group of canoeists who joined us. As we continued our walk Colin M and Mick V were over heard to be discussing the mystery of the cartons of orange juice that had disappeared from on top of the Fridge. Colin then confessed that he had put them in the freezer, after Mick had brought more cartons. Oh Dear!

Whilst enjoying our lunch a foreign guy came over and asked us if we could direct him to a church nearby which was being renovated. During the conversation it appeared that he needed to find the church as his car was parked next to it and he was totally lost. We pointed him in the right direction and hoped that his car was still there.

On completion of the walk we returned to…………. To have a pint and decide on what we should eat for dinner. The decision was Mick’s special meat loaf and vegetables with some of the curry used as a starter, what a feast to be hold.

News from Group A – The walkers managed to battle up the mountain against a very strong wing. Martin T and John were unable to take the normal photograph at the trig point as they had to hang on for dear life or be blown away,. Inside the new tea room at the top the walkers listened to a young harpist as she entertained the crowds. Such culture on a windy mountain top.

Whilst in the café the clouds which had shield the top of the mountain suddenly cleared away and all were able to the magnificent views. The way down was much more pleasant as the walker were sheltered from the wind.

On return to the car park, Adrian, John J and Lucky took John J off to the station so he could join his family in Cumbria . Our numbers had reduced to nine, although someone should have told Mick V as he prepared another feast.

Day 5

Breakfast as usual- Sandwiches prepared and off we go in two cars for the last big walk of the trip. We head toward Carmel Head, with all the group staying together as we move up to Myndd-y-Garn the highest point in the area .

Our walk nearly ended before it had begun as we found that the planned route was owned by the National Trust and it was closed to walkers from September so that shooting parties could roam across it. After much deliberation a new path was found and off we went adding several more miles to the day.

We have lunch at the top and then the walkers divide as Group A consisting of Dave R, Lucky, Adrian, Gerry and John took the longer coastal path . Yes it got longer as Lucky used his 1948 map which showed trails that had long disappeared and we doubled back across fields. John A met several fellow bird watchers who were trying to photograph a rare Lapland butting which was flying around a field. Very exciting.

Group B-went off to Treaddur Bay for drinks, ice creams and more shopping. A tough day or so they said.

The final meal consisted of Chicken Linguine with Bread and Butter Pudding, helped down with the remainder of the beer, cinder, port and wine which no one wanted to take home the following day. A great last evening was spent reliving the walks and preparing for next year.

The Return home

Up bright and early- Breakfast completed and everything washed and packed up before ten o'clock. Mick V divided up all the remaining food ensuring that we had enough war stock left over for next time. Our final good byes were said in the car park and everyone started on their homeward journey, full of good food and with many tales to tell.

In conclusion, the walk has lived up to the unique standards of Heavy Weight Camping i.e. Good Company, Good Food and Good walking?. We now await the decision on next years venue. Watch this space!